Tag Archives: Byaduk

In The News – February 8 – February 13, 1901

I have an interest in the weather, not just today or on the weekend,  but also historically.  I  participated in Melbourne University’s Climate History newspaper tagging project which involved tagging newspaper articles at Trove  which reported weather events.  This was an  interesting exercise and what did became obvious was the cyclical nature of the weather.  If it has happened before it will happen again, droughts, floods and storms.

Taking it further, I also have an interest in how such weather events effected my ancestors. That is why the Victorian bushfires of 1901 are of interest.  The weather was very similar to two days in my lifetime,  Ash Wednesday February 16, 1983 and  Black Saturday February 7, 2010 and in each case, fires spread across Victoria.  When I look at the  Department of Sustainability Bushfire history of Victoria, I am surprised the fires of 1901 are not mentioned.

The first reports came through on February 8, 1901 of the destruction.  The following article from The Argus describes the weather of February 7, 1901.  The descriptive language used takes the reader to that day.  The heat was oppressive, the wind was strong and dust storms crossed the state, causing an unnatural darkness.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires had sprung up in the Western District.  Early reports from Branxholme were tragic with one death, stock killed and houses lost.  I have family links with three of the families who lost their homes, the Millers, Storers and Addinsalls.  George Miller, a racehorse trainer, lost his house and stables and no doubt his horses.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

The two-day race meeting at Ararat was held under stifling conditions.   A fire started at the course on the second day and horses were burnt.  Later the wind picked up and ripped iron off the grandstand roof, sending the ladies within running for shelter.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires spread across Victoria including Warrnambool, Alexandra, Wangaratta, Buninyong, Yea and Castlemaine

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14337694

Reading the following article about the fires at Byaduk , it really hit home how my Harman and Bishop families may have been impacted.  Even if they were lucky enought not to lose their homes, the scenes would have been unforgettable.

TERRIBLE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818069

In 1901, my great-grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Harman, gg grandfather Reuben James Harman and his parents James Harman and Susan Read were all living at Byaduk.  Not to mention various gg uncles and aunts and cousins, both Bishops and Harmans.  I wonder how they coped.  Did 18 year old Sarah take refuge in a dam or creek with her Grandmother Susan?  Was 70 year James Harman still fit enough to help fight the fires?  These are questions that I will never know the answer to. All I know is they were lucky enough to escape with their lives.

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904), p. 2. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64452557

The Australian Town and Country Journal accounts for 10 homes lost at Byaduk.  The Free Presbyterian Church was lost and the hotel caught alight but it seems it was saved.  The homestead of Richard Thomas Carty at “Brisbane Hill”, a large property at Byaduk, was destroyed.  The Cartys rebuilt and the replacement homestead “Dunroe” still stands.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

This photograph gives us some idea of the devastation.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

Portland was also under threat with fire circling the town.  The fire did not stop until it met the sea.

VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818536

Buninyong near Ballarat was one of the worst areas hit as was Euroa and district.

BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 9). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23853766

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

By January 11, aid for the homeless was on the agenda and at  Branxholme a public meeting was held to discuss such matters.  Authorities discovered the fire near Branxholme, which was possibly the same fire that hit Byaduk, was started by a travelling tinsmith fixing a trough at Ardachy Estate.

THE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10534297

Nearby Macarthur also had losses as did Princetown on the south coast.  At Timboon, bullock teams from the local sawmill were lost.

FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 12). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 6. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54558042

The fire was so strong and relentless that old residents were drawing comparisons to Black Thursday of 1851.

TELEGRAPHIC. (1901, February 12). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 32. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32205605

Today and for the past few days, the temperature has struggled to reach 20 degrees. Three years ago the temperature was more than twice that.  The weather will be like today during future summers, but I also know there will be days again like February 7, 1901, February 16, 1983 and February 7, 2009.  It is the nature of the weather.  Let us hope the devastation of each of these past events are never repeated.


Sarah Harman – From Country to City

I knew all about the brothers of Sarah Harman before I knew anything of her other than she travelled to Sydney with her parents Joseph and Sarah Harman aboard the “Queen of England” in 1855.  Finally I decided the time had come to find out more about Sarah.

I quickly discovered she had married George Adams in 1885 and they had one daughter in 1886.  For some time I thought that was Sarah’s story.  It was while searching the Victorian Pioneer Index 1836-1888 using only “Harman” in the “Mother’s name” field,  that I realised there was more to Sarah than I first thought. I have found this method of searching to be very successful over the years and has unearthed many unknown children and marriages of  the females on my tree.

In the index I found children born at Byaduk to Sarah Harman and a Walter Oakley.  I then found the marriage of Sarah to Walter Oakley in 1864.  Suddenly, Sarah had five children and not one and another spouse.  Sarah’s story had become very different.

Sarah Harman was the only daughter of Joseph and Sarah Harman to come to Australia and she was eldest of the children to travel with them.  Sarah was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1843 and was 12 when she immigrated on the “Queen of England“.

The Harman family arrived in Byaduk around 1863 and by then Sarah would have been 20.  The following year she married Walter Oakley, son of  Henry Oakley and Susan Bullock.  Walter had family links to Port Fairy and Sarah may well have met him during the time the Harmans spent in the town.

The children of Sarah and Walter were:

SUSAN – Born 1865, Byaduk; Marriage Robert Warwick Cruikshank, Birchip 1892; Death 1949, Wangaratta, Victoria

JOSEPH HARMAN – Born 1867, Byaduk;  Marriage Annie Margaret Simpson, 1891; Death 1957,  Blackburn.

HENRY – Born  1868, Yambuk

ALFRED JAMES – Born 1870; Marriage Kathleen Maud Hodgson, 1910; Death 1951,  Stawell.

To this point it would seem that Sarah was going to live life similar to her older brothers, living in Byaduk and raising a family.  However for Sarah there was a turning point.  Sometime between the birth of Alfred in 1870 and 1884, something happened to Walter Oakley.  What, I am not sure.  I have never found a death record.  He just seemed to disappear.

One of the great things about writing a blog, is you get to meet people with similar research interests.  After my post A Small find at the Vic Expo, I heard from Brad who is a Oakley descendant.  He told me of the family story that Walter had disappeared while on a trip delivering live horses to India.  While this a family story, it is not outside the realm of possibility.

Thousands of horses left Australian shores for India during the mid half of the 19th century and naturally there were perils.  This is an incredibly interesting part of our history which led to Australia’s own breed of  horse, the Waler.  The story of live horse export in Victoria is worthy of  its own post at another time.  I like the idea that this is how Walter met is demise, a tragic but romantic end.  Whatever happened, he was gone and Sarah was alone.

Have you found the marriage record of a family member and wondered how on earth did he/she meet that girl/guy?  Sarah’s marriage to George Adams, is one such occasion.  How did Sarah from Byaduk, meet George from Melbourne, 12 years her senior, in the 1880s.  Certainly not online dating!

In the last day or so since I started writing this post, I have added Kerryn Taylor to my circles at Google+.  She is a descendant of  George Adams and Catherine Barry and  told me George’s father Edward was living in Cambridgeshire when the Harmans were still in Melbourn.  The 1851 England Census lists him living at Bassingbourn, just down the road.  Maybe this link to the old country is the reason why George was in Byaduk and in the life of Sarah Harman.

Who was George Adams?  He was born in Essex, England in 1831 and immigrated to Western Australia  around 1852.  He married Irish girl, Catherine Barry in 1853 in Western Australia.  After the birth of one child, they headed east for Melbourne, where a further six children were born.  Two more children were born in Western Australia in 1868 and 1870.

I pick them up next in 1884.  Catherine passed away in Parkville on May 4.  George is listed as a builder and contractor.

Family Notices. (1884, May 14). Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic. : 1876 - 1889), p. 78. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63184969

The next record of George is the following year, 1885, with his marriage to Sarah Harman.   Not a lot of time elapsed between the death of Catherine and his remarriage, but that was not that unusual.

One child was born from the marriage of George and Sarah.  Sarah was around 42 at the time of the birth.

SARAH SELINA (“Sadie”) – Born 1886 at Kensington;  Marriage Harold Charles STONE, 1915; Death 1977 at Kew.

While it seems that George and Sarah returned to the city, in 1888, George had a listing at Byaduk in that year’s Victorian Post Office Directory, his occupation listed as builder.   He may have kept his work options open. It may also be why George was in the Byaduk area to start with, to build something.

In 1921, George passed away.  He was  91.  The first family notice to appear was from Sarah and “Sadie”.

Family Notices. (1921, January 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733023

The following day a notice appeared from the children of George’s first marriage to Catherine Barry.

Family Notices. (1921, January 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733152

Then three days later another, more detailed family notice  presumably again from George and Catherine’s children, but unlike the first it gives the instructions to copy to the Hamilton papers as in the first notice from Sarah and “Sadie”

Family Notices. (1921, January 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 11. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1733627

Are we beginning to see some tension between Sarah and her step children?

George’s Will gives some sign that his children from his first marriage may not have played a big part in his life during his second marriage.  Firstly, Sarah’s son Joseph Harman Oakley and son-in-law, Harold Stone, husband of “Sadie” were executors of the Will.  Sarah was to receive all the household furniture, ornaments and the like as well as all George’s property in his estate.  Upon Sarah’s death, everything was to be sold and distributed as George had nominated.  Aside from his oldest son Edward who was to receive £75, all of his living children from his first marriage were to receive only £20 each.   On the other hand, “Sadie” was to receive the balance of the estate, which sounded as though it would be quiet a considerable sum.

Sarah passed away 10 years later in 1931.  She was 87.  Or was she?  According to her death notice she was in her 90th year.  Her cemetery record lists her as 89.  Her birth record on the England and Wales, Free BMD Birth Index lists her birth in 1843.  The 1851 census has her at seven and as her birth was registered in the last quarter of 1843, this would mean she was turning eight in the year of her census.  The Assisted Immigrants Index lists her age as 12 in 1855, which again fits.  In A Life Cut Short, I posted an article from September 1929 which has Sarah’s age at 85.  Again, if Sarah’s birthday was in the last quarter, this also fits.  I would assume the information for the article came from her brothers.  With 1843 looking like the correct birth year, Sarah should have been 87 at the time of her death, her 88th year, almost 89th but certainly not 90th.  Poor Sarah, what woman would want two years added to her age!

Family Notices. (1931, July 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 15. Retrieved January 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4406027

Both Sarah and George are buried at the Fawkner cemetery.

There is something about Sarah’s story that attracted my attention.  Her address at 5 Brixton Street, Flemington. My first thoughts of Flemington are, of course, of the famous racecourse but having driven through the area several times, it also the historic feel of the suburb that comes to mind.  Also, not far away were the Newmarket Saleyards, the City Abbatoir and the Melbourne Showgrounds.  Racing stables were in back lanes and cattle would be herded through the streets en route to the saleyards.  Sarah would only have to step out onto Brixton street for a reminder of country life, horses being led to the track, cattle mooing, drovers’ dogs barking and the smell, well it was bad.

DUST, FLIES, SMELLS, AND NOISES. (1935, August 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved February 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11756155

The Australian Electoral Roll (1903-1980) shows George and Sarah living at 5 Brixton Street in Flemington in 1903.  George died in the house and Sarah lived there after his death.  I like that when Sadie married Harold Stone, they moved into 7 Brixton Street next door and some stage Sarah, in her later years, moved in with “Sadie”.  In the same year as Sarah’s death, her son Joseph Oakley is listed at 5 Brixton Street in the Australian Electoral Rolls (1903-1980).

Google Street View, points to the painted terrace with the fence as 5 Brixton street.  I’m always a bit wary of where the place the marker lands. If only I could see the street numbers.  I have not been to the house myself but it is on my “to do” list.  Only a couple of months ago I was only about one kilometre away, but with a grumpy driver and child from a day out in the city, I didn’t think they would have appreciated being dragged off course to look at yet another house.  Also the grumpy driver thinks one day we will be arrested  photographing strangers’ houses.  Back to Street View, if you pan around the street, you will see what I mean about the ambiance of the suburb.

Having read George’s Will, it reveals he did own a number of properties, so he may have owned 7 Brixton street, Sadie’s house, also.  In fact he may have owned the entire terrace.  Being a builder, he may have even built the terrace.  As this extract shows, in 1885 land was being offered for sale in Brixton Street.

UNDER THE HAMMER. (1885, February 20). North Melbourne Advertiser (Vic. : 1873 - 1894), p. 3. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66154356

The Will states that Sarah was to receive “the rents and income which may arise and be derived from my lands and tenements and from all property in my estate…”.  Also if  “she shall so desire to permit her to reside in any of my messauges or tenements”.  Electoral rolls also listed George has having lived by “Independent means”, so he must have lived off the rent of his properties.  Secretly I used to hope that it meant he was an SP bookie, living so close to the track and all!

So ends Sarah Harman’s story.  A woman who looked set for a life like that of her sister in-laws, a farming wife in a small country town, surrounded by her family including her brothers, nieces and nephews.  A twist of fate would see her live 50 years of her life in the growing city of Melbourne, away from her brothers, but I’m sure never far from their hearts and minds.

If anyone is interested in more information on George Adams, I have found a website with a very good story of him at Adams Generations.


In the News – January 13, 1905

Western District pioneers were confronted with all the elements Australia has to offer including flood, drought and fire.  Each had its own devastating effect on their lives and livelihood, particularly those on the land.

By January 11, 1905, the Harmans had already experienced the effect of bushfires.  Fires in 1888 and 1901 had seen the loss of stock, grazing land and life.  Bushfires today are just as devastating but the pioneers of the 19th century and early 20th century did not have the weather forecasting, firefighting equipment and communications now available.  When fire went thought Byaduk in 1905, one can only imagine how they managed with the equipment, or lack of, available to them at the time.

The fire began near the Byaduk Caves.  The first Harman to be effected was Gershom, son of Reuban Harman.  The fire then travelled through part of  J. Harman’s property.  I can’t be sure if this was the property of  James or Jonathan as both owned land around the Byaduk caves area.  Poor Mr Harper, lost all the timber for a new house, while others lost hay stacks. Forty men were fighting the fire but wind changes made it almost impossible for them.

HEAVY LOSSES AT BYADUK. (1905, January 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63691042


A Life Cut Short

In September 1929, the Advocate from Burnie, Tasmania, reported on the Harman family and their longevity.

Family's Longevity. (1929, September 10). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67674788

Jonathan died the next year, George made it to 96, Walter 90, Alfred 81 and Sarah (Mrs Adams), 86.   Add brother James who died in 1916 at the age of 86 and the average age of six of the seven children of Joseph and Sarah Harman that came to Australia was 88.

Reuben Harman did not achieve the longevity of his siblings. He died in 1883 aged 44 but if he had of lived on, he would have been the third pea in a pod, with brothers James and Jonathan.

Reuben was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1839 and by the age of 12, he was already working as an agriculture labourer as the 1851 UK Census shows.  He was the youngest of the trio of brothers who sailed to Sydney aboard the “Kate” in 1854, aged 15.

The earliest record I have found of Reuben in Australia, was in 1864 when he married Elizabeth Oliver.  Elizabeth was the sister of Mary Oliver who had married Jonathan Harman two years earlier.  They resided in Byaduk where Reuben farmed with his brothers.  He acquired land and his  home property was “Berry Bank” at Byaduk.  Reuben and Elizabeth raised six children:

Bertha:  Birth: 1866 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  1892 to Felix Alexander James FULLBROOK ;  Death: 1932 at Nambowla, Tasmania

Absalom:  Birth: 1868 at Byaduk';  Marriage:  1904 to Hazel Maud FILMER;  Death 1954 at Bannockburn, Victoria.

Gershom:  Birth: 1869 at Byaduk;  Marriage: 1905 to  Elizabeth HILLIARD;  Death: 1940 at Hamilton.

Jessie:  Birth: 1871 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  1898 to Walter GREED;  Death: 1949 at Hamilton.

Beatrice:  Birth:  1878 at Byaduk;  Death:  1929 at Hamilton.

Sarah Mulbery:  Birth: 1880 at Byaduk; Death:  1931 at Hamilton.

I have found two references to Reuben at Trove , both from the 12 months prior to his death.

The first  article about Reuben was for a transfer of a lease from himself to brother Jonathan,  found in the Portland Guardian of May 23, 1882.

The Guardian. (1882, May 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNING.. Retrieved January 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71582275

The second, in The Argus of August 19, 1882, reports on  the Hamilton ploughing match at Strathkeller, east of Hamilton.  Reuben won Class A, a division down from Champion Class, in heavy conditions.  His plough of choice was the Lennon, also favoured by brother James. He rounded out the day with a second place in the Best Harness class.

HAMILTON PLOUGHING MATCH. (1882, August 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 11. Retrieved January 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11550437

On April 28, 1883, Reuben Harman passed away aged just 44.  I must get his death certificate (in a long line of other must get certificates), to find what took Reuben so young, when his siblings lived long lives.  Reuben was buried at the Byaduk Cemetery.

Headstone of Reuben, Elizabeth, Beatrice and Sarah Harman, Byaduk Cemetery

James Harman was the executor of Reuben’s Will and was very exacting in his application for probate.  Reuben’s estate was to the value of  £1226, quite a tidy some in 1883.  His assets included 128 acres of land, divided into two parts, one with a two roomed slab hut with an iron roof and slab partitions.  There was also a further 26 acres of land, 3 horses, 17 head of cattle, 150 sheep, a buggy and a almost new plough.  There is  a record of an interest he had in selected land of 70 acres.

After Reuben’s death,  Elizabeth was left to care for the children, then aged 17 down to three.  The first to marry was Bertha in 1892, when she was 26.  Gershom and Jessie also married, however the two youngest daughters, remained unmarried.  Elizabeth, Beatrice and Sarah eventually moved into Hamilton, with the two girls working as knitting manufacturers.

In 1907, Elizabeth returned to Byaduk to represent her family in a photo at the Byaduk and District Pioneers day.  She appears in the group photo from the day.

Elizabeth died in 1919 at Hamilton.  Beatrice and Sarah only lived for another 10 and 12 years respectively, both dying at 52.

This is last story of the four Harman boys who travelled independently to Australia.  The final three Harman siblings, Sarah, Walter and Alfred, travelled with their parents, Joseph and Sarah to Australia.  Sarah was 11, Walter 10 and Alfred only three.  The stories of those three Harmans are very different from their four older brothers.


Jonathan Harman

Jonathan Harman and his older brother James were like two peas in a pod.  While Jonathan did not show the devotion to the Wesleyan Methodist Church as is lay preacher brother, they shared a keen in interest in farming practices and community involvement.

Jonathan and James Harman

Jonathan was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1837.  By the 1851 England Census he was the eldest child still living at the home of Joseph and Sarah Harman in Drury Lane, Melbourn.  His farming career had begun with his occupation, like so many others, agriculture labourer.

In 1854, Jonathan and his brothers George and Reuben, boarded the “Queen of England” for Sydney.  The first record I find for Jonathan in Victoria is 1862 when he married Mary Oliver, daughter of fellow pioneers, Jonathan Oliver and Ann Richards.

In 1863, the first of the couple’s ten children, Arthur, was born at Yambuk, near Port Fairy.  Peter Fraser in Early Byaduk Settlers, mentions Mary’s father  Jonathan Oliver living there in 1863.   Peter Fraser also tells of James and Jonathan Harman each having a team of bullocks which they used for a carting business along the Port Fairy road, at least has far as Byaduk or even Hamilton.

Also from Early Byaduk Settlers, I have discovered Jonathan was one of the first buggy owners in Byaduk, purchasing a heavy red buggy in 1875.  Up until that time, most people owned spring carts which were not suitable for a trip into Hamilton.  Until the arrival of buggies, the only comfortable way to travel to Hamilton was horseback or dray.  That trip would have taken 4-5 hours according to Fraser.  Today, the trip to Byaduk from Hamilton is only about 15 minutes.

The family of Jonathan and Mary Harman were:

Arthur John – Birth: 1863 at Yambuk;  Marriage:  Ellen Mathilda Rogers 1891;  Death:  1933 at Hamilton.

Amelia – Birth: 1864 at Byaduk;  Marriage: Chris Bell, 1901;  Death: 1956 at Portland.

Edith – Birth: 1865 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  Robert Bishop, 1901.  Death: 1948 at Port Fairy.

Emily – Birth: 1866 at Byaduk, Marriage:  Malcolm Cameron, 1900;  Death: 1948 at Heywood.

John – Birth: 1868 at  Byaduk; Death: 1886 at Byaduk.

Mary Ann – Birth: 1869 at Byaduk.

Sarah – Birth: 1870 at Byaduk;  Death: 1877  at Byaduk.

Joseph – Birth: 1871 at Byaduk;  Death: 1871 at Byaduk.

Minnie – Birth: 1872 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  Walt Hurrell, 1901;  Death: 1953 at Warrnambool.

Jonathan – Birth: 1876 at  Byaduk;  Marriage:  Hannah Waddup Keyte,1904;  Death:  1941 at  Ararat.

Jonathan and Mary lost one child, Joseph as a baby.  Sarah was only six at the time of her death and son John was 18.  Daughter Mary Ann was born in 1869 but I have never found a record for her death or  marriage.

Joseph, Sarah and John are buried at the Byaduk cemetery and a headstone marks their the grave, but where is Mary Ann?

Headstone of John, Sarah and Joseph Harman, children of Jonathan and Mary Harman,, Byaduk Cemetery

Wife Mary died in 1884 at Byaduk at only 41 years of age.  Youngest child Jonathan was only eight years old at the time.

At the time of Jonathan’s death on April 2, 1930 he was living with his daughter Amelia Bell at Heywood.  He was 94 years old.

Obituary. (1930, April 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64291985

Jonathan’s obituary contains some interesting information.

  •   Jonathan’s arrival in Australia. It is true that Jonathan would have been around 16 when he arrived in Sydney from England with his brothers.  Parents Joseph and Sarah arrived a short time after and stayed in N.S.W for several years before heading to Victoria  toward the end of the 1850s. Did Jonathan leave N.S.W. before them, possible shortly after his arrival, taking a ship from Sydney to Port Fairy to join brother James?  Or is this all just unreliable second-hand information as is the nature of obituaries.  Even so, it is worth investigating further in my quest to pin down when all the Harmans arrived in Victoria and by what means.
  • Amelia Harman, who married Chris Bell is listed as Millicent.  Her birth name was registered as Amelia.  Could Millicent been a nick name that stuck?
  • Youngest son Jonathan is not mentioned in the obituary despite not passing away until 1941.  I have always thought of him as the black sheep of the family.  He married a girl from outside of the district, Hannah Keyte of Natimuk and he spent time in Queensland with Hannah, before disappearing prior to his death in Ararat, Victoria in 1941.  Hannah was still living in Queensland at the time of his death.  Is it possible that not only did he fall out with his wife Hannah, but also his family back in Byaduk?  Or was it simply because the author of the obituary did not have time for him?

Jonathan was buried with Mary next to their three children at the  Byaduk Cemetery.


Not Such an Odd Fellow

George Hall Harman, born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1835, was the fifth child of Joseph Harman and Sarah Mulbury.  His middle name “Hall”  came from the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Keiza Hall.  The 1851 English Census shows 16 year old George working as an errand boy and living at the home of  local publican and farmer, William Dearman.  The following year he saw his older brother James leave for Australia and two years later in 1854, he had his own opportunity to travel to Australia.  With his two younger brothers, Jonathan and Reuben, they boarded the “Kate” at Southampton on August 3, 1854 bound for Sydney, arriving on November 7.

I lose track of George for several years until 1859 when he and  brother James advertised land for sale, Boodcarra Farm at Port Fairy, then known as Belfast. The advertisement is listed in the Port Fairy/Belfast News Index 1859 .  In 1860, George married Rebecca Graham, the daughter of  Thomas Graham and Margaret Paterson.

Compared to his brothers, George & Rebecca had a relatively small family of five children:

Walter Graham – Birth: 1862 in Port Fairy; Marriage:  1887 to Ann GRAY; Death: 1930 in Kyneton, Victoria.

Edith – Birth: 1865 in Byaduk;  Death: 1866 in Byaduk

Thomas Charles – Birth: 1867 in Port Fairy; Marriage:  1900 to Elizabeth Margaret BUDGE; Death: 1954 in Victoria

Mary Helena – Birth: 1870 in Port Fairy; Marriage:  1911 to Samuel ROGERS;  Death: 1920 in Sale, Victoria

Herbert George – Birth: 1878 in Port Fairy; Marriage: 1905 to Aimee Elizabeth HEAD; Death: 1955 in Wangaratta, Victoria

George and Rebecca began their married life in Port Fairy but moved to Byaduk with the other members of the Harman family around 1863.  It appears that George preferred the seaside town and they returned to Port Fairy by 1867.

On a visit to Port Fairy, I called in at the Port Fairy Historical Society in the town’s former Court House.   I noticed old portraits on a wall.  Amongst the faces were George and Rebecca Harman.  The Society have a copying service and I was able to arrange for copies to be sent.

George Hall HARMAN, Original held by Port Fairy Historical Society

Rebecca GRAHAM, Original held by Port Fairy Historical Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the photo of George it is obvious he was a Mason.  Turning to Trove, I was able to establish George was a member of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Odd Fellows(M.U.I.O.O.F.).  I also found a lead to the possible origin of George’s photograph:

(1907, June 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 9, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6026342

After Rebecca’s death in 1902, George remained in Port Fairy living in James, Gipps and Sackville Streets.   His occupation varied from “gardener” to “independent means”.  He also spent time with his family as the 1914 Australian Electoral Roll shows, with him residing at the home of his daughter Mary and her husband Samuel Rogers in Wodonga.  He also spent time with his son, Herbert in Wangaratta as this article about the Wangaratta Odd Fellows Lodge in The Argus suggests:

COUNTRY NEWS. (1923, August 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 23. Retrieved November 9, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2007613

George passed away on September 14, 1931 at the ripe old age of 96.  Only two of his children, Thomas and Herbert,  were living at the time of his death.

Family Notices. (1931, September 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved November 9, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4411246

George was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery with Rebecca and baby Edith.

Grave of George, Rebecca and Edith Harman, Port Fairy Cemetery

Headstone of George, Rebecca and Edith Harman, Port Fairy Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I often think of George and the 29 years after Rebecca’s death until his own.  He saw the passing of his daughter and son and two granddaughters.  Was it a lonely time or did his activities with the Odd Fellows and the visits to the homes of family members fill the void?  I hope so, because George was just a normal fellow who happened to be an Odd Fellow.


Witness for the Prosecution

Searching old newspapers has uncovered three family members who were either mentioned or were witnesses at three separate murder trials.  They were my ggg grandmother, a cousin and to my surprise, my grandfather.

The earliest of these was known at the time as the “Casterton Murders” . My ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Turner, (Mrs Diwell)  was mentioned at an inquest in February 1860, which ended with Casterton man, George Waines, being placed on trial for the murder of Robert and Mary Hunt, also of Casterton.

The Hunts had not been seen since 1858, with many believing they had left the colony.  George Waines claimed he had brought furniture off them, but rumours  spread around the town that George may have been responsible for their disappearance.  The local police investigated and where unable to find the Hunts in the other colonies or New Zealand.

Margaret was mentioned in evidence by Dugald Campbell -

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, February 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved August 11, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64513414

This was a gruesome murder, but it captured the attention of people around Australia.  I found 60 articles from four states.  Many are detailed, including  forensic evidence, a letter to the editor from the autopsy surgeon and George’s confession.  He was eventually hung at Melbourne Gaol.

The second murder trial had it all.  Small country town, married Methodist preacher, a young, single,  grazier’s daughter and arsenic.  A search at Trove for “Omeo 1928″ brings up hundreds of articles.  There is also a Western District connection.

Ronald Griggs moved to Omeo to take up the role of Methodist minister, moving into the residence with wife Ethel.  Originally from Tasmania,  Ronald and Ethel were welcomed into the community by the elders of the church including John Condon and his wife Frances.

OMEO MURDER CASE. (1928, March 8). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 9. Retrieved August 11, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57042062

GRIGGS NOT GUILTY. (1928, April 21). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved August 11, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1228707

After meeting John and Frances’ daughter Lottie, Ronald (right) was a regular visitor to the Condon property.  Ethel was pushed to the outer and after giving birth to their first child, she returned to Tasmania  spend time with her parents.

Ronald and Lottie’s “meetings’ became more frequent, but Ethel (left), inconveniently for Ronald, returned to Omeo.  Only days later, she fell ill and died after several days of severe pain.  Thanks to a suspicious local policeman, the case was taken further and Ethel’s body was exhumed for an autopsy.  Arsenic was present in her body.  Ronald was charged with murder.

Henry Harman was the son of Walt Harman and grandson of Joseph Harman.  He was a well known Ensay grazier and Omeo Methodist church elder.  He was called to give evidence against Ronald Griggs, described as a friend.

OMEO WOMAN'S DEATH. (1928, February 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 24. Retrieved August 11, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3914287

I  found a photo of Henry, along with some of the other key witnesses, in the Barrier Miner, a NSW paper which continues to reward me with articles about my Western Victorian family.  It is becoming a reliable but most unlikely source.

S. (1928, March 2). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved August 8, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46008416″%5D

WITNESSES AT THE OMEO INQUIRY INTO THE DEATH OF MRS. ETHEL CONSTANCE GRIGGS

After two trials, the jury retired to decide its verdict.  According to the Canberra Times, thousands waited on the street outside the court to hear the decision.  Ronald Griggs was acquitted, however his infamy dogged him.  He changed his name and continued to preach, but as his photo had been seen around the country, he was found out.  He struggled to find work and the newspapers followed him for months after.

The Western District connection? Henry was born in Byaduk in 1880 as was his sister Susannah Nash Harman.  She  married  William Condon, cousin of Lottie’s father John.  The Condons first settled in the Portland area, before some of the family moved to Omeo.  Lottie’s mother Frances Ethel Huggins was born at Macarthur in 1883 and her family moved to the Omeo area around 1888.  This  is around the time Henry’s father Walt Harman took his family to the High Country

For more reading about the case there is a book by Reg Egan,  Lottie: A love affair with a man of God and the cruel death that shocked Australia with Henry Harman a key character.  Murder case aside, it offers an insight into life in a small Victorian town in the 1920s.  I have also a public list of newspaper articles at Trove on the case under the heading “Griggs murder

Finally, the “Body under the staircase” trial of fish monger Thomas Garrity, charged with the murder of widow Rose Harvey on April 28, 1931.  Rose had met up with Garrity for a few drinks at a local hotel and they returned by tram to the residence adjoining Garrity’s shop in Port Melbourne.  Police later found Rose’s body stuffed in a cupboard under the stairs of the residence.

Percy Riddiford was a 27 year old, single man from Ballarat,  boarding at his brother’s home in Port Melbourne.  He worked on the trams, based at the Camberwell depot and happened to be working the day Thomas Garrity  and Rose Harvey travelled his route.  As a result, he was required to appear as a witness to assist in determining the movements of Garrity on that day.

BODY UNDER STAIRCASE. (1931, May 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved August 10, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4400320

Garrity claimed that unknown men had visited his home on that night, proceeded to get him drunk then robbed his till.  He claimed that they must have killed Rose.  The judge considered that Garrity could not have put her body under the stairs without help and reduced his charge to manslaughter.  He received 18 months jail with hard labour.  Garrity pleaded his innocence after sentencing.

This was an event in my grandfather’s life that he kept to himself.  The first my father and uncles had heard of it was when I told them of the articles I had found.  He was one to keep things to himself,  so it was good to find out something of his early life.


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