Tag Archives: Clarke

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

Once again an interesting band of Western Victorian pioneers were found in newspaper obituaries from February.  There is a tightrope walker, philanthropist, a motor car pioneer and several hardy pioneer women.  It continues to amaze me the lives the pioneers lived.  I mean, who could imagine a tightrope walker living in Portland in the 19th century, in fact at anytime!

Thomas STODDART -  Died February 20, 1905,  Ballarat.  When next in Ballarat admiring the many statues in Sturt Street and the Botanical Gardens, thank Thomas Stoddart.   He was responsible for getting the ball rolling for leading Ballarat identities to give statues or money towards statues, to the city.  From digger to stock broker, Stoddart donated 12 statues to the city of  Ballarat in 1884 after a trip to Europe.  This act of philanthropy saw some of Ballarat’s other wealthy citizens  bequeath money to fund more statues.  In fact,  John Permewan who featured in December Passing of the Pioneers donated the well know “Hebe” which stands in Sturt Street.   As well as the obituary from the “Horsham Times” a lengthier obituary appeared in The Argus on February 21.

“FLORA”

“POMONA”

John COFFEY   -  Died February 9, 1908, Melbourne.  John Coffey was born in Limerick, Ireland and came to Australia with his brother in the 1860s.    He first went to the Wimmera while carting between Melbourne and the Wimmera. Making a permanent home there, he worked as a farmer and a hotel keeper .  He left a wife, Catherine Almond, five daughters and three sons.

Thomas HENNESSY  - Died February 19, 1908, Horsham.  Thomas Hennessy arrived in Victoria in 1859 aboard the “Royal Charter” from Limerick, Ireland.  He began farming around Koroit, lost a leg, and moved to the Pimpinio district where he farmed for many years.  An accident prior to his death, contributed to his demise.

James DAVIDSON  – Died February 12, 1913, Narrawong.  James Davidson, born at Narrawong, was described as a “good all-round citizen” in his obituary.  He was involved in the mounted rifles and athletics.

Mrs Thomas LANG – Died February 14, 1914, Hawthorn, Victoria.  Born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1920 she arrived on the “Star of the East” in 1855.  Her husband Thomas was a well-known horticulturist in the late 19th century.   Mrs Lang was a principal of a girls’ school for a time.

Mrs Mary Ann LINDON – Died February 15, 1915, Willaura, Victoria.  Born in Buckinghamshire, England, she came to Victoria in her 20s during  the 1850s.  She worked at Golf Hill Station at Shelford for George Russell, before moving to Sandford where she married William Lindon.  Mary Ann lived at Willaura with her daughter for the last 10 years of her life.

Edward Harewood  LASCELLES -  Died February 12, 1917, Geelong.  Lascelles is a well-known name in WesternVictoria.  Not only does his name form part of the Geelong wool broking firm Denneys Lascelles & Co, the town of Lascelles  in the Mallee was named after him.  Edward Lascelles was born in Tasmania in 1847, married Ethel Denney and they had six children.  He was a leader in vermin extermination on his property in the Mallee and was the first to introduce share farming in Victoria.

Mrs John WHITEHEAD  – Died February, 1918, Dandenong, Victoria.  Mrs Whitehead arrived in Victoria with her widowed mother in 1863.  The following year she married journalist, Mr Dudeney, who had gone to Ballarat to report on the Eureka Stockade riots.  Only after a few years of marriage, Mr Dudeney passed away and she married John Whitehead a worker at the Ballarat Post Office and later the GPO in Melbourne

Mrs Martha PHILLIPS  – Died February 14, 1918, Buninyong.  Martha Phillips was a colonist of 64 years, arriving in Victoria to join her husband on the goldfields of Ballarat.  Mrs Phillips enjoyed telling stories of the goldrush days.

OBITUARY. (1918, February 18). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75176846

Mrs Robert CLARKE  – Died February 18, 1920, Bondi, N.S.W.  Mrs Clarke, her husband Robert and four children sailed for Australia in 1857.  One child, Agnes died during the journey.  At the time of their arrival the train line to Horsham was under construction, so the family took a coach to Stawell, then bullock wagon to Horsham.  She was one of the many pioneer women who coped under tough conditions.

Obituary. (1920, February 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73190179

William HANLON  – Died February 19, 1923,  Portland.  William Hanlon was the mayor of Portland 11 times.  His interests within the municipality included President of the Portland Free Library.

William ROBERTSON  – Died February 2, 1924, Portland.  A colonist of 77 years, William Robertson arrived in Portland as a five-year old with his parents.  He had travelled to New Guinea and Western Australia as well one time riding in the Great Western Steeplechase at Coleraine.

Charles Francis PATTERSON  – Died February 17, 1933, Portland.  Charles was born in Portland in 1857 and spent some time in Western Australia on the railways.  It was there he met his future wife and after marriage, they returned to Portland to raise 10 children.  Charles was a popular figure around the town and he worked in the fish distribution business.

Alfred Irvine HOGAN  – Died February 8, 1934, Portland.  From tightrope walker to sawmiller, Alfred Hogan was an interesting chap.  Arriving in Portland as a young man, he gained notoriety as a tightrope walker performing daredevil tricks in the mould of “Blondin” the French tightrope walker.  Age must have caught up with his tightrope walking feats and he turned to sawmilling, with his obituary crediting him as a pioneer of sawmilling in the Portland district, an industry which became one of the biggest in the area.  Alfred also had a keen interest in Australian Rules football and was one of the people behind the development of Hanlon Park, which is still home to the Portland Football Club today.

Mary Jane SPIKEN  – Died February, 1934, Warrnambool.  Mary Jane Spiken’s mother Anna Harland arrived in Victoria with members of the Henty family.   Anna married John George Spiken with Mary Jane born around 1861 at the Henty homestead.  Mary Jane married William Jenkins and they had seven children.  She was a wealth of knowledge on the early days of Portland.

Fanny Ann MALSEED  – Died February 13, 1936, Myamyn.  Fanny Ann was the daughter of James and Eliza Malseed of Mount Richmond.  She married Thomas Edmund Adamson around 1886 and they raised eight children.

Richard YOUNG – Died February 16, 1939, Horsham.  Richard was born at Clunes and moved to Horsham with his parents as a 10-year-old.  He married Isabella Anderson and they raised a large family.  Richard was a keen footballer and  played for United Traders football club.  He was a founding member of the Horsham Football Club and was an active member of the local fire brigade.

Walter Birmingham EDGAR  – Died February 22, 1939, Portland.  Walter Edgar was born at Pine Hills Station at Harrow in 1856.  Educated at Hamilton College, he achieved the double honor of dux of the college and athletic champion.  Despite studying civil engineering  at Melbourne University, he returned to Pine Hills to take up agriculture pursuits.  In 1882 he married Jessie Swan of Konongwootong.  In the years before his death, Walter toured England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden with his daughter.  In his younger days, Walter was something of a cricketer and golfer.  He and his father played some part in the Aboriginal cricket team touring England in 1867.  The team included Johnny Mullagh who Walter often played cricket with.

Obituary. (1939, February 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64391911

Ann NIVEN  – Died February 24, 1942, Coleraine.  Ann Niven’s came to Australia at five, but without her parents.  They arrived at a later date, but until then Ann was under the guardianship of Mr and Mrs Christorphen.  They lived where Balmoral now stands, but then it was only bush.  She married William Bird, living at Wombelano and then for the last 32 years of her life, at Coleraine.  Mrs Bird was the mother of 11 children.

Mr Patrick HENRY – Died February 1942, Terang.  Patrick Henry, with his parents, settled in the Woodford area upon their arrival in Australia in 1866.  He began driving bullock wagons as a teenager and worked in that occupation until he was 86.  When he finally retired, it was thought he was the oldest bullock wagon driver in the Western District.

Thomas Turner SHAW Died February 1, 1949, Beaumaris, Victoria.  Thomas Shaw was a not only a pioneer of fine merino wool production but also motoring in Victoria.  He drove one of the first steam cars and was also a founding member of the Royal Auto Club (RACV).


Passing of the Pioneers

This is the fourth “Passing of the Pioneers” and includes a chess champion who lived in Merino and plenty of Irish influence.  They highlight some of the pioneers of Victoria’s Western District by way of their obituaries as published in The Portland Guardian.  If you would like to read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name.

Mrs J. HAY  – Died October 4, 1888, Portland.  This obituary demonstrates the tone of many at the time.

OBITUARY. (1888, October 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63590480

George BEVAN – Died October 17, 1888, Portland.  George owned and died at the London Hotel in Portland.  His family notice shows he was born in Somerset, England and was 59 at the time of death.  George had been in Portland since the early 1860s and was a keen sportsman and former Town Councillor.

Mrs Mary EGAN – Died October 1912, Greenwald.  Mary Egan was 86 at the time of her death and had lived in Victoria for 60 years.  She originally went to Tasmania from Ireland with her parents as a small child.  Mary married Francis Egan who had passed away 30 years earlier.

W. S. P. LEWIS – Died October 4, 1915, Hamilton.  William Sudgen Price Lewis was the step son of Richard Lewis, a former owner of “Rifle Downs” at Digby.  Born in Tasmania in 1835, William and his brother came to live with Richard Lewis when Richard and their mother married in 1841.  In adult life, William leased “Hilgay” station for a time, bred fine livestock and was a member of several racing clubs.  He later retired to Hamilton.

John H. ROW- Died October 27, 1926, Portland.  Mr Row was a Portland jeweller.

Advertising. (1879, March 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNINGS.. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63341984

John McDONNELL – Died October 17, 1930, Moree.  Mr McDonnell was originally from Ireland and arrived in Australia in 1863 via Liverpool.  He was considered one of the oldest people in the district.  He married Catherine FAHEY and they selected land at Moree in 1865.

Catherine Bridget SAMPEY – Died October, 1933, Melbourne.  Catherine Sampey arrived in Melbourne, from Ireland aboard the “Red Jacket” in 1852.    She travelled on to Chetwynd with her brother James Sampey and she later married Patrick WHITE of Casterton.

Mrs Elizabeth GLOVER – Died October 12, 1933, Casterton.  Elizabeth Glover was 100 when she died.  Arriving from Ireland aboard the “Frances Henty” at age 21, 79 years before, she was still able to converse in Welsh and Gaelic in her later years.

Mrs J. T. SUTTON – Died October, 1934, Portland.  Born in Tipperary, Ireland but remembered as “a true type of  a fine old English lady”, Mrs Sutton arrived in Australia as a six year old in the mid 1850s.  She married Frances Sutton in 1874 and together they had six daughters and two sons.

Ernest John SEALEY – Died October 25, 1935, Casterton.  In his younger years Ernest Sealey worked as a bullock driver transporting wool.  In later worked on Portland’s deep-water pier, hauling logs from the forests to the pier.

Charles PRATT – Died October 26, 1935, Birchip.

Obituary. (1935, November 4). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64290777

And so begins the obituary of Charles Pratt.  Charles or Charley has he was widely known, was born at Mumbannar in 1870.  In 1891, he went to Beulah in the Mallee and worked with his step brother and later selected his own land near Watchupga.  He married Annie LAVERY in 1914 and they had three sons.

Thomas Denton CLARKE – Died October 5, 1937, Hamilton.  Thomas, born around 1847 at Liverpool,  was the son on Captain Thomas H. Clarke who was a trader in Portland.  Thomas jnr was a champion chess player and a composer of chess problems.  He won many competitions for both pursuits.  Composing problems up until his death, it was considered probable, according to the obituary, that he was the world’s oldest composer.

Mr James McCLUSKEY – Died October, 1942, Koroit.  James McCluskey was born at Portland in 1857, not long after the arrival of his parents on the ship, “British Empire“.  Soon after, the family travelled by bullock wagon to Kirkstall near Warrnambool.  In his early working life, he drove pigs to Port Fairy in order to load them on the steamer “Casino” to go to market in Melbourne.

Mary PRATT- Died October 7, 1942, Greenwald.  Mary, the widow of George COWLAND, was 87 at the time or her death.  There were 12 children in their family.  Her obituary recalled her pioneering traits.

OBITUARY. (1942, October 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382483


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