Tag Archives: Couch

Passing of the Pioneers

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

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

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

GARVOC. (1914, December 5). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73556791

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

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

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

GEORGE CAMPBELL – Died November 1918 at Portland

(1918, November 25). Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved November 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88197935

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

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

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

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

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

Advertising. (1930, February 10). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64291549

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

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

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

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

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


Passing of the Pioneers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Centenarian’s Recollections. (1910, May 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73125828

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

INTERESTING CENTENARIAN. (1915, July 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77776418

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

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

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PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1920, August 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved August 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73177733

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

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

TOM SKEYHILL. (1932, May 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 16. Retrieved August 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16866051

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

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

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

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

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

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


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