Tag Archives: Chequer

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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259147

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

November sees more interesting obituaries from the “Portland Guardian“.  The “Horsham Times” is now available at Trove, so I have included obituaries from that paper.

Read about a long time manager of “Burswood”, the Henty homestead, a man who grew new teeth at 80 and two women who lived in the same houses for over 60 years.

Benjamin EDRICH – Died November 18, 1887, Portland.  The “Portland Guardian” reported at the time of Benjamin EDRICH’s death that another resident “had been removed by the hand of the Grim Destroyer”.  Benjamin had been in the hotel business for many years.

George BUSH – Died November 18, 1909, Portland.  George BUSH arrived in Portland in 1853 in his early twenties.  A seaman, George was instrumental in rescuing  passengers from the wreck of the “Jane” at Bridgewater some years later.

Peter GOLDSMITH – Died November 23, 1909, Portland.  Peter GOLDSMITH arrived in Portland in 1853 aboard the “Cornelius” captained by Thomas H. CLARKE. Clarke’s son Thomas Denton CLARKE was mentioned in the October Passing of the Pioneers.  Four months after his arrival Peter GOLDSMITH married Miss BLAY and they had nine children.  He was 85 at the time of his death.

Michael TOBIN – Died November 13, 1916, Murtoa.  The “Horsham Times” reported the death of Michael Tobin, a Justice of the Peace and former Councillor with the Dunmunkle Shire.  Michael arrived at Geelong in 1853, with his parents from Kilkenny, Ireland.  He worked with his father who ran a carrying business to the diggings.  Michael later lived in the Warrnambool area where he married Mary CLUNE.  In 1872, Michael was one of the first settlers in the Wimmera.

Obituary. (1916, November 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72983888

George JARRATT – Died November 1919, Portland.  George JARRATT arrived in 1848 to Portland and married soon after.  He and his wife, a daughter of Thomas KEAN, had 12 children.

Rose Genevive McCRYSTAL – Died November 8, 1920, Caulfield.  Rose McCRYSTAL, was the daughter of well-known Portland resident Pat McCrystal.  She married W. PEARSON, and moved to Hamilton.  After her husband was killed in a buggy accident, she moved back to Portland where she married Antonio RIZZO in 1891.  They later returned to Hamilton.

William POLAND – Died November 20, 1922, Portland.  William POLAND arrived in Portland in 1856.  He met Edward HENTY and acquired the position of manager of “Burswood”, the Henty’s original homestead.  William held the position for 25 years.

“HOME, SWEET HOME.”. (1934, November 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287315

Mrs ROW – Died November 3, 1923, Portland. I enlarged this obituary to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

OBITUARY. (1923, November 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64103714

Mrs Row was 94 when she died in 1923, however the obituary reads she arrived in Portland in 1836 as a married woman!  I think this may have been a typo.

Mrs Isabella ROBB – Died November 8, 1927, Portland.  Mrs ROBB managed to pass Mrs ROW (above) for the longest time in one house.  She lived in the same house for 65 years.  Originally from Scotland, Isabella arrived in Portland aboard the “Indian Ocean” in 1854 with her husband William.  She was 96 when she died and left seven children, 23 grandchildren, 29 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild.  She was buried at the North Portland Cemetery.

Sarah MILLARD  – Died November 10, 1927, Paschendale.  Sarah MILLARD was the daughter of William MILLARD of Narrawong.  She married William Henry ANNETT in 1870 and they 10 children, eight sons and two daughters.  William or Henry as he was known was also known as the “Father of Wallacedale”.  He died only weeks earlier than Sarah on September 29.  Unfortunately I missed his obituary for the September Passing of the Pioneers, as it appeared in an October issue, but it will definitely appear in September 2012.  Henry’s obituary is one of the best I have read, and what a life he led, especially before he married Sarah.  If you can wait until next year, this is the link:  Obituary of William Henry Annett.  I also spent too much time trying to find a link between Sarah MILLARD and William MILLARD, the winner of the first Stawell Gift.  He may have been Sarah’s brother, but there were a lot of Millards.  Research for another time.

Mrs Agnes CHEQUER – Died November 10, 1942, Horsham.  Agnes CHEQUER arrived in Brisbane with her new husband Ralph in 1886 aboard the “Roma“, having married in their home country of Scotland before departing.  Over the years they spent time in Melbourne, Portland and Quantong.  At Quantong, the CHEQUERS cleared the land and planted orchards and for thirty years Agnes helped Ralph with the orchard work.  One memorable events in the CHEQUERS was in 1911 when they travelled to England for the coronation of King George V.

James COLES – Died November 18, 1944, Stawell.  James COLES was born in the mid 1850s close to the Melbourne GPO.  After time in Avoca, James moved to Stawell as a teenager, later to marry Louisa GILHAM.  He remained in Stawell until his death at 91, aside from a short stint at nearby Fyans Creek.

Thomas THOMPSON – Died November 17, 1945, Portland.  Thomas THOMPSON from Ireland, began his time in Australia in Western Australia as a miner.  Unsuccessful he headed to Victoria and the Portland district.

OBITUARY. (1945, November 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64406000

Annie KERR – Died November 1947, Portland.  Annie KERR was the daughter of early Portland residents, her father a doctor.  Interesting that he had not practiced before his arrival in Portland!  Annie went on to marry John NEWTON.

J.L.R.BAKER – Died November 27, 1950, Hamilton.  J.L.R.BAKER appears to have been a single gentleman who enjoyed tennis and summer trips to Portland.  The obituary reported he was known throughout the Commonwealth for his calligraphy skill.

Carl Frederick Wilhelm PULS – Died November 12, 1953, Lower Norton.  Carl PULS had many claims to fame, but one was his ability to grow new teeth at the age of 80.  Carl was a respected pioneer of the Horsham district and was sadly found dead by his car after a trip to gather wood.

John BERRY – Died November 12, 1953, Horsham.  John BERRY’S death came on the same day as Carl ULS (above).  The BERRY family were pioneers in the Blackheath district, north of Horsham.  They later moved to Horsham and John attended the Horsham State School.  John married Ethel KNIPE of Ballarat and worked at Horsham car dealer Wilson Bolton for over 40 years.  He held one of the first driving licenses in Victoria, but had driven previous to that, in a time when a licences was not required…scary.  I noted that John had a brother James from Hamilton.  This may have been the same James BERRY of James Berry & Sons Jewellers , a long established business in Hamilton when I was growing up there in the 1970s and 80s.


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