Tag Archives: Cowland

Passing of the Pioneers

If you have read my last post, A Pleasant Distraction, you will understand why October Passing of the Pioneers just got in by the skin of its teeth.  Thankfully I had the bones of the post done before “Hamilton Fever” took hold.  This month there are the obituaries of a bricklayer, a Gaelic preacher, a disgraced crewman from the General Hewitt and a member of the Henty family.

David HUTTON – Died October 9, 1875 at Mount Rouse.  David Hutton was born in Greenock, Scotland around 1809.  He was an engineer by trade, and left Scotland in 1833 for Hobart to follow his brothers.  One brother, William,  saw opportunities in the new colony of Victoria, and David later followed, arriving at Portland in around 1844.  He took out a lease on land at Mount Rouse and established Cheviot Hills.   David Hutton was a foundation member of the Mt. Rouse Board and served for seven years.  A Presbyterian, he was one of those behind the building of a church at Penshurst.  He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery with other members of his family.   Hutton street in Penshurst is named after David Hutton.  Another obituary, published  in The Mercury of Hobart, has more on David’s story

Ewan McDONALD – Died October 13, 1891 at Warrion.  Ewan McDonald was born around 1808 and first went to the Colac district when he settled on land at Dreeite around 1866.  Ewan was a Presbyterian and at one time gave services at the Larpent Presbyterian Church in Gaelic.

John H. DUNN – Died October 29, 1914 at Hamilton. John Dunn was born in Geelong around 1860 and arrived in Hamilton, with his parents, two years later.  Like his father, John was a bricklayer and together they built some of Hamilton’s larger buildings.  A search for Dunn’s bricklayers found a reference on the Victorian Heritage Database.  The home mentioned, in the Church Hill area of Hamilton is well-known to me and was built by William Dunn, when John was still a baby,  In later life, John was a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites and the Methodist Church.  He married Miss H. Luxton of Macarthur and they had nine children.

James DUNCAN – Died October 8, 1916 at Balmoral.  James Duncan was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1837 and he arrived on the Flora McDonald to Portland in 1855.  He went to Rocklands, near Balmoral, working as a shepherd.  He left the district for Serpentine before returning to Glendinning station as overseer.  He later took up the carpentry trade in Balmoral.  He married Emily Rogers in 1876 and they had six children.

Elizabeth LEAHY – Died October 15. 1916 at Cavendish.  Elizabeth Leahy was born in Adelaide around 1849.  Her family came to Victoria to the goldfields of Bendigo and Ballarat, before returning to South Australia, taking up residence at Mt. Gambier.  Elizabeth later moved to Lake Bolac and met her future husband, J.H Wallis.  They married at Ararat.  The couple farmed in the Wimmera, moved back to Ararat before settling at Mooralla around 1910.

Samuel BROWNLAW – Died October 13, 1917 at Tyrendarra.  Samuel Brownlaw and his wife, Mary Ann Speechly, arrived on the Severn to Portland in 1856.  They first went to Yambuk, before settling at Tyrendarra were they remained.  In 1875, Samuel donated land for the Tyrendarra School.  Samuel left three sons and three daughters at the time of his death.

John Stevens ANDREW aka John FORSTER – Died October 5, 1918 at Merino Downs.  I have touched upon the obituary of John Andrew/Forster before, in the post The General Hewitt.  John’s obituary gave me some clues to the names of the crew members that caused unrest during the voyage and those that deserted.  John was one of those crew members, explaining his alias.  Unfortunately his obituary speaks of nothing else but that voyage that hung over his head, even after death,

Christina McGREGOR – Died October 1925 at Hamilton.  Christina McGregor was born in Inverness, Scotland around 1835. and arrived in Melbourne around 1847 on The Indian.  Aboard the schooner The Wave, Christina travelled to Portland.  Her next destination, on horseback, was to “Satimer Estate” near Casterton, owned by her uncle Alexander Davidson.   Station life must not have been proper for a young lady as Christina returned to Portland to attend the ladies school run by the Misses Allison.  It was in Portland she met her future husband Archibald McDonald, from Condah, where they remained for the rest of the lives.

Phillip Henry THEISINGER – Died October 1942 at Portland.  Geelong native, Phillip Theisinger, moved to Portland as a small child and remained there for the rest of his life.  He worked as a storeman and was a secretary of the Portland Waterside Worker’s Union.  Phillip was also a member of the Portland Citizen’s Band for 45 years and was a member of the Portland Masonic Lodge.  He married Sarah Ann Surrey and they had 12 children, but only three still survived at the time of Phillip’s death.

Henry COWLAND - Died October 21, 1942 at Portland.  Henry Cowland was born in Brixton around 1847.  He arrived with his parent to Portland aboard the Severn in 1856.  He attended the Butler’s School in Portland until he was 12 and then he obtained work as a contractor at Sandford.  He also worked as a fencer and a carrier, carting sleepers for the railway line between Hamilton and Portland.

HENRY COWLAND.  OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382636

HENRY COWLAND. OBITUARY. (1942, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382636

Annie DAWKINS – Died October 2, 1942 at.  Annie Dawkins was born at Glencoe, South Australia around 1866 and travelled to Victoria as a girl with her parents and they settled near Condah.  Annie married Henry Dyer Rundell at Condah in 1890.  She was a supporter of the Red Cross and did her bit during the two World Wars.  She left a family of five children,

Agnes Cecil HENTY – Died October 30, 1945 at Nelson, New Zealand.  Agnes Cecil Henty was the 6th daughter of Stephen and Jane Henty and she was born at Portland in 1850.  In 1877, she married Edward Stafford Coster in New Zealand and they resided at Canterbury on the South island. Twenty-five years later Agnes and family moved to Nelson and she remained there until her death aged 95.

Robert Henry HOLLIS – Died October 1946 at Portland.  Robert Hollis was born in Tarragal around 1863.  His parents moved to Gorae when Robert’s father began work as a stockman for the Henty’s.  After some time working as a butcher, Robert turned to farming and at the time of his death he “had a fine dairy farm and orchard property”.


Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers includes members of some of Western Victoria’s well-known pioneering families including Bell, Learmonth, Trigger, Kittson and Coulson.  There is also the great character of Thomas Tattersall of Ararat, a train driving pioneer.

Edwin CUMMINGS:  Died April 2, 1892 at Portland.  Edwin Cummings, originally from Tasmania, had only been in Portland around 16 years but in that time he worked hard to improve his lot.  On his arrival in Portland he ran a successful saw-milling/cabinet making business.  Edwin then moved to farming pursuits.  Using modern farming methods, he was able to improve his holding.  Edwin also lost several adult children to consumption.

Thomas TATTERSALL:  Died April 24, 1894 at Ararat.  Lancashire born Thomas Tattersall died from fish poisoning on his birthday.  He was a pioneering engine driver and his death was recognised by the  Governor of Victoria who sent a telegram of condolence to the Ararat railway station.  Thomas drove the first train from Melbourne to Bendigo and was one of the first drivers to Portland.  He had also driven the train for many dignitaries including the Governor and the Premier of Victoria.

Thomas BROWN:  Died April 1903 at Hamilton.  Thomas Brown went to Hamilton with his parents, after their arrival in Victoria from Scotland in 1852.   Thomas was an elder of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and a long time member of the Sons of Temperance and was also involved with other temperance movements.  Active in many charities, his obituary noted that the poor of Hamilton had lost a friend in Thomas Brown.

Alfred COWLAND:  Died April 27, 1908 at Casterton.  Alfred Cowland was born in Kent, England and arrived in Victoria around 1858 aged 22.  He travelled with his parents, and Alfred and his father began farming at Greenwalde.  Alfred married the widow of Fred Spencer, but they did not have any children.

Mrs W.H. OSMOND:  Died April 8, 1915 at Port Fairy.  Mrs Osmond’s husband Harry was a partner in Osmond Bros., hotel keepers and butchers.  Mrs Osmond was hostess at the Market Hotel, Port Fairy, and considered  a most popular landlady in the Western District and if the races where on, she was there.

Thomas Ferry PEARSON:  Died April 24, 1915 at Port Fairy.  Thomas Pearson was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England and arrived in Portland in 1852.  He married Jane Strachan there before moving to Port Fairy in 1855.  He went to work on the pilot boats under Captain Mills and then for 13 years was keeper of the Griffiths Island lighthouse.

Francis Stubbs COULSON:  Died April 10, 1916 at Hamilton.  Francis Coulson was the husband of my gg aunt Harriet Martha Diwell.  He was the son of Christopher Coulson and Mary Frances Stubbs and was born in Yorkshire, England in 1842.  He married Harriet in 1873 and they had 13 children.  Francis ran a carrying business between Portland and the inland towns.  He also farmed at “Rosebank” Dwyers Creek and hard work saw him turn it into a “nice property”.

Mrs DIGBY:  Died April 23, 1918 at Port Fairy.  Mrs Digby was born in Somersetshire, England and arrived in Victoria in 1852.  Soon after she married Joseph Digby.  They had a large family of nine sons and daughters.  She was 88 at the time of her death.

Kate CUE:  Died April 23, 1917 at Port Fairy.  Kate Cue was from the Casterton district.  Her brother  Tom Cue, a miner, had the town Cue, Western Australia named after him.  She married William Sutherland McPherson of “Nangeela” station, Casterton.  They took up residence in Port Fairy and had seven children.

James MAHONEY:  Died April 27, 1918 at Port Fairy.  James Mahoney of Killarny was a member of one of the oldest families in the district.  He was the son of Mrs Quirk and had three brothers and a sister living at the time of his death aged 69.  James had travelled extensively throughout Australia and never married.

James BELL:  Died April 1923 at Mt. Eckersley.   James Bell was a member of the well known Bell family of Mt Eckersley near Heywood.  James, his parents and siblings arrived in Victoria in 1841 and they settled at Mt Eckersley.  James was the last surviving member of the original family known for their longevity.  James was 97 at the time of his death and his father John Bell lived to 101.

Jonathan HARMAN:  Died April 1930 at Heywood.  Jonathan Harman, my ggg uncle was also from a family known for longevity. He died at the home of his daughter, Amelia, wife of the nephew of James Bell (above).  Jonathan was 92 years old and a colonist of 76 years.

Kate Isabella HILL:  Died April 1934 at Wodonga.  Kate Hill was the daughter of John and Isabella Hill of West Portland.  She was better known as “Kitty Hill” and her and sister Lizzie were household names in their early days.  John Hill was a local school teacher.  Kitty married William Smith of Wodonga and was 75 years old when she died.

Alexander MOTT:  Died April 12, 1934 at Casterton.  Alexander was born in Millicent, South Australia and went to the Casterton district in the early 1900s.  He farmed at Carapook and Bahgallah before settling in the Casterton township.  His wife predeceased him and he left seven sons and daughters.

Mary Simpson LEARMONTH:  Died April 2, 1939 at Hamilton.  Mary Learmonth was from one well-known Hamilton family and married into another when she wed David Laidlaw.  Mary was the daughter of Peter Learmonth of “Prestonholme” Hamilton.   David’s father was David Laidlaw, a saddler who arrived in Hamilton with no money and become one of the town’s most prominent citizens.

Mary was quite the sportswoman and was 17 times female champion of the Hamilton Golf Club.  This was according to her obituary in the Portland Guardian however her obituary in The Argus of April 4, 1939 states she was club champion 39 times.   She was also a talented tennis and croquet player.  Other than sport, Mary was president of the Australian  Women’s National League prior to her death and was a member of the Hamilton Horticulture Society.

Mary died at her home “Eildon” on the corner of Thompson and French Street Hamilton.  Everyone who has lived in Hamilton will know the Laidlaw’s former home, just on the edge of the CBD and overlooking the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.  The house, designed by Ussher and Kemp, was sold after Mary’s death to the Napier Club, a club formed by the female counterparts of the Hamilton Club.  The club, formed around 1931, still occupies “Eildon” today.

"Eildon", Hamilton

“Eildon”, Hamilton

Alice M. WYATT:  Died April 23, 1940 at Hamilton.  Alice Wyatt, the daughter of Mr and Mrs T.L. Wyatt, spent her childhood in Portland before moving to Hamilton around 1878 when she was 20.  She did spend some time in Melbourne working for Sir Edward Miller and his wife Lady Mary Miller.  Sir Edward was a politician who made his money in finance and pastoral pursuits.  Alice spent the last 25 years of her life in Hamilton.

Irwin BELL:  Died April 1940 at Hamilton.  Irwin Bell of Dartmoor was a son of James Bell (above).  Irwin was born in Portland around 1874 and lived at Mt Eckersley until the Bell family property was sold.  He married Ann Letts of Heywood and together they led a life dedicated to the Church of England.  They established the first Sunday School at Dartmoor and prepared parishioners for their first communion.  Irwin also worked for the Department of Forestry and in later years was a Justice of the Peace.  He died at KiaOra Hospital in Hamilton and was buried at Heywood cemetery.

James TRIGGER:  Died April 25, 1945 at Macarthur. James Trigger was the son of Samuel and Eliza Trigger of Warrabkook near Macarthur.  Born in 1859, James selected land at Mt Eccles at a young age and he farmed there for the duration of his life.

OBITUARY. (1945, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404393

OBITUARY. (1945, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404393

James was interested in horse racing and was an owner of a number of horses.  He left a widow and a son and daughter.

Mr R.S. KITTSON:  Died April 8, 1948 at Lower Cape Bridgewater.  Stephen Kittson was the son of James Kittson and Catherine Trotter and the last surviving member of the first family of Kittsons to arrive at Cape Bridgewater.  A deeply religious man, he was involved in many church activities.  Having had two sons serve in WW1, Stephen showed an interest in returned servicemen and with his passing “ex-servicemen have lost a loyal friend”

Mary Ann ALLSOP:  Died April 10, 1953 at Port Campbell.  Mary Ann was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Samuel Allsop, pioneers of the Port Campbell district.  She married Thomas Wiggens at Purrumbete.  After the death of Thomas, Mary Ann moved to Camperdown.  She left one son and three daughters and was buried at the Camperdown cemetery.


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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