Tag Archives: Cavendish

Trove Tuesday – Hong Sip of Cavendish

One of the great things about the Facebook group “I’ve Lived in Hamilton, Victoria”, is that you just never know what is going to turn up.

Over the weekend, Emma posted photos of some old Hamilton Spectators dated Saturday March 11, 1876,  They were a found in the roof of Emma’s house that is undergoing renovations.  One of the photos was of the Dundas Shire Rate valuations for the South Riding.  On the list were my Haddens.  Emma posted a photo of the entire list for and there was another name that caught my interest,  Hong Sip.  I mentioned to the group I would find out more about him and headed to Trove, the first place I go when there are history queries in the group.  As usual I got a result.

In 1869, Hong Sip, a cook, married local girl Margaret Moran.  The Cavendish correspondent was unsure of the name of Hong Sip’s bride, but unlike him, I have access to Marriage records courtesy of Ancestry.  He did however write a lovely account of the occasion and displayed a very optimistic outlook about the acceptance of Interracial marriages.

[No heading]. (1869, April 19). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 - 1875), p. 90. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5732859

[No heading]. (1869, April 19). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875), p. 90. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5732859

Just to follow-up, I also found this reference to Hong Sip, know as John, after his death in 1885.

[No heading]. (1885, May 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved February 10, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page271825

[No heading]. (1885, May 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved February 10, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page271825

 


The Victorian Heritage Database

On May 5, I attended Day 2 of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisation (VAFHO) conference in Ballarat.  It was a great day with some wonderful speakers and I regret I couldn’t make the first day.

The first keynote speaker was Lisa Gervasoni, a town planner dedicated to Heritage conservation and a member of the Daylesford & District  Historical Society, among other things.  She gave a great talk about using Google Maps to help with family history research and then showed us the usefulness of the Victorian Heritage Database (VHD).  Timely, as I had considered a post about the VHD as I think it is a valuable resource for those researching families from Victoria.

The Victorian Heritage Database is a collection of Heritage places and precincts in Victoria including Heritage studies completed by local councils around the state.

While writing Passing of the Pioneer posts, if I see a property name in an obituary, I head straight to the VHD.  If the property is on the database, most times I can find more about the obit’s subject.  There is always a history of the building, property etc offering a wealth of information

In May Passing of the Pioneers, one obituary belonged to Mary Laidlaw (nee Learmonth).  She and her husband David lived at “Eildon” in Hamilton.  A search found information about the house, the architects Ussher and Kemp and the Napier Club that purchased the building in 1939, the year of Mary’s death.  Not only was I able to expand on the obituary, I learnt something of a house that it is a Hamilton landmark and has intrigued me since childhood.

"EILDON", HAMILTON

“EILDON”, HAMILTON

The VHD was useful when I researched The Parisian, the 1911 Melbourne Cup winner, because his owner John Kirby lived at “Mt Koroite Station” opposite Coleraine Racecourse .  On the VHD entry for “Mt Koroite” I found out more about John and even what he did with his winnings from the Melbourne Cup.

The VHD  is useful when researching a cemetery and I have used it for cemetery related posts.  There are photos of headstones and the Byaduk Cemetery entry even has a photo of Jonathon Harman’s headstone.  A short history of the town is given and a history of the cemetery, early burials and notable “residents” and more.

I have searched property names and  town names, but not surnames and Lisa’s talk made me realise I should.  Individuals may be listed as builders of a property or a labourer on a station.  My search of towns had found some references to my family members but I thought for the purpose of this post I would search specific family names.

None of my family were owners of large holdings or houses but the Diwell family were bricklayers and George Jelly was a builder, so maybe there was a chance.

When searching the VHD, use the “Advanced Search” form (below). It  will give you more results than the “Simple” search.

There are plenty of options to narrow down a search, but I only used the field “with all of the words“.

An entry on the database will include the location, statement of significance, history and description of the building or otherwise.  There is a Google Maps link with both the aerial view and Street View and most times there is a photo or photos.

Now for my results.  I did find entries I had seen before when searching towns,  but there were some new things.  What all the results show is the different ways your family members can be found at the Victorian Heritage Database.

HADDEN

My search started with the Haddens on my mother’s maternal line.  I had two relevant matches.  The first was about a Bills Horse Trough, in the Lions Park on the Glenelg Highway at Glenthompson installed in the 1920s.

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

While the horse trough had nothing to do with a Hadden, the entry has a history of the site, previously a blacksmith shop run by Donald Ross.  The other blacksmiths that operated in the town are named including the shop of  Harold James Hadden, my 2nd cousin 1 x removed.

Buggies outside blacksmith's shop.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria -  Elliot collection.  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42869

Buggies outside blacksmith’s shop. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Elliot collection. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42869

I knew Harold was a blacksmith and that he lived in Glenthompson during that time period, but I didn’t know he ran his own blacksmith shop.

Another entry under “Hadden” was found on a previous search of “Cavendish” and is about gg uncle William Hadden, son of William Hadden and Mary Mortimer.  In 1913, he purchased the Cavendish Cobb & Co Depot and Stables (below) and the adjacent property on the corner of the Hamilton Road and Scott Street, Cavendish.  The 1914 Electoral Roll lists William’s occupation as blacksmith, useful with a Cobb & Co depot.  However, in 1915, the train came to Cavendish taking passengers away from Cobb & Co.

By 1919, William was living at Kiata near Nhill in the Mallee, running the Kiata Hotel.  I am not sure if he had sold the Cobb & Co depot by that time but he never returned to Cavendish and died in Geelong in 1927.

HARMAN

A “Harman” search brought up not a building but a roadside Memorial plantation at Byaduk, sadly in poor condition.  The trees, planted in memory of the Byaduk soldiers that served during WW2, have not been maintained over the years.  My 1st cousin 3 x removed and grandson of James and Susan Harman, Leonard Roy Harman, was killed during the war as was another Byaduk man A.R.McNair.   The Southern Grampians Shire Heritage study on this site reported that much of the significance and integrity of the site had been lost.

The Memorial planting was the only “Harman” reference found until I did a “Byaduk” search.  Then I discovered that a search of “Harman” did not bring up any references to “Harman’s”.  This was after I read the report about the Byaduk General Store ruins.  The general store is thought to have opened around 1863 when another early shop opened,  Joseph Harman’s, bootmaking shop.

DIWELL

I then turned to Mum’s paternal side and searched the Diwells.

Surprisingly the result took me back to Cavendish, a town I never thought they had links to.  However, I found my gg uncle William Diwell, a bricklayer, was the contractor that built the Cavendish Memorial Hall in 1920.

It was no surprise William Diwell was a bricklayer.  The following entries are about his father and grandfathers, all bricklayers or builders.

Firstly, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Merino.  Builders Northcott and Diwell built the church in 1868.  That would be ggg grandfather William Diwell and I am assuming Northcott is George Northcott of Merino.  George owned Merino’s Commercial Hotel (below) and the Cobb & Co Station.  From the VHD I  discovered they received  £126/15/- for the job and that they had also built the Merino Free Library and the Mechanics Institute.

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

The next Diwell match was for the Sandford Mechanics Hall (below).  I knew from a transcript of the booklet, Back to Sandford Centenary: 1957  on the Glenelg and Wannon Pioneers site, William Diwell senior had a link to the building of the Mechanics Hall but only that he suggested that it be made of brick and not wood.  The VHD shed a little more light on a conversation that took place between William and the committee secretary J.S. Anderson in 1864, but in doing so, it leaves me questioning the entry

From the Back to Sandford booklet ,I knew that William ran into Mr Anderson on the Casterton Road.  Anderson told William of the plans to call for a tender for the building of a wooden hall.  William suggested a brick building and that Mr Anderson should take the idea to the committee before advertising.  The committee thought it was a great idea and they called for tenders for a brick hall.

Turning to the VHD, the report continues on from the above story but cites rate book entries from 1863 that Richard Diwell of Casterton was a brickmaker or bricklayer.  Richard was my gg grandfather and he was nine in 1863 . It continued with the story that William suggested Anderson go back to the committee, but added that William had a proposal , maybe an offer of funding.  The committee agreed to the unknown proposal and the tender process began.   The tender was won by James McCormack.

The thing is, the hall was not built until 1885, 19 years after William Diwell met Mr Anderson on the Casterton Road.  William had been dead 14 years.  So he could hardly be credited for a brick hall,  surely.  Also, why is Richard Diwell mentioned?  Did they mean William or was Richard involved later when the hall was built when, as a 30-year-old bricklayer, it was more realistic?

JELLY

I found entries for George Jelly, my ggg grandfather, and father-in-law of Richard Diwell.  George built the Anglican Rectory in Henty Street Casterton in 1887.

What particularly interested me came from a spontaneous search I did for “George Jellie”.  It brought up the Coleraine Anglican Church.  The history of the church referred to the original structure built in 1853 by Casterton contractor, George Jellie.  My George Jelly did not arrive in Victoria until 1855 aboard the Athelate with his wife Jane and daughter, Mary.  According to his obituary, they first went to Murndal at Tahara, run by Samuel Pratt Winter and then on to Casterton.  George and Jane’s first born child in Australia was my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Jelly at Casterton in 1856.

That beggars the questions, was there a George Jellie, contractor of Casterton in 1853 or did the first building at the Coleraine Anglican Church not get constructed until around 1856 by which time George Jelly had arrived in the town?  More research is needed on that one.

George’s obituary credits him for building the Casterton Mechanics Institute also, however that building is not on the VHD.

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While the Victorian Heritage Database is full of useful information, I do wrestle with it on occasions as it takes on a mind of its own.  I use a Firefox browser and I think it doesn’t agree with the database. I have tested Chrome and it seems a lot happier.  Another problem I occasionally have is when clicking on a link to VHD from Google or Western District Families.  I get a message that my session has ended.  If that happens, page back and click again and it will come up.

More on Lisa Gervasoni.  Lisa  has over 300,000 photos on Flickr and they are also found with a Trove search.  Lisa’s photos of landmarks and war memorials, often come up in my searches of Western Victorian towns.  When I have wanted to see what something in the Western District looks like, Lisa’s great photos have been there.  Thank you Lisa.

More on the VAFHO conference.  It was great to finally meet in person, Liz Pidgeon from the Yarra Plenty Regional Library and Infolass blog, who I have known on social media for some time.   I also met Craige from the Mortlake Historical Society.  You should check out the great Facebook page he is running for the society.


An Early Christmas Present

While I take a short break from Christmas posts, I thought I would tell you about an early and surprising Christmas gift I received.

An email arrived late last month from fellow Western District researcher Daryl Povey from the Glenelg and Wannon Settlers website.  He had noticed the following notice in Alan Bald’s book “Births, Deaths & Marriages printed in the “Hamilton Spectator” 1-7-1859 to 31-12-1920″  of which there are 11 volumes:

MARTIMER.–Hannah Martimer (or Mortimer,) wife of a Cavendish carrier, died 26/8/1888, after being bed-ridden for eight months.

“The Hamilton Spectator” 28th August 1888

At last, thanks to Daryl, I had a death date for Rosanna Buckland and yet another variation to her name, Hannah.  You may remember the sign at the entrance to the Old Cavendish Cemetery, listing a “Mrs Mortimer”, buried in 1889.  I do believe now that “Mrs Mortimer” is Rosanna which would make the date incorrect.  Rosanna was only 63 when she died and it is sad to find that she was bed-ridden in the months before her death.

Daryl then forwarded the notice for Rosanna’s husband, James Mortimer:

MORTIMER.–On the 3rd inst., at his late residence, Cavendish, James Mortimer, aged 74 years. Born in Windsor, Wiltshire, England, he came to the colony in 1851, was a station driver and overseer, then a carrier. He died of dropsy and heart disease, and was buried on 5/11/1895, leaving four grown-up children. His wife died about 7 years ago.

“The Hamilton Spectator” 5th November 1895

As Daryl pointed out, there are a couple of errors in this notice.  James was born in White Waltham, Berkshire, England and he and Rosanna arrived in Victoria in December 1852 aboard the “Bombay” and of course James was a station drover and not a driver.

Thank you Daryl for your help once again.   Why not check out Daryl’s website which also incorporates the Casterton Historical society website.  If you have a Western District Family or have an interest in Western District history, particularly  the south-west,  you are bound to find something of interest.  I am constantly amazed at the amount of content on the site.


Old Cavendish Cemetery

Behind this gate are the graves of two of my ggg grandfathers, a ggg grandmother, a 2nd cousin once removed, possibly another ggg grandmother and more.

This is the Old Cavendish Cemetery on the banks of the Wannon River. In use from 1849 through to 1922,  it was the site of over 120 burials.  A beautiful resting place for my ancestors but the problem is there are very few headstones.

I visited a few weeks ago on a sunny Sunday morning.    Ticking off the risk factors before entering: sunny, mid-spring, river location, long grass and graves, I decided to move quickly as I didn’t want to run into “Joe Blake”.   I moved at great haste barely stopping to take each photo. Surprisingly none were blurred.

This cemetery is set in beautiful countryside with Hugh Duncan and his wife Catherine having a prime position overlooking the Wannon River.

Headstone of Hugh Duncan (died 1892) and Catherine Duncan (died 1917)

Grave of James Rogers (died 1913) and Hannah Rogers (died 1908) and their daughters Mary Ann (died 1876) & Elizabeth Jane (died 1899)

I have a family link to the Brewis family of Karabeal.  My first cousin 4 x removed, Alice Reed married Henry Alfred Brewis, son of Joseph and Mary Brewis.  Alice was the niece of Susan Reed, wife of James Harman.

Front: Headstone of Magaret Matheson (died 1871) Back: George Healy Wilson (died 1895) and his mother Elizabeth Wilson (died 1898)

Headstone of William Lord (died 1885) and Sarah Lord (died 1874) and their son Henry (died 1872)

The following headstone is interesting.  It is the grave of Ann Wright who died in 1891.  She is buried with her son Henry Huntly and another Cavendish man Brown Hearn who died in 1904.  A clue came from another Hearn buried in the cemetery, Jessie Hearn.  Her death record of 1880 lists the three-year old’s parents as Brown Hearn and Elizabeth Huntly (or Huntley).  I have found a Victorian Marriage record for an Ann Prior to Henry Huntly in 1842 at Portland, but I can’t find a birth record for a Henry Huntly Jnr and I can’t explain the “Wright” surname.

Headstone of Thomas Varley (died 1892) and his daughter Evelyn Margaret (died 1894)

A Diphtheria epidemic hit Cavendish during 1879 and 1880 and many lives were lost including four children of the Cavendish school headmaster.  The headstone of Sarah Jane and Minnie McDonald is a reminder of that time.  Sarah Jane passed away on June 17, 1880 and her sister on June 19, 1880.  They were the daughters of Michael and Margaret McDonald of “Hyde Park” Cavendish.

Richard Bryant was a July Passing Pioneer.  Maggie, Richard’s second wife, was born in Ireland and was Margaret Nowlan.  My link to Richard is on his Passing Pioneer entry.

Headstone of Eliza Hewitt (died 1891), Anna Jane Hewitt (died 1899) and William Hewitt (died 1905)

This plaque at the entrance to the cemetery lists all those buried in the cemetery and events from the history of Cavendish during the time the cemetery was in use.

My family members are well represented in the cemetery, but all the headstones are gone or didn’t exist.  There is my ggg grandparents Charles and Agnes Hadden and their great-grandson, Charles.  Also my ggg grandfather James Mortimer, died 1895 and his granddaughter Queenie Rose Ann Victoria Mortimer who died as a baby in 1891.

There are  three Mortimers that I am not sure of.  Given I cannot find the death of my ggg grandmother Rosanna Buckland, she has to be one of them .  One unidentified Mortimer died in 1895 which should be James Mortimer.  There is also a  Mrs Mortimer, died 1889 and another Mrs Mortimer, died 1898.  I think the latter is Sarah Ann Duggan, wife of Henry Mortimer, James and Rosanna’s youngest son.  Sarah Ann died in Warrnambool in 1898.

GGG Grandmother Rosanna could be the 1889 “Mrs Mortimer”.  Or maybe not.   She has been elusive to date.  There is also a Mr W. Mortimer who died in 1889.  I don’t have a W. Mortimer on my tree that died around that time nor can I find a W. Mortimer in the Victorian Death records.

I will return to the Old Cavendish Cemetery in Autumn, when the grass will be shorter and “Joe Blake” will be tiring.  Maybe then I can take my time and see what is hidden beneath the grass.

For a full list of those buried at the Old Cavendish Cemetery, check out Ian Marr’s great site Cemeteries of S.W.Victoria

GLOSSARY:

“Joe Blake” ( Australian Rhyming Slang) – snake.


160 Years Ago Today…

This morning at 11.00am, I will think of my Hadden family sailing through the Heads into Port Phillip Bay, 160 years ago today.  I have previously posted about their journey on the Marco Polo, a clipper ship that altered the course taken by immigrant ships on their journey to Australia and in doing so, earned the title of Fastest Ship in the World.

Marco Polo Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://tinyurl.com/9alkahe

Landing at Hobsons Bay, the Haddens made their own way to Melbourne and for the next 14 years I have no idea where they were.  In that time they “acquired” two daughters, Margaret and Ellen.   John’s birth in 1864 is the first clue to the Haddens being at Mokanger Station near Cavendish where Charles worked.

 

The children of  Charles Hadden and Agnes Dobson were:

WILLIAM: Born 1847  Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland; Marriage Mary Mortimer 1870, Cavendish; Died 1938,  Hamilton.

JAMES:  Born 1850 Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland; Died 1935, Cavendish.

MARGARET: Born circa 1854; Married James Cameron 1883; Died 1927,  Swan Hill.

ELLEN: Born circa 1861; Died 1948, Cavendish.

JOHN:  Born 1864, Cavendish; Died 1931, Cavendish.

AGNES: Born 1872, Cavendish; Died 1949, Hamilton.

 

I have searched records from Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales for the births of Margaret and Ellen with no success.  Yet on the their death records, they are the daughters of Charles Hadden and Agnes Dobson.  Also, the Probate Application at the time of  the death of Agnes, listed among her children are Margaret Cameron of Swan Hill and Ellen Hadden of Cavendish.   To find where they were born would help me find where they were for those 14 years.  They may well have been at Mokanger Station all that time.

The Hadden children were not really the marrying kind.  Of the six children, only two, my great great grandfather William and his sister Margaret, married.  William must have wanted to make up the numbers with he and wife Mary Mortimer having 10 children.  Margaret and her husband James had five children.  From the 15 grandchildren of Charles and Agnes,  I have found 47 great-grandchildren so far.

At 11.00am I will thank Charles and Agnes Hadden for deciding to leave Scotland to take the journey of a lifetime to come to Australia.  If they hadn’t, where would I be today?


William Hadden – Wealth for Toil – Australia Day 2012

I have made it just in time for in the Australia Day 2012 blog post.  Thanks to Shelly at Twigs of Yore, geneabloggers have the chance to share the occupation of an ancestor while considering the line “wealth for toil” from “Advance Australia Fair”.  The requirements are:

To participate, choose someone who lived in Australia (preferably one of your ancestors) and tell us how they toiled. Your post should include:

  1. What was their occupation?
  2. What information do you have about the individual’s work, or about the occupation in general?
  3. The story of the person, focusing on their occupation; or
    The story of the occupation, using the person as an example.

I love occupations.  The  first thing I look at on a census or electoral roll is my relative’s line of work.  Maybe it is just because I’m hoping for something other than a farmer.  So I jumped at the chance to share an occupation.   Of course I have plenty of farmers and large number of butchers, including my grandfather and two great grandfathers.  But they didn’t cut it for me.

Who were workers that fitted the “toil” definition?  I have already done a post on Jim Bishop, the drover who I do believe toiled against the elements and probably for little reward.  One definition of “toil” is to labour continuously.  Taking that into account there could be no other person to write about than station hand William Hadden, my gg grandfather.

William Hadden did not make monetary riches from his work, but he had the wealth of his family on whom his work depended and the knowledge that he was putting food on the table.

William was born in Haddington, East Lothian,  Scotland and immigrated with his parents, Charles and Agnes on the Marco Polo in 1854.  William would have been around 17 when he went to work at nearby Mokanger station with his father Charles.  That was the beginning of a love affair with the land and in particular Mokanger.

In 1870, he married Mokanger servant, Mary Mortimer at the station. They also lived at Mokanger and children were born there.  Mokanger was their life.  Except for Sundays, the day of rest.  That was the time to attend St John’s Presbyterian church at Cavendish, Williams other passion.

While sheep station work can be seasonal, William most likely had an ongoing job.  There is always plenty to do on a sheep property.  Lambing, marking lambs, shearing sheep, crutching sheep and dipping sheep!   Also at Mokanger, William’s father Charles Hadden worked as a boundary rider and father in law, James Mortimer was a ploughman, just two further examples of jobs on a large station.

William loved his work at Mokanger station so much, he was there into his eighties.  I am not sure if he was still in paid employment then, but he was there overseeing the dipping and crutching.  I think that qualifies as having toiled.

William’s value of hard work  and love of the land, was passed to his children, along with his quiet, unassuming nature.  Son John, also worked at Mokanger,  James worked at  Mt Sturgeon station and Henry worked at Mooralla station as a boundary rider.

My favourite story of fourth son, my great grandfather Thomas Hadden relates to work. Each Sunday during the 1920′s and 30′s, my great grandmother Sarah, would pack a week’s worth of food in a tin for Thomas to take away working on the roads.  This must have been incredibly hard work and having to leave the family for a week at a time, must have made it harder.  Likewise, Thomas and Sarah’s children, including my Nana, portrayed the same values and ethics as the Haddens before them.

Thomas Hadden, son of William Hadden

William Hadden was happy to work for a wage for so many years, but as I have mentioned, it put food on the table.  He was an honorable servant to the owners of Mokanger, first the Chirnside brothers and then the Gardiner family.

As long as I can remember, I have considered the hard-working  trait displayed by the Hadden family to be thanks to their Scottish heritage, something they were proud of.  I don’t know why that is but the following is an excerpt from an article on St Andrew’s Day, 1922, which supports my theory.

ST. ANDREW'S DAY. (1922, November 30). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 6. Retrieved January 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63739163

William Hadden probably enjoyed “Advance Australia Fair” penned by a Scot, P. J. McCormick.  Happy Australia Day!

Advance Australia Fair!. (1938, January 26). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2451050


The Horsham Times Goes Digital

(1891, January 6). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved November 23, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page7084926

It’s great to see issues of  The Horsham Times going online at Trove.  I was very happy when I immediately found articles about family members.  While I did have some family in Horsham, I have found a lot of articles about the Cavendish area which I am hoping will help with the Hadden and Mortimer families.

When fully released, issues available will cover the period 1882-1954.  This will be a great resource for researching the Western District.  There is more to look forward to.  New titles for the 2011-2012 financial year will include:

Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918)   NOW AVAILABLE

Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (1914-1918)  NOW AVAILABLE

Colac Herald (1914-1918) NOW AVAILABLE

Mildura Cultivator (1888-1920) NOW AVAILABLE

Warrnambool Standard (1914-1918) NOW AVAILABLE

If you haven’t visited Trove lately, these are the titles from Western Victoria already available:

The Ballarat Star (1865)

Camperdown Chronicle (1877-1954)

The Kerang Times (1889-1890)

Kerang Times & Swan Hill Gazette (1877-1889)

Portland Guardian (1876-1953)

Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (1842-1876)

The Star (Ballarat) 1855-1864

Happy reading!


Histories of South-West Towns

I often look at the ABC Local radio websites, but usually only a page a link has led me to.  Recently I found myself on the ABC South West Victoria website, and decided to look around.  I discovered a series of radio interviews by Jeremy Lee entitled A-Z of the South West.  Recorded in 2010, the aim was to highlight the history of towns in the region.  The good news is that there are 45 towns featured, not just 26.  The towns include Macarthur, Caramut, Port Campbell, Branxholme and Casterton.

They are great interviews with local residents and historians, some have lived in their town all their life.  Topics covered  include town beginnings, past businesses, local attractions, prominent residents and the future outlook. I enjoyed Jim Kent talking about Casterton and his own contribution to the local population, 11 children, 40 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.  There are photos of each town too.

An understanding of local history is important when researching a family. It can explain why a family chose to settle in a town.  For example, Peter Watt  talks of  how Cavendish was a town of workers.  Many residents, both male and female, worked for the large stations close to the town such as Mokanger and Kenilworth.  Aside from a sawmill,  a couple of shops and a pub, there was no other employment opportunities except for the stations.  Two of my families, the Haddens and Mortimers, went to Cavendish primarily to work  at Mokanger station and they remained there most of their working lives.

The various ABC websites are a great resource.  I have since looked closer at some of the other ABC local radio websites and found that you can search by topic.  Clicking on the  “Community & Society” tab brings up a list of sub-topics, including “History”.  ABC Western Victoria currently has 86 history related stories available.  I have also subscribed to a RSS feed of stories tagged “history” so I don’t miss any.  Or take 15 months to stumble across.

To listen to the interviews follow the link:

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/06/03/3234418.htm?site=southwestvic


All Quiet By The Wannon

I first heard of the Mortimers when I asked Nana her grandparents’ names so I could start a family tree.  Her grandmother was Mary Mortimer from Cavendish, Victoria on the banks of the Wannon river.  Mortimer was not a name I was familiar with while growing up in Hamilton or a name mentioned with regard to relatives, but I soon found Mary’s birth at Mt William, her parents James and Rosanna.  I also managed to find her siblings, but not without some searching as it seems that with each birth registered, the spelling of the Mortimers’ names changed particularly Rosanna’s.

I was trying to form a picture of them, but like the family Mary married into, the Haddens, they were not ones to get in the newspaper, commit crimes, buy land or all those other ways that can help tell a story.  Some of my other ancestors, such as the Harmans , seem to get a mention everywhere.  Both the Mortimers and the Haddens were labourers, station hands and the like and they worked hard and more to the point, they kept to themselves, a trait that continued through the generations.

WANNON RIVER

WANNON RIVER

James Mortimer married Rosanna Buckland in 1844 in Cookham, Berkshire.  They immigrated on the “Bombay” which arrived in Port Phillip in December 1852.  They had four children aged one to eight.  In total, 24 passengers died on the voyage, typhoid the most common cause.   The ship was quarantined on arrival.

VICTORIA. (1852, December 24). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 4. Retrieved September 25, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38459768

Mary was born at Mt William  in 1853, and the remaining children were born at Cavendish.   James worked at Mokanger Station near Cavendish and was a ploughman when Mary married William Hadden.   Mary also worked at Mokanger as a servant and William Hadden worked as a station hand as did his father, CharlesMokanger station was one of many runs owned by the Chirnside brothers , Andrew and Thomas.

The next reference I found of  James Mortimer was his death on November 3, 1895.  An application for probate was made by Cavendish store owner, Robert Young.  James’ occupation at the time of his death was a carrier and his total assets were  to the value of £86.

I don’t know if Rosanna was dead or alive at this point.  I have never been able to find a record of her death which has proved a little frustrating.  Even trying all variations of her name, and there were many, I have come up with nothing.

Some variations found so far:

Rosannah BUCKLANDEngland Births & Christenings, 1538-1975

Rosanna BUCKLAND – England/Wales Marriage Record 1844, Cookham, Berkshire, England

Roseanna MORTIMER – 1851 Census, White Waltham, Berkshire, England

Rosannah BUCKLEN – birth record of Harriet, 1862 Cavendish, Victoria.  Family name listed as Mortimore

Rosanna BUCKLIN – birth record of Henry, 1868 Cavendish, Victoria.  Family name listed as Mortimore

Rossana BUCKLIN – marriage certificate of Mary Mortimer and William Hadden 1870 Cavendish, Victoria.

Extract from Marriage Certificate of William Hadden & Mary Mortimer, Victoria 1870

Rosannah BUCKLAND – death record of Annie Mortimer, 1879

At the entrance of the Cavendish Old Cemetery, a plaque lists the names of those buried without a headstone.  Five Mortimer names are listed:

MORTIMER – 1895

MORTIMER, Baby of Mr H Mortimer – 1891

MORTIMER, W -  1889

Mrs MORTIMER  – 1898

Mrs MORTIMER -  1899

“Mortimer 1895″ would be James.  Could Rosanna be one of the Mrs Mortimers?  If so, it would have to be “Mrs Mortimer 1899″ as “Mrs Mortimer 1898″ would most likely be Caroline wife of Stephen Mortimer, Rosanna and James’ son.  Caroline died in 1898.

Just when I thought this was as exciting as the Mortimers were going to get, I found two newspaper articles.  The Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser reported on July 22, 1862 that John Mahoney had faced the Hamilton Police Court charged with firing a gun at bullock driver, James Mortimer with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.  On October 2, 1862, Mahoney’s trial was heard by His Honour Mr Justice Williams.

The court heard James Moritmer was a bullock driver for the Chirnsides.  Heading to a saw mill near Hamilton, he was passing through a public section of the Mt Sturgeon station when confronted by Mahoney.  Using what the prosecution described as “very colonial epithets”,  Mahoney accused James of removing a part of the fence.  James told him he was a fool, but Mahoney said he would make him fix the fence.  James reply was “…it would take a better man than you to do that”.  It was then that Mahoney produced a pistol and shot at James, missing him.  Mahoney was found not guilty.

These two articles have given me a better idea of James’ character and helped confirm his work for the Chirnsides.  Given his location at the time of the incident, and his intended destination,  he could not have come from Cavendish, but probably one of the Chirnsides’ other runs, Mt William Station.  Mary Mortimer’s birth certificate gives her birth place as Mt William, so this must mean the Mt William station.  Therefore James was there from 1852 to 1862.  Interestingly, the year of the Mahoney incident is the same year in which the Mortimers appear in Cavendish.  Maybe James decided to move across to the Chirnsides’ Mokanger station near Cavendish to avoid further run-in’s with John Mahoney.  We will never know.  He would not have told anyone.


The Fastest Ship in the World

On Boxing Day 1852, a clipper ship sailed into the port of Liverpool with a banner draped from its mast declaring it “The Fastest Ship in the World”.  The ship was the  New Brunswick built clipper “Marco Polo”.  The achievement, sailing from Liverpool to Melbourne and return in 175 days,  a world record at that time.  At the helm was Captain James Nicol “Bully” Forbes, a colourful and fearless character of the sea and a master of navigation.

Only five months before, 888 passengers, mostly emigrants, boarded the “Marco Polo” at Liverpool, England for the ship’s maiden voyage to Australia.  Of these,  661 were Scots, including my great, great, great grandfather Charles Hadden, his wife Agnes and sons, William and James.  They had made the journey from Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland to Liverpool,  to embark on a new life in Australia.  In the days before the voyage they would have been accommodated in the emigrant depot at Birkenhead before being loaded into the ship’s crowded  steerage.  The three decked ship was the largest at the time to sail to Australia and while it had rather plush fittings in some parts, for the emigrants conditions were poor.   The Haddens would have been accommodated amidships with the other families, in a small berth with little privacy.  With the firing of a cannon, the “Marco Polo” set sail on July 4, 1852 with Captain “Bully” Forbes intent on sailing to Australia and return in under six months.

Marco Polo Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

Forbes had charted a course which he was sure would cut the travel time, by way of the great circle route.  This would see the ship sail south down the east coast of South America, and then steering south-east of Cape Town toward Antarctica.  The path was as south as possible without getting too close to ice.  It was here Forbes caught the “Roaring Forties” winds travelling  East until he was able to head north into Bass Straight.  For the passengers, this meant enduring the extremes of weather.  As they passed through the Equator they would have felt incredible heat, and then freezing cold as they moved into the “Roaring Forties” and “Howling Fifties”.  Also disease, particularly measles was rife below deck.  The crowded conditions at the emigrant depot and then on the ship had seen its rapid spread.  Of the 327 children on board, 51 died along with two adults.

When the “Marco Polo” sailed into Port Phillip Bay on September 18, 1852  the Victorian Gold Rush was in full swing and Forbes’ greatest concern was keeping his crew on board the ship.  This was made more difficult when coming into dock, with boats surrounding the clipper and reportedly throwing small nuggets onto the decks.  Other ships’ captains had told of not being able to get crew no matter how high the wages offered.

ON TOM TIDDLER’S GROUND. (1932, November 9). Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909-1954), p. 13. Retrieved May 4, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41180687

Forty or so ships were causing a log jam  in Hobsons Bay.  Their crews had caught “gold fever” and had abandoned their posts.   So resolute  to return back to Liverpool quickly, Forbes had is own crew imprisoned for insubordination and when it was time to leave for England he paid their fines and returned them to the ship.  Despite his best efforts the time spent in port was 24 days, although without Forbes’ ingenuity it may have been longer.  Seventy-six days later the ship was sailing back up the Mersey, to dock at Liverpool, the world record journey complete.

The feat saw “Bully” Forbes retain the captaincy of the “Marco Polo” for another voyage to Australia in 1853 with 648 passengers, reduced from the previous voyage because of the learnt danger of overcrowding.    The ship was extensively renovated before the second voyage and was described at the time to be equal to a floating Crystal Palace.  The “Marco Polo” and Forbes brought over 1500 immigrants to Victoria in the two trips.  Forbes was then awarded the captaincy of the “Lightening” which he sailed to Australia in 1854.  From there he captained several other ships until his sea days ended in 1866.  He died in 1874 at only 52 years old but he had ensured his name would be remembered in maritime history.

The “Marco Polo” completed the round trip to Australia a total of 25 times in the 15 years after the first voyage with around 150,000 immigrants to Victoria.  From 1867, she was a cargo ship until 1883 when she was driven onto the shore at Prince Edward Island, Canada when found to be leaking badly during a cargo run.  A sad end for a ship that safely carried thousands of people to a new life in Australia.   In New Brunswick,  Canada, the “Marco Polo” is remembered proudly and The Marco Polo Project is overseeing the building of a replica ship. The “Marco Polo” is not as celebrated in Australia, but a large number of Australians today would have had ancestors arrive here thanks to the speedy clipper.

What of the Haddens?  Records show they left the Marco Polo at Hobsons Bay in September 1852 and made their own way to Melbourne, most likely to the Canvas Town in South Melbourne, a “tent city” for the thousands of  immigrants.  A son was born at “The Ruins” Mokanger Station near Cavendish in 1864 where they eventually settled.   But more about them later.

For further reading about the “Marco Polo” , the book Marco Polo  The Story of the Fastest Clipper by Martin J. Hollenberg (Chatham Press, London, 2006) has an extensive history of the ship.  Two interesting newspaper articles I found at the NLA’s Trove site,  also tell the story of both the Marco Polo and Captain “Bully” Forbes


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