Category Archives: Pioneer Obituaries

Passing of the Pioneers

Many of the November pioneers came from the south-west of Victoria from Bridgewater to Timboon.  Somewhere in between is Koroit and four of the pioneers resided there, all of Irish descent.

SAMUEL LORD – Died 18, 1906 at Pombereit.  Samuel Lord was a resident of Pombereit for 41 years, but it took him the 20 years prior to settle.  Samuel, born in Devonshire, England. arrived in Adelaide in 1845, went to Sydney, then back to Adelaide and in 1849 returned to England for a visit.  He then came back to Australia, heading to the goldfields for several years.  He then selected land at Pombereit in 1865.  He was a member of the Heytesbury Shire Council and had nine children.

MRS T. LOWREY – Died November 27, 1914 at Garvoc.  Mrs Lowrey and her husband Mr T. Lowrey and a child, left Tippary, Ireland in 1851 for Australia, specifically Hobsons Bay, Victoria.  After a time at the Bendigo goldfields, the Lowreys bought land at Kirkstall.    Following  the Land Selection Act of 1865 the Lowreys selected at the Yallock Estate and turned bush into a “beautiful farm”

GARVOC. (1914, December 5). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from

DANIEL O’CONNELL – Died November 5, 1916 at Koroit.  It was a lonely end for Daniel O’Connell.  He lived in a hut near the Koroit racecourse and received the old age pension.  In his earlier years he had worked as a groom and roustabout.  Daniel’s body was found in his hut after a kindly neighbour, Miss Mullens, noticed he seemed unwell and couldn’t hear her.  She rang the police who visited the hut and found his body.  He was well in excess of 80 years, according to locals,  and he had lived in the district for around 60 years.

MRS. JOHANNA MALONEY – Died November 16, 1916 at Chocolyn.  Johanna arrived in Port Fairy from Ireland when she was 16, around 1845.  She married John Maloney and they raised six sons and one daughter.  The Maloneys also resided at Koroit, but when John died, Johanna went to live with her son James at Chocolyn.

HUGH McDONALD – Died November 17, 1917 at Ararat.  Hugh McDonald is another Ararat resident, like those in October Passing of the Pioneers, that did the goldrush circuit.    Arriving from Scotland in 1854 aboard the ship “Tasmania”, he travelled to most of the goldfields in Victoria as well as a stint in New Zealand, but like those October pioneers, it was Ararat that he returned to.  His travels must have brought some success as he selected land at Mt. Ararat and built up what became known as the Mt. Ararat Estate (a winery today).  He married and had five children.  He was buried at the Moyston cemetery.

GEORGE CAMPBELL – Died November 1918 at Portland

(1918, November 25). Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved November 23, 2012, from

MRS. CATHERINE THOMAS – Died November 6, 1918 at Yambuk.  Catherine Thomas arrived in Port Fairy in 1852 aboard the Priam.  She married Richard Thomas of Yambuk and they had four sons, two daughters, 45 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren at the time of her death.  She lived to 92 years of age.

JAMES BLACK – Died November 17, 1918 at Koroit.  James met an unfortunate death at age 76.  Despite bad health, he was turning out cows, when the bull rushed him and knocked him to the ground.  He never recovered and died four days later.  James was born in Paisley, Scotland and had been a Koroit butcher for over 40 years.  He was also Mayor of Koroit on several occasions.

MRS. MURRAY – Died November 24, 1918 at Koroit.  Mrs Murray’s obituary described her as a “good old sort”.  She had been a resident of Koroit for 60 years after arriving from Ireland in 1852 at the age of 15.  She travelled with her father and brother and her maiden name was Maloney.    Her son Richard was killed at war in 1916 and Mrs Murray’s health began to fail after hearing the sad news.  She was buried at Tower Hill cemetery.

SARAH ANN OLIVER – Died November 15 at Brisbane, Queensland.  Sarah Ann Oliver was an older sister of  Elizabeth and Mary Oliver, wives of Reuben Harman and Jonathon Harman .  Like her two sisters, she was born in Cornwall and immigrated in 1849 aboard the “Courier” into Port Phillip.  Ten years later she married Edmund Dalton, an Irishman and they lived in Port Fairy for the following twenty years, raising eight children.  In 1879, Sarah and Edmund moved to the Darling Downs, Queensland.

THOMAS MAILON – Died November 10, 1930 at Portland.  Thomas Mailon was born in Portland and was a policeman during his working years.  He lived in what was known locally as the “White House”, a home set on the sand hills near Portland.   An advertisement in the Portland Guardian (below) lists the “White House” for sale.  This was only nine months before his death.  Thomas had a number of brothers and sisters but never married.

Advertising. (1930, February 10). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 26, 2012, from

MARION NUNN JONES – Died November 11, 1936 at Bridgewater.  Marion Jones was born at the Tasmanian Hotel in Portland around 1851.  She married William Forward Hedditch at “Lal Lal“, the Hedditch family home at Cape Bridgewater.  Forty-six years later, Marion died in the same room as she was married.  Her mother in law, Mrs Hedditch was a January Passing Pioneer

JANET ISABELLA MARY BLACK – Died November 10, 1941 at Mt. Gambier.  Janet Black was born at Bridgewater in October 1863.  She was the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Joshua Black and stepsister to Rachel Black who’s obituary was in the October Passing of the Pioneers.  Janet married Samuel Kenney and they had one daughter, Lexie.  They lived at both Cape Bridgewater and Kongorong.  Janet was the last surviving child of Joshua Black.

MARY KENNEY – Died November 19, 1941 at St. Kilda.  Mary Kenney was a sister-in-law of Janet Black (above) and they passed away within nine days of each other.  Mary was the daughter of John and Ellen Kenney of Lower Cape Bridgewater and she was born in Richmond Street, Portland in 1847.  She later married J.K. Palmer of Hawkesdale.

MARGARET MARTIN – Died November 12, 1942 at Portland.  Margaret Martin lived in Portland for the entire 85 years of her life.  She married Mr Symington and they had two sons and three daughters.

FLORENCE COUCH – Died November 17 at Surrey Hills.  Florence Couch’s father was one of the original pioneers of the Scott’s Creek district near Timboon.  Florence was the last surviving member of a family of 13.   The Couch family were well-known for their horse handling skills.  When Florence married Mr Roberts around 1906, they moved to South Africa for two years before returning to Scott’s Creek.  She had five surviving children at the time of her death.

Passing of the Pioneers

The Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918) is now available at Trove and October Passing of the Pioneers highlights some obituaries from that area.  They show the lure of gold drawing people to Victoria with some of them, such as Mr and Mrs George Stock and Elizabeth Williams, being more like “gold rush chasers” moving from town to town as a rush occurred.

If you hoped your ancestor may have been a gold seeker and you haven’t found them at Bendigo or Ballarat, maybe they were at towns like Pleasant Creek (Stawell), Ararat, Landsborough or Ampitheatre.  I thought I had no gold miners until I found that James Bishop was a miner at Mount Ararat when my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Bishop, was born.

Other pioneers featured include one of my family members, Edward Gamble,  Mrs Hannah Johnstone who would never have starved if she had a gun at hand and two friends of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  I have noticed reading  obituaries that Adam Lindsay Gordon had a lot of friends, maybe even more than he thought himself!

James STARRIT: Died October 3, 1889 at Portland. It could be easy for those like James Starrit to be forgotten forever.  I have come across similar obituaries of men and women, unmarried and with few living relatives.  James Starrit, his two brothers, two sisters and elderly father arrived at Portland from Garry Gort, County Donegal, Ireland on August 18, 1852.  James and his two sisters never married and lived together on a farm, earning enough from the farm to allow them to live their simple life.  Prior to farming, James had been a policeman at Portland.

Edward GAMBLE: Died October 1897 at Colac.  Edward was my ggg uncle, and the son of Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry.  He was only 47 at the time of his death from cancer.  His obituary alludes to its cause being his work canning rabbits,  a job he had for 21 years.  There was a preserving factory in Colac and surrounding towns.  Born in Geelong in 1847, Edward married Martha Hodgins in 1873.  They had 10 known children.  Almost 100 Oddfellows attended Edward’s funeral, dressed in their full regalia as a tribute to their fellow lodge member.

John McKAY:  Died October, 1907 at Richmond.  At the time of his death at age 84, John McKay was living with his son-in-law.  Prior to that he resided in Portland where he made his name as a blacksmith and wheelwright.  He arrived in Victoria in 1853 and Portland in 1854.

Mrs Martha FRENCH: Died October 30, 1908 at Portland.  Martha French died at the home of her grandson Charles French, just three months short of her 99th birthday.  Martha raised Charles and his siblings after the death of their father and as the obituary puts it so well “…the love and care she gave the three little ones was not relaxed as years advanced, and in return she in her declining years reaped the full reward by equally as loving care and devotion”.  Martha arrived in Victoria around 1858, spent a few years in Hamilton before moving to Portland.  She had two children living at the time of her death.

Mrs Mary MOULDEN:  Died October 1910 at Stawell.  Mary Moulden was born in Yorkshire on October 23, 1836 and at 13 she travelled to Adelaide, South Australia.  She married Mr Moulden and around 1875, they moved their family to the Wimmera in Victoria.  They later moved close to Stawell where she remained until her death.

Mrs Mahala LITTLE:  Died October 14, 1915 at Malvern.  Born in Cornwall in 1824, Mahala came to South Australia with her parents in 1840.  Mahala and her gold seeking parents moved to Victoria around 1852.  She married John Little at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1857 aged 33 and they lived in the Ararat district throughout their married lives.  Just weeks before her death, Mahala moved to Malvern to live with her daughter.  Mahala lived through the reign of five monarchs and was 91 at the time of her death.

Thomas Christopher COATES:  Died October 26, 1915 at Buninyong.  Thomas Coates was one of the founding members of the Ballarat Stock Exchange and served as the secretary of the Ballarat Benevolent Society for 26 years.  He was born in Westmorland, England and arrived in Australia in 1853.  He settled at Creswick in 1854.  He died at the home of his son.

Mrs Agnes STEELE: Died October 11, 1916 at Rosebrook.

Obituary. (1916, October 19). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from

Mrs Elizabeth PRESNELL:  Died October 30, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Elizabeth Presnell was born in Parramatta, New South Wales.  When she was 11, she spent six weeks on a voyage to Port Fairy with her parents.  She married William Presnell, a farmer, known for having one of the first threshing machines in the Port Fairy district.  Elizabeth and William had 13 children, six sons and seven daughters.

William ARMSTRONG:  Died October 5, 1917 at Colac.  William was born in Belfast, Ireland the son of a Presbyterian Chaplin.  He arrived in Victoria in the 1860s, first spending time with his uncle at West Cloven Hills before setting up is own dairy farm at Darlington.  His community interests included the Darlington Presbyterian Church, the Mechanics Institute and he was the Darlington correspondent for the “Camperdown Chronicle”.  He left a widow and nine children.

Mrs Elizabeth STOCK: Died October 1917  at Ararat.  Born in 1823 in Somersetshire, England. Elizabeth married George Stock around 1852.  Not long after they married they sailed for Geelong arriving in October 1852.  In 1853, the moved to Ballarat then Stawell when gold was discovered in 1856 at “Forty Foot Hill” and then on to Ararat for the “Commissioners Hill” rush.  George was obviously following gold as they then went on to the rushes at Amphitheatre, Barkly and Landsborough.  Finally, in 1867, they settled at Ararat.  Elizabeth and George had 11 children, with seven still alive at the time of her death.  Like Mahala Little (above), Elizabeth’s obituary mentioned that she had lived through the reign of five monarchs.

Mrs Elizabeth WILLIAMS: Died October 10, 1918 at Ararat.   Elizabeth Williams was an early resident of Ararat.  She was born in Essex, England around 1824 and sailed for Sydney in 1852 aboard the “Earl of Elgin“.  While in Sydney she married J. Green.  After a year and with the lure of gold, she arrived in Bendigo, Victoria and followed the rushes until she ended up in Ararat.  She re-married to Robert Williams and they had three daughters.

Mary BARRETT:  Died October 19, 1918 at Ararat.  Mary Barrett was born in Ireland and arrived in Ararat in the 1860s.  Her uncle, Reverend Father Barrett was a pioneer Roman Catholic priest in the Ararat district and Mary resided with him.  Mary never married and when her health was failing, she moved to the Brigidine Convent in Ararat where she passed away aged 70 years.

James R. KEAN:  Died October 11, 1926 at Ararat.  Born in Portland in 1858, James Kean started working as a printer at aged 20.  Two years later, he became a journalist and produced the “Portland Mirror”.  The paper started out small, but within a year the subscribers increased and the paper was already thought of as “an influential and up to date journal”  In 1885, James purchased the “Portland Guardian” a paper established in 1842.  In the same year he married Jane Robertson,  daughter of Angus Robertson of Straun station near Merino.  James was  a member of the St Stephens Church choir, a member of the Portland racing club and the Masonic Lodge.

St Stephens Church Portland

John JOHNSTONE:  Died October 1930 at Portland.  John Johnstone was a very early arrival in Portland, in 1841, as a baby with his parents James and Dorothy Johnstone.  James was a blacksmith and wheelwright but he eventually purchased land at Kentbruck and built the Emu Flat Hotel or as known by travellers,” Mrs Johnstone’s”.  After his parent’s deaths, John took over the running of the hotel for a short time before selling it and taking up farming.  More commonly known as “Jack”, he was an expert bushman and rider and was a friend of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  He married Elizabeth Angus and they had three daughters and two sons.

John Richard MALLINSON:  Died October 14, 1934 at Pomborneit.  Born in Portland, John spent time in Merino and Hamilton as a child and young man.  He completed an apprenticeship as a blacksmith and wheelwright and opened a business in Coleraine.  After eight years, he moved to Timboon and then Camperdown in 1894 where he again ran a blacksmith’s shop.

Having lived in a number of towns and with his work as a blacksmith he had many friends with horse interests including Cobb and Co drivers of renown and like John Johnstone (above) Adam Lindsay Gordon.

OBITUARY. (1934, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from

Frederick WRIGHT:  Died October 14, 1934 at Camperdown.  Frederick Wright was born in Cambridgeshire, England around 1842 and arrived at Corio Bay, Victoria aboard the “Omega” aged 14.  He worked as a nurseryman in the Geelong district before learning to drive bullocks.  At 18 years of age, he took a load of flour to the goldfields at Stawell, the first bullock wagon driven into that area and he only had bush tracks to follow.  He moved to Camperdown in 1871 and ran a dairy farm and a chaff mill and later a butcher shop.  He was an original member of the Camperdown Turf Club.  He had 35 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

Mrs Hannah JOHNSTONE:  Died October 1937 at Portland.  Hannah was born in Adelaide in the late 1840s  and moved to Kentbruck, near Portland aged 18.  She married Thomas Charles Johnstone, brother of John Johnstone (above).  Hannah was a woman not afraid to open and close gates and was handy with a gun.  She was known around Portland for sharing ducks or other game she had hunted.  Hannah and Thomas had 10 children.

John A. RIPPON:  Died October 13, 1938 at Camperdown

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from

John Rippon carted the first load of timber into Purrumbete Estate  owned by the Manifold brothers  at age 18.  He liked it there and stayed for 10 years.  He then spent another 10 years with William Irving Winter-Irving at Tirrengower near Colac.  He then returned to work for William Thomas Chirnside splitting timber.  But John yearned for his bullock driving days and he began his own carrying business.

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from

Rachel BLACK: Died October 27, 1941 at Kongorgong.  Rachel Black was born in the mid 1850s at Bridgewater.  Her father was Joshua Black, a pioneer of that area.  When Rachel married James Lightbody, the union brought three Bridgewater pioneering families together as James Lightbody was the son of Rebecca Kittson also from a pioneering family of Bridgewater,

Colins CATHELS:  Died October 26, 1952 at Hamilton.  Although he died at  Hamilton, Colin Cathels was a Portland identity.  Old aged forced him to leave the town he loved and he was not happy in his last days.  Born in the 1850s, Colin knew much of  Portland history and enjoyed reminiscing about picnics at the Henty’s home.   He was the Portland manager of the Belfast and Koroit Steamship Navigation Company.  Colin married a Robertson girl, from the well-known local family.

Passing of the Pioneers

September’s Passing of the Pioneers brings the opportunity to post the obituary of Henry Annett of Wallacedale.  It shows  how much information you can find out about a person from their obituary, if you are lucky.  Of course any information found is purely a lead to primary sources.

After 16 Passing of the Pioneers, there is now a large collection of Western District pioneer’s names.  If you would like to see the full list of pioneer obituaries, follow the link – PIONEER OBITUARIES

Thomas BENNETT: Died September 25, 1889 at Portland.  Thomas Bennett was born in Derbyshire, England and arrived at Portland in 1854, taking on a job as a merchant tailor.  He enjoyed cricket,  racing, athletics and hunting as both a participant and spectator.  Thomas married after arriving in Portland and he and his wife raised 10 children.  His wife died of stroke some years before and Thomas raised the children, with only four having reached their teens by the time of his death.

Richard BLOOMFIELD: Died September 16, 1901 at Hamilton.  Richard Bloomfield arrived in Australia, first to Tasmania in 1842 and later to Victoria.  He joined the Police Force with his first  station at Hamilton as chief constable.  In his later years Richard turned to farming and was 79 years at the time of his death.

John RIORDAN: Died September 27, 1905 at Portland. Before arriving in Portland, just prior to the turn of the century, John Riordan spent time in Ballarat, Creswick and Ararat running businesses.  In Portland, he owned the London Hotel and served a period on the Portland Council.

The former London Hotel, Portland

Mr. F. BUCKNALL: Died September, 1908  at Dartmoor.  In his early days in Portland, Mr Bucknall believed wattle trees could be commercially grown.  He purchased land at Dartmoor and planted his wattles, but blight and fires made his venture difficult.  He went to the goldfields of Western Australia, where he had worked before.  He returned to Dartmoor, a lot more finacially secure and continued his Wattle plantation, with more success than his first attempt.

Thomas DONOHOE:  Died September 26, 1908 at Narrawong.  Thomas Donohoe of Narrawong was a cabinet maker of much renown,  a farmer and an administrator.  He had great political knowledge and for a time was the Narrawong correspondent for the Portland Guardian.

Thomas R. OLIVER:  Died September 21, 1910 at Horsham.  Thomas Oliver was a brother-in-law of Reuben and Jonathan Harman.  Born in Cornwall in 1848, he arrived at Melbourne with his parents John Henry Oliver and Ann Richards and five older brothers and sisters.  Thomas worked in the carrying business around Port Fairy before moving to Kalkee in the Wimmera in 1874.  In 1876, he married Margaret Luxton, daughter of William Luxton.  Around the early 1890s, Thomas and Margaret moved into Horsham where Thomas opened a grocery business on Church Hill.

Sarah CLARK Died September 10, 1915 at Ararat.  Sarah Clark was born in Hertfordshire, England and came to Victoria with her parents as a small child.  Her father, Leonard Clark took up a position as gardener at the Burrumbeep Estate at Maroona.  Sarah married John Basham in 1866 and they had 13 children.  Nine children were still alive at the time of Sarah’s death.

Alfred BYRON:  Died September 28, 1916 at Denicull Creek.  There is no chance Alfred Byron, born at Ashton-Under-Tyne, Lancashire, England remembers his voyage to Australia as he was only 10 days old when the ship sailed.  Alfred’s parents settled at Port Fairy, but as a young man he headed off to the goldfields before settling at Denicull Creek, near Ararat.  Farming became his new pursuit.  He married and raised a family of six children.

Thomas POLLAND Died September 16, 1917 at Moyston.  Born in County Down, Ireland in 1924, Thomas Polland arrived in Victoria in 1853, making his way to the Ballarat goldfields.  Present at the time of the Eureka uprising, Thomas enjoyed recounting the stories of the time.  He eventually headed to Moyston and for a time worked carting timber from the Grampians, before purchasing land to farm.  His wife passed away around 1904 and Thomas left five of his eight children when he passed away.

Margaret THOMPSON:  Died September 2, 1919 at Horsham.  Margaret Thompson was born in Melbourne around 1870, the daughter of Mr W. Thompson and Mrs Bedwell.  Her parents settled at Wonwondah and she lived there until she was 17.  Margaret’s mother remarried at this time and Margaret selected land at Telangatuk.  After three years, she married Herman A. Rokesky of Clear Lake.  They moved all over the district in the following years before Margaret and Herman settled in Horsham until the time of Margaret’s death.

Henry ANNETT:  Died September 29, 1927 at Wallacedale.  In the November 2011 Passing of the Pioneers, I promised I would post Henry Annett’s obituary in September 2012 and here we are.  At the time I had posted Henry’s wife’s obituary, that of Sarah Millard.   I mentioned then that the story of  Henry’s life one of the best of I had read in the form of an obituary.  I have read many more obituaries since that time, and I still think Henry’s is right up there.

Henry Annett was born in Sevenoaks, Kent, England on July 5, 1845.   Seven years later he sailed to Portland with his parents aboard the Pryam and Henry’s father joined the police force.  Their first home was a Government issued bell tent.  After four years in Portland, Mr Annett snr transferred to Port Fairy where Henry took up butchering.  Preferring the outdoors, Henry became a carrier taking goods to the Ararat diggings and to Dunkeld with materials for the first school.  At around 17 years, Henry travelled to New Zealand where he walked 10 days from Christchurch over mountains and rivers to reach the newest of the gold diggings in the country, but like many others, he left empty handed.

After returning to Victoria in 1866, Henry married Sarah Millard of Narrawong but Henry still could not settle down.

THE PIONEERS PASS BY. (1927, October 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved September 24, 2012, from

Eventually he did settle taking an interest in community affairs and  he earned the name the “father of Wallacedale”

Henry and Sarah had 13 children, 11 boys and two girls.  Three boys had predeceased Henry.  He also had 48 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.  He was buried at the Conday cememtery.

Robert HICKLETON:  Died September 14, 1932 at Koroit.  Robert Hickleton arrived in Portland with his parents in 1852.  They had sailed aboard the Old Ellen.  Robert’s first job was a compositor with the Portland Guardian.  Over the following years he worked for the Warrnambool Standard, the Portland Mirror, the Hamilton Spectator and the Port Fairy Gazette, where he spent 29 years.  In his early years he was a keen athlete and cricketer and later he was a successful lawn bowler.

Sarah HERBERTSON:  Died September 1932 at Portland.  Sarah Herbertson was born in Portland in 1844.  She married Joseph Henry Porter and they lived in Portland during their married life, with Joseph passing away in 1931.  They had no children.  Sarah’s obituary mentions she was “deeply attached to her home”.  A model, built by Joseph and Sarah, of that home in Gawler Street is now on display at Portland’s History House , testimony to her attachment.  Sarah’s obituary gives her maiden name as Henderson.

Model of the home of Joseph and Sarah Porter

Emma GRIFFITHS:  Died September 1936 at Irrewillipe.  Emma Griffiths was 100 years old when she died after spending 85 years in Victoria.  Emma was just a girl when her and her mother arrived in Sydney aboard the Avocalle, on which Emma’s mother was a matron caring for the female passengers.  Later they went on to Melbourne, Geelong and then Buninyong where she married Mr Nicholan.  They had three children at Buninyong before moving to Irrewillipe, near Colac around the late 1850s.  Emma had 14 children and when she died she had 62 grandchildren and over 30 great-grandchildren.

Clara Quick GEOMAN:  Died September 24, 1941 at Hamilton.  Clara was born at Yambuk in 1859 and in 1884 married Francis Hollard at Portland.  They moved to Wallacedale, being among the earliest settlers there.  Clara appears to have had a link to Henry Annett as her daughter Ethel married Edward Annett.  Clara had five other children alive at the time of her death.

Passing of the Pioneers

Collecting the obituaries for August Passing of the Pioneers, I discovered that many of the  pioneers had either worked for or had a father who for the Henty brothers.  Hannah Spiken and Elizabeth Stevenson were both born at the time their fathers worked for the Hentys, with Elizabeth born at Munthum Station.  Mrs Harriet Jackman was also at Munthum Station where she worked as a nursemaid.

There is also the story of John Bodey who lived to 106 and Mary Finn who’s husband’s family operated the Glenelg Inn, around which the town of Casterton grew.  The hotel still operates today.  Also included are two of the wealthier pioneers of the Western District, Alexander Davidson and James Whyte.

Alexander DAVIDSON:  Died August 17, 1874 at Portland.  Western Victorian squatter, Alexander Davidson was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1801.  He acquired his wealth during his time as co-owner of Satimer station at Wando Vale.  In later life he built the Portland home, “Wando Villa” and contributed extensively to the Portland Wesleyan Church.  The Glenelg and Wannon Settlers website has further information on Alexander Davidson on the Wando Vale settlers page.

James WHYTE:  Died August, 1882 at Hobart, Tasmania.  James Whyte and his brothers were pioneers of Coleraine, with the main street named in their honour.  Born in Scotland in 1820, Whyte arrived in Tasmania with his family in 1832.  In 1837, James and his brothers William, George, Pringle and John arrived in Port Phillip settling at Konowootong near Coleraine.

James then moved to Clunes taking co-ownership of a large station where gold was later discovered.  In 1853, he returned to Tasmania, a much richer man, and ran for the seat of Brighton during the 1854 election.  He was unsuccessful, but ran again in 1856 and won a seat in the Legislative Council of Tasmania.  In 1863, he became Premier, holding the post until 1866.

Despite their name held in perpetuum at Coleraine and a state leader among them, the Whyte Brothers hold a place in the darker history of the Western District.  In March 1840, the brothers took part in the massacre of at least 30 aboriginals at “The Hummocks” near Wando Vale.  The Museum Victoria website gives an account of what became know as the Fighting Hills Massacre.

Joseph COUCH:  Died August 30, 1911 at Portland.  Joseph Couch, born in Cornwall, arrived in Victoria aboard the “Mary Ann” in 1856.  He spent 17 years working for Edward Henty before taking up the role of curator of the Portland Botanic Gardens.  Joseph was curator for 26 years demonstrating a great knowledge of plants and a passion for the gardens.  Joseph’s memory continues with his name on a plaque on the curator’s cottage at the gardens.

Mary FINN:  Died August 15, 1913 at Kew.  Mary Finn was born in Ireland and arrived on the ship “Susan” in 1839 with her family.  In 1852, Mary married Edmund Kirby, one of Casterton’s earliest settlers.  The marriage took place at the Glenelg Inn  built on a part of “Springbank” station run by the Edmund Kirby, his brother James and sister Mary.  The Kirby’s later took on the ownership on the hotel, previously operated by Mary’s late husband, and the town of Casterton grew around it.  The Glenelg Inn still operates today.  One of her sons was John Finn Kirby, owner of 1911 Melbourne Cup winner, The Parisian.  More information on the Kirby family is on the Glenelg and Wannon settlers website.

John BODEY:  Died August 21, 1916 at Camperdown.  Ireland native, John Bodey was born in 1810 making him 106 at the time of his death.  He lived through the reign of six British monarchs.  This article appeared on his 100th birthday and outlines some of the events which occurred during John’s long life:

Centenarian’s Recollections. (1910, May 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from

Having a keen interest in politics, John voted in a by-election at Warrnambool not long before his death.  Upon John’s 105th birthday, his son George talked about his father’s longevity and  independence.

INTERESTING CENTENARIAN. (1915, July 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from

Edwin Clough DERMER: Died August 26, 1917 at Ballarat.  Edwin Dermer was born in London and worked as a clerk for the Bank of England were his father was a departmental manager.  At 18, Edwin headed to Australia where he became a gold buyer at Melbourne, before heading for the goldfields of Ballarat.  After around 20 years on the diggings, Edwin moved into retail, first as a manager of a crockery shop and then manager of a drapery business.  He then opened a grocery business in Mair Street.

While not working, Edwin was a founding member of the Druids Lodge, a member of the Orion Masonic Lodge and president of the United Friendly Societies Dispensaries.  He was had a keen interest in state and federal elections and served as a deputy returning officer for the electorate of Ballarat West.  In 50 years he never missed a game of cricket in Ballarat.  One interesting point of interest in Edwin’s life was his wife was born in the same street in London and attended the same school, however they did not meet until they came to Victoria.


PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1920, August 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved August 20, 2012, from


Annie DONNELLY:  Died August 1933 at Warrnambool.  Annie Donnelly of Irish descent married James Percy Skeyhill.  They spent time at Terang where their son Thomas John Skeyhill was born in 1895.  The family moved to Hamilton with Thomas educated at St Mary’s Convent School.   Thomas enlisted for WW1 and it  changed his life.  While at Gallipoli, a shell blinded Thomas and upon his return he published his war poetry and travelled overseas on lecture tours.

The Sydney Morning Herald published an example of his poetry at the time of his death in 1932, as a result of an airplane accident in the United States.  The full obituary is here and another from a local perspective was in the Camperdown Chronicle published May 26, 1932

TOM SKEYHILL. (1932, May 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 16. Retrieved August 24, 2012, from

Annie and husband Thomas moved to Warrnambool where Thomas operated the Warrnambool Cordial Co. until his death in 1932, just a year before his wife.

Mrs Harriet JACKMAN:  Died August 1935 at Portland.  Harriet Jackman arrived in Australia from Ireland as a seven-year old.  At just 18, she married William Jackman, an early Wimmera pioneer.  In her early years, Harriet worked for Edward Henty at Munthum Station.  William and Harriet moved to Portland in their later life, with Harriet spending the last 25 years of her life in the town.

Hannah SPIKEN:  Died August 3, 1936 at Portland.  Born in Portland around 1864 Hannah was the daughter of John and Hannah Spiken.  John worked for the Hentys and Hannah was said to have followed behind the plough, planting potatoes.  At 18 she married Walter Dennis Pitts a union which lasted 54 years.

Elizabeth STEVENSON: Died August 3, 1938 at Coburg, Victoria.  Elizabeth was born at Merino Downs around 1863, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Stevenson.  Joseph was working for the Hentys at Munthum station at the time of her birth, but the family later moved to Portland.  Elizabeth married William James Dunne of Ararat and they spent some time in Portland before moving to Ballarat.

John NIDDRIE:  Died August 1939 at Hamilton.  John Niddrie was born at Cherrymount near Glenthompson around 1865.  John and his four brothers spent much time in the bush as children and as a result all became accomplished bushmen.  They also were able to climb tall trees, a skill they learnt from local aboriginals.  John married Florence James of Hamilton.

Henry Dyer RUNDELL:  Died August 1941 at Hamilton.  Henry Rundell was a long time resident of Condah, the son of John and Mathilda Rundell.  John was from Cornwall and Mathilda from Somerset.  Henry married Annie Dawkins and they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary only months before Henry’s death.  Henry was a dairy farmer at his property “Swamp View” near Condah and he was a parishioner of the Church of England.

Passing of the Pioneers

As Passing of the Pioneers enters a second year, the fascinating stories keep coming.  Who could not be taken in by James Parker’s story? Gold, Captain Moonlight and more than a stroke of good luck make it an interesting read.  Or Octavius Palmer? While still a teenager, he travelled to California and took on the risky job of gold escort.  John Weaver Greed started a business in Hamilton which still exists today and Mrs Isabella Gilholme’s business sense saw her acquire a portfolio of shops and houses.

Mrs Abraham JENNINGS – Died July 1889 at Bridgewater.  I have mentioned Mrs Abraham Jennings  before.   In the News  – May 26  was about the passing of Mrs Hugh Kittson who was Margaret Jennings, daughter of Mrs Abraham Jennings.  Mrs Abraham Jennings was also known as Hannah Birchall.  Her husband and Margaret’s father was Cook Abraham Jennings.  Hannah and Abraham arrived in the district during the 1840s.

Mrs S. DUDDEN – Died July 11 1897 at Myamyn.  Mrs Dudden was known by many around Myamyn due to husband’s work as store keeper in the town.  She arrived in Victoria during the 1850s.  Through a search at Trove, I found that only three months earlier on April 19, 1897, the Dudden’s residence, behind the shop, was destroyed by fire

James PARKER – Died July 6, 1899 at Heywood.  At the time of  James Parker’s death on July 7, 1899, the The Portland Guardian correspondent promised an account of Parker’s life, in the next issue.  Finally on August 9, 1899, he came good with his promise but  it was well worth the wait.  I cannot possible summarise the life of James Parker, so you must read the obituary for yourself here.  It is a fascinating read, particularly Parker’s encounter with Captain Moonlight.  I will, however, include a piece from the obituary which describes pioneer life.  As you read,  keep in mind the obituary is from 1899.

The Late Mr James Parker. (1899, August 9). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from

William DISHER – Died July 11, 1902 at Stawell.  William Disher arrived in South Australia during the 1830s.  He married Agnes Horsburgh in 1842 and during the 1870s  they moved to Kewell West, north of Murtoa.  William and Agnes had 12 children and by the time of his death, the couple had 72 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  Incidentally, William’s mother had 220 direct descendants at the time of her death at 92, including 120 great-grandchildren.  William’s sister was Lady Eliza Milne, the wife of Sir William Milne a South Australian politician.

John Weaver GREED – Died July 8, 1903 at Hamilton.  John Greed was born in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1833 and arrived in Port Fairy with his wife Emma Grinter and a small child in 1860.  The family headed to Hamilton to join John’s parents, Charles Greed and Sarah Weaver. John started “John Greed Undertaking” in 1861 and so begun a family business which still exists in Hamilton today.   A wonderful history of the Greed family is on the F.Greed & Sons website.

I have a family link to the Greeds.  John Weaver Greed’s son Walter ( a candidate for “Misadventures, Deaths & Near Misses”) married Jessie Harman, daughter of Reuben Harman.


John M. SHEEHY – Died July 1903 at Casterton.  How I need a man like John Sheehy in my life.

OBITUARY. (1903, July 28). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from

John MacEACHERN – Died July 4, 1908 at Nelson.  While John MacEachern had only been in the Nelson district from the 1870s, he had been in Australia since 1839 having arrived in Sydney from Scotland with his parents.  He made his way to Victoria, first working at Strathdownie as a stockman,  where he proved himself an excellent horseman.

Edwin BOASE – Died July 1911 at Murtoa.  Edwin Boase was a newspaper pioneer in the Wimmera.  He arrived with his parents in Adelaide as a baby during the 1850s before they headed to Castlemaine.  He learnt the printing trade in Ballarat before moving to Horsham in 1872 where he printed the first edition of The Horsham Times.  He later founded The Dunmunkle Standard and published the paper for 33 years until the time of his death.  He married Isabella Cameron in 1878, a daughter of a former Horsham Mayor.

Octavius F. W. PALMER – Died July 18, 1914 at Terang.  What a life Octavius Palmer led.  He was born in London in 1833 and went to Tasmania with his parents and nine siblings in 1838.  His father was Captain Frederick Palmer of the East India Company.  After schooling at the Church of England Grammar School in Launceston, Octavius left for the goldfields of California where he spent three years driving the gold escort team of horses.  He returned to the Castlemaine diggings and after some pastoral pursuits with his brothers, he settled in the Western District around  Warrnambool.

Octavius was a member of the  Warrnambool Polo Club and the Warrnambool Racing Club.  He imported many head of Romney Marsh sheep in the 1870s.  An article  from The Age of September 1972, reports on the Palmer family breeding Romney Marsh sheep for 100 years with references to Octavius. How proud he would have been that his family continued to breed the sheep he preferred for the conditions of the south-west of Victoria.

I  couldn’t resist this insight into Octavius in later life.  From The Mail (Adelaide), the article describes an “old buster”.

When The Heart Is Young. (1941, September 20). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved July 25, 2012, from

Forty seems far to young to be thought of as an “old buster”!

Thomas BAILEY – Died July 23, 1914 at Ballarat.  Like the Greed family, Thomas Bailey was from Taunton, Somerset.  He was born there in 1840 but at a young age he left for the New Zealand goldfields.  He then went to Ballarat where he had various mining interests.  He married Sarah Craig, the daughter of Walter Craig owner at the time of Ballarat’s Craigs Hotel.

Family Notices. (1869, January 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from

Thomas was a member of the Ballarat Anglers Club, Ballarat Hunt Club and had a keen interest in football.  His death was felt in many parts of Ballarat including the Old Colonists Hall, where, out of respect,  a meeting was cancelled.

Richard BRYANT – Died July 12, 1919 at Hamilton.  Richard Bryant was born in Cornwall in 1829 and married Elizabeth Millstead in 1850.  The couple travelled to Adelaide aboard the Epaminodas in 1853.  From there they went to Portland and Richard walked on to Ballarat in 1854 in search of gold.  After the death of Elizabeth, Richard and two young daughters, settled on land at Mooralla .  He then married Irish-born Margaret Nowlan.  Margaret passed away in 1907.

I have a family link to Richard Bryant via a daughter from his first marriage.  Richard was the grandfather of Elizabeth Bryant McWhirter,  wife of James Stevenson of Cavendish.  James was the subject of the post “Hobbies Passions and Devotions.

Mrs Sophia WEHL – Died July 10, 1920 at Halls Gap.

Obituary. (1920, July 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from

I turned to Ida Stanton’s Bridging The Gap for more information about Sophia Wehl.  Sophia’s husband Carl had a tannery in Stawell, but owned land in Halls Gap.  The house that Sophia built (as referred to in her obituary) was Glenbower 2 near Borough Huts, just outside Halls Gap.  The house was so named as it was next to  Glenbower owned by members of the D’Alton family, including twins Sophia and Henrietta.

That home went into ruin, however at the time of Ida writing her book, poplars and remnants of the garden still existed.   Ida  tells how the D’Altons brought the poplars with them to Australia from Napoleon Bonaparte’s grave on the island of St Helena.   This is not as unusual at it sounds.  A Google search found many others who also grew both poplars and willows grown from cuttings taken from the island’s trees.  An article from The Mercury tells of a Tasmanian family who did the same.

The bushfires of 1939 saw  Glenbower 2 destroyed.  There are photos of both homes in Bridging the Gap, and Sophia Wehl is on the veranda in the Glenbower 2 photo.

Sophia Wehl’s daughter was a noted artist specialising in wildflowers.  Her art teacher was neighbour Henrietta D’Alton who was famous for her wildflower art and had even exhibited overseas.

Margaret Ann DIWELL  – Died July 1932 at Hamilton.  Margaret was my ggg aunt and daughter of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.  She was born at Portland in 1857 and married John McClintock in 1883.  They lived at Grassdale and had eleven children including John, James Richard and Albert Edward  featured in my Anzac Day post The McClintock Brothers.

OBITUARY. (1932, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from

In the post, Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On, I mentioned the dangers of  wrong information in obituaries.  Margaret’s obituary offers an example of this.  It mentions her parents arrived in Portland in 1850.  They in fact arrived on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.   Margaret’s mother’s is all mentioned because of her involvement in the murder trial of  George Waines.  I wrote about the trial in Witness For the Prosecution.

John Thomas EDGAR – Died July 10, 1941 at Melbourne.  John Thomas Edgar was born at Portland in 1848, the son of David and Sarah Edgar.  The Edgars settled at Pine Hills estate near Harrow.  David Edgar subsidised a private school at the estate for the use of his children and the children of other settlers and John attended that school before going on to Hamilton College and later Scotch College in Melbourne.

With his schooling completed, John returned to Pine Hills to learn the finer points of running Merino sheep.  This saw him go to on to become an expert breeder and judge of the popular Western Victorian breed.  He took over management of his father’s property Kandook Estate at Harrow and later the ownership. In 1871 John married Margaret Swan and they raised a family of 12 children.  He was the brother of Walter Birmingham Edgar  and a cousin to Jean Edgar, both Passing Pioneers.

Michael MURPHY - Died July 12, 1943 at Melbourne.   I have driven past Tobacco Road, Pomonal  many times en route to Halls Gap and finally I know how it got its name.   Michael Murphy was a former resident of Pomonal at the foot of the Grampians.  He was one of the tobacco-growing pioneers in the area.  I didn’t know tobacco was grown there, but it seems obvious now that Tobacco Road be named for such a reason.

Michael was also a supporter of local football and cricket and was a founding member of the Stawell Druids Lodge.  He was 74 at the time of his death, following complications of injuries received in a tram accident in Melbourne.

Isabella REID – Died July 1953 at Heywood.  Isabella Reid was the daughter of William Reid and Johanna Steven and wife of Charles Gilholme.  Isabella ran a guest house but after Charles’ death she expanded her business interests into property.

DEATH OR HEYWOOD OCTOGENARIAN. (1953, July 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from

Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On

PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1927, November 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from

On July 22, 2011, I posted the first Passing of the Pioneers and 12 months on I am preparing to post the 13th edition.

There are now over 180 links to Western Victorian pioneer obituaries at Western District Families and the 13th edition will see the total go over 200.

Reading all those obituaries has been a privilege and has taken me on a wonderful journey, not only through the history of the Western District, but to place such as game parks in Africa and the silver mines of South America.  The lives I have glimpsed into range from that of gentry to general hand, but all have shared in making Western Victoria the place it is today.

Some of the pioneers were born during the early days of Victoria,  while others dared their lives aboard immigrant ships in the hope of a better life.  Many travelled from the ports to the Western District by bullock wagon on rough tracks, while enduring unfamiliar conditions.  They built houses on land that would one day see towns such as Penshurst, Hamilton and Balmoral grow around them.

The women from the pioneering era deserve recognition.   Some were alone among men, left to bear and raise children and turn their canvas tents or slab huts into homes.  Many endured loneliness, but as towns grew some became involved with community activities such as the church.   Despite their hardships, many of these women’s obituaries noted that even in old age they would reminisce about those times.

Obituaries came after the pioneer “crossed the Great Divide”, penned by someone who too had heard the stories but may not have had all the facts.  That is my warning to you while you read obituaries and in the July 2012 Passing of the Pioneers I will show this with an obituary from my family.

Having said that,  it is the snippets of information within them that make obituaries a worthwhile family history resource.  Names of children and their married names, places of residence, occupations and immigration details are just some of those snippets which you can then test against the relevant records.

Many of the obituaries I have read have moved me, inspired me and led me to further research.   I have listed just some of those, not so much for the achievements of the subject but the stories they tell.  Click on the pioneer’s name to go to their original newspaper obituary or the date to go to the Passing of the Pioneers post where the obituary appeared:

Frederick William BILSTON (August 2011)

Mrs Agnes CHEQUER (November 2011)

Thomas Denton CLARKE (October 2011)

Elizabeth COLE (March 2012)

James DAWSON (April 2012)

Alfred Irvine HOGAN (February 2012)

KITTSON family – James (May 2012), James Trotter (December 2011),  Rebecca (January 2012),  Susannah (June 2012) and Mrs Margaret Kittson (May 2012)

MALSEED family – Fanny Ann (February 2012),  Robert J. (May 2012) ,  Mrs E.A. MALSEED (August 2011) and Mary HEDDITCH  (Mrs James MALSEED) (July 2011)

Finlay McPherson PATON (September 2011)

Joseph Bell PEARSON (July 2011)

Passing of the Pioneers

It is never ceases to amaze me how the branches of my family tree reach out through the Western District and entwine with the branches of other family trees.  The roots of each tree are different but the branches come together by way of marriage.  In this month’s Passing of the Pioneers, two of the families represented have links to two of my own families.

This month also sees Mr and Mrs George Excell who sadly passed away within hours of each other.  There is also a member of the Kittson family of Bridgewater and a dentist born in the same area.  There is Mrs Jukes, educated in Belgium and John Gorman, an Irish policeman.

William LUXTON – Died June 4, 1903 at North Hamilton.  William Luxton was born in Devonshire, England about 1819.  He arrived in South Australia around 1846 before moving to Macarthur, Victoria in the 1850s where he remained until his death.  He had four daughters still alive at the time of his death including Mrs T.R. Oliver (Margaret Luxton) who was the sister-in-law of Elizabeth Oliver (wife of Reuben Harman) and Mary Oliver (wife of Jonathan Harman).

Robert ISBEL – Died June 1908 at Ararat.  Robert Isbel’s father came to Victoria from Adelaide in search of gold, with Robert and his mother joining him at Great Western in 1862.  Robert settled at Concongelia.

Francis MATTHEWS – Died June 6, 1915 at Landsborough.  Francis Matthews was a native of Ireland and had worked in the Dublin Customs Department before coming to Australia.  He eventually settled at Joel Joel and worked hard on the land.  He only had two relatives in Australia at the time of his death, a brother and a cousin.

Mrs Sarah Elizabeth REECE – Died June 8, 1915 at Hamilton.  Originally from Blackwood, Victoria, Sarah married James Reece from Purdeet, near Penshurst.  She saw Penshurst grow from nothing to a permanent town.  Sarah and James had three sons and four daughters.

Mrs Duncan McKENZIE – Died June 13, 1915 at Rhymney.  Mr and Mrs Duncan McKenzie arrived in Victoria from Scotland in the early 1850s.  Duncan obtained a job at Allanvale Estate a large sheep station near Great Western.  Mrs Duncan died at the home of her daughter, Mrs Foley, and was buried at Ararat Cemetery.

Mrs A.M. JUKES – Died June 27, 1915 at Warrnambool.  Mrs Jukes arrived in Melbourne from Scotland in 1852 to marry Alfred M. Jukes.  After time living in Richmond, they moved to Warrnambool where Alfred took up a post of solicitor, one of the first in the town.  He was also Town Clerk for a time.  Alfred died in 1872.  Mrs Jukes was a member of the Christ Church Ladies Guild and when World War 1 broke out she was particularly interested in the fate of Belgium and its residents.  As a girl, she was educated in Malines, Belgium a town later destroyed by the Germans.

George EXCELL – Died June 11, 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  George Excell was a successful breeder of dairy cattle, draught horses and sheep.  He began his time in Victoria when he landed in Geelong aged around 27 during the 1850s.  He went to Ballarat and was there at the time of Eureka, before residing at Swan Bay near Queenscliffe for forty years.  He later moved to Stockyard Hill, east of Ararat where he remained until his death.

Mrs George EXCELL – Died June 11, 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  Mrs Excell was the wife of George, mentioned above.  There union was so great that Mrs Excell died only hours after hearing of George’s passing.

Alexander McBEAN – Died June 13, 1917 at Casterton.  Alexander was a blacksmith, who learnt his trade as a teenager, fresh from the boat.  His first boss was known as “Terrible Billy” Thomson.  He was then apprenticed to Mr. W. Handley at Sandford before moving to the Ballarat district.  He later moved to Edenhope and then Casterton where he had a blacksmith’s business behind Cawker’s Mart.  He again moved, this time to Harrow, before once again moving back to Casterton and opening another blacksmith business which he ran until his death.

John Henry Morris BILSTON – Died June 17, 1917 at Penola, South Australia.  John Bilston was the son of  Thomas Bilston, an early settler of Melbourne and brother of Frederick William Bilston,  from August Passing of the Pioneers.  John was born in Heywood around 1846 and his first job was an apprentice saddler which he did for five years.  Finding that rather sedate, he became a gun shearer and a buckjump rider.  After some time farming, he took up saddlery again in his later years.  John married  Mary Mingoue, the daughter of Simon Minogue of Portland.

William MULLEN - Died June 13, 1917 at Drik Drik.  Born in Ireland, William Mullen arrived in Victoria in 1862 aged 18.  He married Emma Holmes of Lower Cape Bridgewater and they  celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just prior to William’s death.  They had a family of nine children.

Mr T G HENRY – Died June 16, 1920 at Portland.  The lure of gold brought T.G. Henry to Australia from Ireland but his life soon went from that of a miner to teacher.  He taught at the Heywood school from 1870 to 1876 and the Mumbanner school from 1876 to 1888 after which he retired.  He then farmed until he moved to Portland in 1906.  His wife was Miss Tatham of Doncaster, Melbourne and they had five children.

Luke BYRNE – Died June 18, 1920 at Ballarat.  This is obituary which tells a great pioneering story.  Irishman Luke Byrne began in his time in Australia at Ballarat and his life ended in Ballarat.  Luke originally carted goods from Ballarat through to Horsham and the stations beyond.  At the time, the only residents of Horsham were all male except for one woman.

Obituary. (1920, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from

Luke was one of the first to select land in the Wimmera in an area which became known as Byrneville.  The early years were very difficult and at times Luke had to leave his selection and take up jobs to suppliment his income.  By the time he retired, Luke had increased his holding to 3,000 acres of the best wheat growing land which he was able to pass on to his three sons.  Luke and his wife had a total of 12 children.

John GORMAN – Died June 18, 1922 at Geelong.  As a policeman of 34 years, John Gorman worked in towns throughout Western Victoria.  John joined the police force shortly after arriving in Victoria from Ireland in 1863.  In his retirement, he lived in Geelong.  He left a wife and five children.

Susannah KITTSON – Died June 3, 1926 at Portland.  Susannah Kittson came to Victoria from Ireland as a six-year-old in 1841.  She was a member of the pioneering Kittson family of Bridgewater.  On arrival at Geelong, her family “trekked” to Colac, then Tahara and then on to Bridgewater.

Susannah married John Harcoan and they settled at Minyip in the Wimmera.  Three months before her death, Susannah returned to live at Portland where she found “peace at last” in the place of her childhood.  She left five children.

William OSBOURNE – Died 19, 1930 at Portland.   Born in Portland, William with his brothers, followed his father into the butchering business.  Osbournes Butchers were known as giving  “full value and a square deal to all”.  William was also a foundation member of the Portland P & A Society and was a vestryman at St Stephens Church.

St Stephens Church Portland

Caroline HUMPHRIES – Died June 8, 1931 at Casterton.  Born at Portland around 1860, Caroline was the daughter of Charles Humphries and Caroline Sampson.  Within a few years of her birth, Caroline’s family moved to Henty, between Merino and Casterton.  She later married James Lane and they settled at Dunrobin, north of Casterton where they raised a large family.  I have a link to Caroline Humphries through my Diwell line.  Caroline’s niece  Margaret Ley Humphries, married my1st cousin 3 x removed ,William Ralph Francis Coulson a grandson of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.

Peter GAMBETTA – Died June 5, 1931 at Stawell.  Peter Gambetta came to Stawell from his home in Ticiano which lies in Italy but is a state of Switzerland.  Gold was the lure but after the boom, he started a vineyard “St Bernards” near Stawell.

Joseph Henry PORTER – Died June 22, 1931 at Portland.  Born in England around 1840, Joseph Porter arrived in Portland around 1854.  Taking on the trade of cabinet maker, he was known for his fine craftsmanship.  His wife was Sarah Herbertson, a member of a well-known family from Portland West.  They had no children.

Dr. James Thompson TUNNOCK – Died June 16, 1933 at Hamilton.  Despite moving away at a young age, Dr. Tunnock had strong links to the early pioneers of south-west Victoria.  James was the son of Jonathon Carrick More Tunnock and Jane Kennedy and was born at Cape Bridgwater in 1853.  Being bright at school and having no interest in farming, James took himself off to Melbourne to study dentistry.  Maybe I should not have put the prefix of Dr. in front of James’ name as in 1913, he was fined £5 for using the title Dr. on signage,breaching the Dentists Act 1910.

Advertising. (1908, September 5). Independent (Footscray, Vic. : 1883 – 1922), p. 1. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from

I don’t think I would fancy visiting a Dental Parlor.  It sounds too much like Funeral Parlor!

Ann BEGLEN – Died June 7, 1940 at Portland.  Miss Ann Beglen’s Irish parents John and Margaret, arrived at Williamstown in 1841 before travelling on the “Frances Henty” to Portland.  On arrival, John set up a butcher shop.  Ann was born in 1848 and educated at Miss Dunbar’s private school at Portland.  In her later years Ann could still remember playing as a child around the foundations of the then under construction”Burswood” built by Edward Henty.  At the time of her death, Ann was living with her nieces at “Pioneer Cottage” the home where she was born.

Nonogenarian’s Birthday. (1938, July 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from

Passing of the Pioneers

If some of the pioneers from May Passing of the Pioneers could be gathered in one room, the stories would be flowing.  Many of them enjoyed telling stories from the past and had great recollections of the early days.  Subjects would include Queen Victoria, the Henty brothers, the Eureka Stockade, lands sales and gold.  I’m sure they would have all agreed with  fellow pioneer John Waters’ philosophy to “paddle your own canoe”.

Agnes PATERSON: Died May 29, 1901 at Portland.  Agnes was the was the daughter of a Tasmanian solicitor, Alex Paterson.  She married John Norman McLEOD and they first arrived in the Portland district around 1850.  John built “Maretimo” before purchasing “Castlemaddie“, a property at Tyrendarra.  Between 1851 and 1856, John McLeod was the MLA for Portland.  Agnes was 75 at the time of her death and left three sons.

James KITTSON:  Died May 20, 1911 at Melbourne.  James Kittson was one of the original pioneers of the  Bridgewater area.  He was the father of Rebecca Kittson and James Trotter Kittson both of whom have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.  James was a Councillor with Portland Shire Council.

John GILLIES:  Died May 1914 at Moonee Ponds.  John Gillies was a farming pioneer around the Ararat district.  He was a member of the Farmers’ Co-operative Company and the Ararat Agriculture Society.

Emily Julia BENNETT:  Died May 1914 at Stawell.  Emily Bennett was a Stawell pioneer.  Originally from London, she arrived in Victoria around 1860 with her parents Dr. Edwin Bennett and Mrs. Bennett.  The settled around Stawell around 1865.  Gold was the main focus in Stawell at the time and the town consisted mostly of tents.   Dr Bennett took up a position as hospital doctor which he held for many years.  Emily married Mr R.Z. DAVIES  at the Stawell West Anglican church.  Mr Davies was the headmaster at the Stawell State School.

William B. BRADSHAW:  Died May 26, 1915 at Ballarat.  Born in Cambridgeshire, England, William Bradshaw arrived in Adelaide as an 11 year old in 1837.  One of the last events he attended in London before his departure was the ceremony for the Proclamation of the accession of Queen Victoria.  Once in South Australia, his father established one of the first bakeries in Adelaide.  William was lured to the goldfields of Victoria in 1851.  He had reached Ballarat by 1854 the time of the Eureka Stockade.  He was one of the first Justices of the Peace appointed in Victoria.

John WATERS:  Died May 4, 1917 at Nareen.  John Waters was born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland in 1830.  He and his wife arrived at Portland aboard the “General Hewitt” in 1856 and headed towards the Casterton district.  After some moving around he finally settled at “Rock View” at Nareen in 1867 where he remained until his death.  John’s pioneering story is similar to so many others of his time:

Obituary. (1917, May 7). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from

If John was concerned about “coddling legislation” almost 100 years ago, what would he think of our society today?

John CHRISTIE:  Died May 15, 1918 at Byaduk.  Born at Garvard, Haddington, Scotland in 1834 and arrived at Portland in 1851.  He settled at Byaduk, naming his property “Garvard Vale“.  With his brother they breed find Lincoln sheep.  A further obituary can be read at Obituaries Australia

Mrs Margaret KITTSON Died May 19, 1927 at Heywood.  Although she was only eight at the time, Margaret Kittson retained memories of her voyage to Melbourne in 1840.  She also recalled the early days of Portland, the Hentys, William Dutton, Black Thursday of 1851 and the wreck of the steamer “Admella”.  She married Hugh Kittson and they settled at Bridgewater Lakes.  In her later years she retained her wit and loved the company of children.  She was a contributor to the Red Cross during WW1.

William Primrose ANDERSON:  Died May 26, 1927 at Portland.  William Anderson was a well known resident of Portland and was known around the town as “W.P.”.  He was born in 1845 in Melbourne and arrived in Portland with his parents around 1857.  His first job was working in a grocery and hardware store in Portland.  By the age of 28 he had taken over the business.  He set up an wool export business and had many other business interests around the town.  His obituary is lengthy and is worth reading to learn more, not only about “W.P’s” life but also the early days of Portland.  William Anderson demonstrated the qualities shown by many other pioneers:

Obituary. (1927, May 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from

William McINTYRE:  Died May 23, 1936 at Hamilton.  William McIntyre arrived at Portland in 1852 with his parents aboard the “John Davis“.  He was born in Inverness, Scotland only three years earlier.  By 1855, the McIntyres arrived at Muddy Creek near Hamilton via Strathdownie and South Australia.  William was a gun shearer, with his record being 209 sheep in one day.  He also was a good athlete, winning many prizes at sports days from Penshurst to Branxholme.

Mary MUMFORD:  Died May 5, 1940 at Camperdown.  Mary Mumford was born in England in 1845, and arrived in Australia with her parents in the late 1840s.  She married Frederick TILL in 1863 and lived in Cobden.  Frederick was killed in an accident, leaving Mary with four children.  She married John PETER and they had a further five girls.  It is not mentioned what happened to Mr Peter, but Mary left Cobden for Cowley’s Creek where she resided for 25 years.  Later in life she married Mr NELSON.  At the time of her death she had one son, six daughters, 44 grandchildren, 55 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.  Her son William Till played a part in the rescue of the two survivors of the “Loch Ard

Mary LOUREY:  Died May 3, 1941 at Glenormiston.  Mary Lourey was the last surviving child of Thomas and Johanna Lourey.  She was born at Kirkstall around 1858.  Twenty-two years later she married Thomas KELLY and they eventually settled at Glenormiston.  Thomas was behind the construction of the Glenormiston butter factory.  At Mary’s funeral at the Noorat Catholic Church, the children from St Joseph’s School formed a guard of honour.  The cortege was said to stretch from Noorat to Terang where Mary was buried.

Henry C. WILLIAMSON:  Died May 25, 1948 at Portland.  Henry Williamson was a pioneer of the fruit growing industry in the Gorae district.  He and his brother grew apples and later built cool stores at Gorae which were a profitable ongoing concern.  Henry retired into Portland and was a prominent member of the Wesley Church and the Portland P & A Society,

Robert J. MALSEED Died May 1950 at Portland.  Robert Malseed was the youngest son of Irish immigrants, Stewart and Margaret Malseed.  Robert was born at Portland in 1860 and married Elizabeth Ann TRENEAR in 1888.  Robert and Elizabeth lived all their married lives at 88 Garden Street, Portland where Robert had an orchard.  One of his proudest moments was representing the Malseed family at the 100th anniversary reunion of the arrival of his parents.  He was the oldest surviving member of the Portland Oddfellows Lodge.

Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers reminds me how much can be learnt about Western Victorian history from reading  pioneer obituaries.  This month sees some prominent men of 19th century Western Victoria, James Dawson, James Thomson and John Kirby.

I am also learning more about the wonderful homesteads dotted throughout the Western District.  The Monivae, Longerenong and Mt. Koroite Homesteads are all mentioned this month.  If you click on the homestead name in the obituary, the link will take you through to the Victorian Heritage Database and relevant homestead’s listing.  I am finding the links to this site, even from Google, a little temperamental lately.  If it does not go directly to the homestead, just click the link again and you will have success.

James DAWSON:  Died April 19, 1900 at Camperdown.  James Dawson was born at Linlithgow, Scotland in 1806.  His mother, Johannah Park, was a niece of explorer Mungo Park.  James left Scotland in 1840, bound for Victoria.  He initially purchased a property on the Upper Yarra at Melbourne, but later bought a property at Port Fairy.  He erected a house he had brought  in pieces from Scotland.  The property was known as Kangatong Estate.  While there, he commissioned artist Eugene von Guerard to paint nearby Tower Hill.

He sold the property and moved to Keilor then Camperdown.  After two years away in Scotland, James returned and was appointed Protector of Aboriginals,  a role that saw his greatest contribution  to Victorian history.  He was also an honourary superintendent of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and amateur taxidermist.   A large collection of his taxidermy was presented to the Museum connected to the Melbourne Mechanics Institute.

William BAILEY:  Died April 25, 1906 at Ballarat.  Born in about 1828, William arrived in Victoria in 1848.  He went to Ballarat during the gold rush and remained there until his death.  The Ballarat papers were speculating at the time of his death the value of his estate, thought to be £400,000 thanks to mining and squatting.  He had a number of children who had been successful including Stephen who was a station owner at Orange N.S.W.  The boys were also good cricketers.

Mrs LEVETT:  Died April 22, 1909 at Portland.  The wife of Mr F.F. Levett, Mrs Levett was 85 years old at the time of her death.  She had been in Victoria since her early teens.  She had many stories about the early days of the Portland district.

James ALGIE: Died April 17, 1910 at Stawell. Jame Algie was a veteran of the Crimean War.  He was born in Glasgow around 1832 and joined the 71st Highland Light Infantry from Glasgow in 1849 and served in Greece and India.  He had lived in Stawell for 40 years.

Thomas CLOHESY:  Died April 24, 1910 at Hamilton.  Thomas Clohesy had been in Victoria since in 1871.  He made the journey from Ireland with his father and brother, but sadly his father passed away on the voyage.  He at one time worked at the estates of the Chirnside brothers.

James THOMSON:  Died April 25, 1910 at Hamilton.  James Thomson was born in Balnachole, Scotland in 1823.  He and his wife travelled to Australia in 1852.  With him he brought sheep farming experience which he tried,  first at Edenhope in a partnership and later at Hamilton at the well known Monivae estate.  James purchased “Monivae” in 1870 from the estate of Police Magistrate Acheson Ffrench.  The property was 18,000 acres and James ran Angus cattle and Lincoln sheep.  The Victorian Heritage Database  lists he also bred rare Scottish ponies, collie dogs and goats.

I have an interest in the history of the Monivae property and it’s homestead as I attended Monivae College in Hamilton which, for a short time in the 1950s, ran the school from the homestead before moving to the current site. The school retained the Monivae name.  At school we learnt a lot about Acheson Ffrench, the original owner, but I knew nothing of James Thomson’s links to the homestead.  Ffrench named “Monivae” after Monivaea Castle, his father’s castle in Galway, Ireland.

I discovered, thanks to the Victorian Heritage Database, that James Thomson built the existing Monivae homestead, known as “Old Monivae”, rather than Ffrench.  Ffrench had lived in another home on the property and it was later left empty by Thomson.  The bluestone for the new homestead was taken from a quarry on the property.   James also donated bluestone for St. Andrew’s  Presbyterian Church, which stands with the Hamilton Anglican Church on Hamilton’s “Church Hill” .  Their spires are landmarks on the Hamilton skyline.  Nana and several other Haddens were married at the Presbyterian Church.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton

James INGLIS:  Died April 12, 1914 at Ballarat.  James Inglis ran the Ballarat coachbuilding business of J. & J. Inglis. with his brother John.  His father started the business in 1860 after he took his family from Melbourne to Ballarat.  James was just three at that time.  The original business was at Market Square but  later moved to nearby Creswick Road.

Robert DALGLEISH: Died April 12, 1914 at Learmonth.  Robert Dalgliesh arrived in Ballarat around 1850 from his native Roxboroughshire, Scotland.  He tried his luck on the diggings, brought property with his brothers, then returned home to Scotland in 1856.  In 1860 he was back and brought a property at Learmonth, “Salwick Hall”,  from his brother.  It was there that he died in 1914.

William UREN:  Died April 19, 1914 at Berringa.  Before travelling to South Australia with his wife during the 1860s, Cornish born William spent time in Chile, South America.  He and his father worked in silver mines.  While in South Australia he worked in the copper mines before moving to Ballarat.  He was a shift boss at the Midas and Lone Hand mines.

Agnes LUNDY:  Died April 16, 1916 at Horsham.  Agnes came to Australia from Scotland during the 1860s and worked for Sir Samuel Wilson at Longerenong near Horsham.  That is where she met her future husband, William McClintock.  William was a cousin of Sir Samuel and worked as an overseer at Longerenong.  They remained at Longerenong for some time, before William bought land and bred find woolled sheep and thoroughbred horses.

Sybil GAIN:  Died April 28, 1921 at Horsham.  Sybil Gain was 90 years old at the time of her death and was one of the Horsham district’s oldest pioneers.  She arrived in Victoria from Scotland during the 1850s.  She married three times.  Her husbands were  John Morrison who she married at 19, William Knipe and John Gillies.  Gillies was a pioneer of the  flour milling industry at Horsham while Sybil was a foundation member of the Horsham Presbyterian Church.

John RUNDELL:  Died April 19, 1925 at Condah.  Born in Cornwall around 1840, John Rundell was a well known member of the Condah community.  He arrived as a child aboard the “Birmingham” with his parents and spent time with his father at the Ararat goldfields.  He married Matilda Hardy upon his return.  Matilda later died and John married Agnes Willling.  John was a road contractor and spent many years building roads between Portland and Hamilton for the Shire.

Mrs James Henry BALL:  Died April 12, 1929 at Hamilton.  Mrs Ball was an early pioneer of the Portland district, having arrived in Adelaide around 1856 from Donegal, Ireland.  It was in Adelaide that she married her husband, James Ball.  They then journeyed to Portland where James farmed.  After the death of James Ball, Mrs Ball moved to Hamilton.

Mrs Hannah BARR:  Died April 13, 1934 at Lyons.  Hannah Barr would have had some great pioneering stories to tell.  She and her husband ran the first and apparently only hotel in the Lyons/Greenwald area.

Obituary. (1934, April 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from

Mrs John MOLLOY: Died April 1934 at Hamilton.  Mrs Molloy was born in England and travelled to Portland with her parents aboard the “Flora McDonald” .  While in Portland she knew Stephen, Edward and John Henty and had many stories to tell about them.  She moved with her parents to Coleraine and after her marriage she moved to Hamilton.  She was a devout Roman Catholic and crocheted an alter cloth for the St. Marys Church, Hamilton.

Eliza CALLAWAY:  Died April 3, 1942.  Eliza was the daughter of Charles and Anne Callaway and was born in Amherst, Victoria in the mid 1860s.  During the 1870s, the Callaways moved to the Heytesbury Forest near Timboon where Charles selected 240 acres.  He cleared the land and grew hops until red spider began destroying the crops .

Obituary. (1942, April 10). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from

John Finn KIRBY:  Died April 7, 1942 at Portland.  John Kirby was quite a man.  Born at “Springbank” Casterton in 1858, he completed his schooling at Ballarat College.  He then worked for seven years as a stock and station agent in Ballarat, before returning closer to home in 1882 to work as a stock and station agent at Coleraine.  He eventually bought the business.

Among his many positions around the district, he was both a Councillor and three time president of the Wannon shire.  He was a chairman of directors of the Western District Butter Factory Ltd. and a Justice of the Peace.

John was a talented sportsman and excelled as footballer, including a stint in the metropolitan league.  Probably his greatest sporting achievement was as a racehorse owner.  His horse The Parisian won the 1911 Melbourne Cup.  He also had success with a steeplechaser, Napier which won the Great Eastern Steeple at Oakbank, South Australia and the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool.

John Kirby married Elizabeth Crowe in 1885.  They resided in the Mt. Koroite homestead overlooking the Coleraine racecourse.  The Victorian Heritage Database mentions extensive renovations to the homestead after Parisian’s success in the Cup.

Robert Arthur LIGHTBODY: Died April 1949 at Drik Drik.  Robert Lightbody was the third son of the wonderful Rebecca Kitson remembered in the January Passing of the Pioneers.   Robert had fine clerical skills and was a Justice of the Peace, secretary of the Drik Drik Butter factory,  Drik Drik P & A Society, Drik Drik school, Drik Drik Repatriation commitee and the Drik Drik cricket club.  As if wasn’t busy enough, he was also a local preacher of the Methodist church for 65 years.  His wife, Ellen Jones, must never have seen him.  All that activity must have contributed to him living to the ripe old age of 93.

Passing of the Pioneers

I enjoy finding stories of pioneer women, as they give me some idea of the lives lived by my own pioneering female ancestors.  March Passing of the Pioneers introduces a plucky pioneer, Elizabeth Cole (Mrs E. Dalziel).  Elizabeth and another pioneer, Annie Alexander both made their mark in rolls not traditionally considered the domain of women.   Among the passing gentleman, I enjoyed the story of John McClounan, a well travelled pioneer.

Mr John Lang CURRIE: Died March 11, 1898 at St Kilda.  John Currie was a Western District pastoralist.  He was born in Selkirkshire, Scotland in 1818 and came to Australia in the 1840s and purchased Larra Estate near Camperdown in 1844.  He later bought Tintanga and Gala Estates.  He bred merino sheep known for the high quality of their wool.  For more information, his biography is on the Australian Directory of Biography site.

THE PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1898, March 12). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

John McCLOUNAN: Died March 2, 1902 at Green Lake.  John McClounan was born in Scotland in 1832, but left when he was 21.  But not straight to Australia.  He first travelled to America were he spent seven years and then on to New Zealand for around six years.  He and his brother, his travelling companion, then moved to the goldfields of N.S.W. and then to Victoria and Deep Lead near Stawell.  They gave up on mining and moved to Green Lake to farm.  It was on this property John died, forty years later.  He was unmarried.

Mrs James DAVIDSON:  Died March 1907 at Warrnambool.  Mrs Davidson was “another pioneer “Mother of Israel”” lost to the Western District.  At 91, her husband had died 46 years before and according to the obituary, she “trained up five sons and four daughters to man and womanhood”

John Henry OLIVER:  Died March 23, 1909 at Horsham.  John Oliver was the brother-in-law of Jonathon and Reuben Harman.  The obituary states John arrived in Melbourne with his family in 1848.  It was in fact 1849 aboard the Courier.  John had spent time around Byaduk where his family settled, however he bought land at Sailors Home near Dimboola in the early 1870s.  After a stroke, John did return to Byaduk  trying to regain his health, but he eventually returned to the Wimmera to live out his last months.

Mr W.S. WARD: Died March 14, 1913 at Ballarat.  On arrival at Geelong in 1857, Mr Ward headed straight for the goldfields of Ballarat.  He mined the “Hit and Miss” shaft at Creswick before taking time of mining to run the coach on the Ballarat-Buninyong Road.  The lure of gold was too great and he headed to the goldfields of N.S.W. and one time drilled for coal in Gippsland.

Margaret CAMPBELL: Died March 10, 1914 at Casterton.  Margaret arrived at Portland with her parents in 1855 after sailing aboard the “Athleta” .  She married Donald Ross in 1857.  She was  around 26.  They moved to Hamilton, then Sandford before settling in Casterton on the corner of Jackson and Clarkes Street in the house both Margaret and Donald died about 50 years later.

James FERGUSON: Died March, 1914 at Beulah.  Scottish born James was one of the early settlers at Beulah and was known around the town as “The Laird”.  He was one of the first representatives of the newly formed Karkarooc Shire in 1896.  In 1908, he travelled to England and visited the place of his birth in Scotland.

Dugald MAIN:  Died March 9, 1916 at Ballarat.  Dugald arrived in Geelong aboard the “Star of the East” in 1854 and then settled in Ballarat.  He was a builder by trade and sat on the committee of the Ballarat Orphan Asylum.

Alexander McKAY:  March, 1919 at Carlton.  Alexander, formerly of Mortlake, was a Scot through and through and was a keen participant in Highland games throughout the district.  He was an excellent player of the pipes and excelled at the heavy lifting events of the games, such as the caber toss.

Edmond DWYER:  Died March 14, 1930 at Condah.  Edmond at 92, was the last of the pioneers to arrive on the “General Hewitt” in 1856.  He initially went in search of gold near Beaufort at the Firey Creek diggings, before turning to road contracting at Portland.  He worked the road from Portland to Hamilton for many years.

Mrs A.W. McLEAN:  Died March 4, 1932 at Hotspur.  Mrs McLean was a very old pioneer when she passed away in 1932.  She was born in the Isle of Skye in 1838 and was a teenager when she arrived at Portland with her parents, the McDonalds,  in 1853 aboard the “New Zealand“.  She married Mr. A McLean in 1860 and they settled at Hotspur and raised eight children.

Mrs A FREDERICKS:  Died March, 1932 at Portland.  Mrs Fredericks maiden name was Jones and she was born in Portland in 1859.  She first married a Mr Jennings and they had two sons, before she married Alfred Fredericks.  They had a further six children.

Mrs John JACKSON:  Died March 11, 1934 at Hamilton.  Born in Lancashire, Mrs Jackson arrived at Portland with her parents, John and Sarah Rigby, in 1859.  They settled at Heywood where she married John Jackson.  They later moved to Hamilton.  Mrs Jackson left a large family of 10 children, 32 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren (this was reported as 7 great great grandchildren, so they either forgot the great-grandchildren or it was meant to read great-grandchildren).

Emma HOLMES:  Died March 1935 at Drik Drik.  Emma was a knitter.  She knitted during the Great War for the troops and later for the Methodist Babies Home at South Yarra.  Emma arrived at Portland as a seven-year old in 1852.  She married William Mullins and they settled at Drik Drik, with Emma considered to be the first white woman to settle there.  Surely a tough time for a new bride.

Annie Gray ALEXANDER:  Died March 14 1937 at Toorak.  Annie Alexander was born near Beechworth around 1861.  She married Henry William Witton in the early 1880s.  They took up residence at Dimboola in the 1890s.  After Henry’s death, Annie did something a little different to some of the pioneer women I have written of before.  She published the “Dimboola Banner” newspaper until 1918.

Mrs John TRELOAR:  Died March 20, 1939 at Portland.  Mrs Treloar was an active member of the Myamyn community even up until months before her death at aged 90.  She was born at South Portland and later married John Treloar at Myamyn where they lived out there lives.  Mrs Treloar had a large family of 13, eight of whom were still living at the time of her death.

Elizabeth COLE: Died March, 1942 at Bostocks Creek.  What a great pioneer Elizabeth Cole was.  Born at Poplar, London in 1845, she came to Australia with her parents in the early 1850s.  She married Alexander Dalziel at Lethbridge in 1862.  At the time of her death, Elizabeth and Alexander had 120 descendants including 65 great-grandchildren.  What got me about Elizabeth was she was that she had been a bullock driver and one with great skill.  She also had memories of Eureka, could recall Lethbridge as a canvas town and the slab huts of Port Fairy and considered kangaroo a delicacy.  In her later years, she enjoyed listening to that modern contraption, the wireless.

PIONEER DIES IN 97th YEAR. (1942, March 17). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

Mary MURRAY:  Died March 17, 1944 at Hamilton.  Mary’s father was an overseer for Edward Henty at Muntham where she was born.  At the time she was the first white child born at Muntham.  At some time she married Mr Hallam and had many great pioneering stories.

Jean EDGAR:  Died March, 1947 at Harrow.  Jean was another wonderful pioneer who had been in Victoria for 90 years.  She arrived aboard the “Severn” which carried another great pioneer, the thoroughbred King Alfred, one of Australia’s early champion sires.

OBITUARY. (1947, March 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

In 1874 she married into the pioneering Minogue family at Harrow where she lived for the rest of her life.


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