Tag Archives: Diwell

Witness for the Prosecution – New Findings

I love it when my ancestors find their voice and through their own words give something of their personalities.  Obviously their voice is not audible, but through Letters to the Editors, wills or even as witnesses for an inquest, it is then easier to imagine them speaking.

In my post Witness for the Prosecution, I told of ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Turner, married to William Diwell, and her experience as a witness in a murder trial in 1860 at Casterton. Previous newspaper reports had only mentioned her role, but an extensive report of the trial in the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser of April 20, 1860 brings Margaret to life as she describes her conversations to the defendant, George Waines, prior to his arrest.  Of course give consideration to the abilities of the person recording the events.

This article tells me a lot about my ggg grandparents.  It reconfirmed they were in Casterton in 1859 and Margaret said they were residing in a hut owned by Mr Hunt.  Also, Margaret must have been good friends with Mrs Waines spending a lot of time at their house, including dining there on occasions.  She makes no mention of William or the six children.

CIRCUIT COURT. (1860, April 20). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved November 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65443361

More revelations.  George Waines dropped his wife off at Margaret’s hut one night.  Mrs Waines then stayed a further two nights, with George returning each night to take Mrs Waines away.  Margaret stated she left on June 15th, 1859 because she couldn’t bear to see Mrs Waines put through such torment.  So did Margaret leave her own hut and if so, where did she go?  Once again where were William and the six children?   One would think if William was around during these events, he too would have been called as a witness. William was a bricklayer and worked in surrounding towns, so this may explain his apparent absence.

Notice too that Margaret describes the Waines’ abode as a “house”, but the Diwells and Hunts lived in huts.  They were most likely slab huts like the one below.

Sutherland, Alexander, [Slab hut with bark roof ca. 1870-ca. 1880] Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://digital.slv.vic.gov.au/view/action/nmets.do?DOCCHOICE=353791.xml&dvs=1352638571965~542&locale=en_US&search_terms=&adjacency=&usePid1=true&usePid2=true

The Waines lived in a “house’ so it may have been  more substantial like the one below, or perhaps larger if George Waines’ aspirations were any indication.

“Family in front of their house on cleared land somewhere in Victoria”
F. J. Stubbs & Co. Photographer [ca. 1858-ca. 1908] Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/73293

Another thing that caught my attention was Margaret’s mention of a sister from Portland.  That sent me scurrying to the records as I have never found any of Margaret’s siblings and I would have thought they were back in Surrey.  A quick search of 1841 UK Census records (again) and the Australian Death Index gave me nothing, but I will keep searching.  Or was it just a ruse by Margaret to throw Waines off his interest in her mail.

It is sometimes difficult not to think of ggg grandparents as anything but old.  Reading this latest find has reminded me that Margaret was only 36 during the events leading up to the trial which has also reminded me that Margaret lived for only another nine years after the trial.  She was 45 when she died, only a little older than myself.  Margaret never became the old woman I must stop myself imagining her as.

There has also been another development in my family’s association with the Hunt murders.   Another descendant of my ggg grandfather George Jelly contacted me recently.  George’s daughter Elizabeth married Margaret Diwell’s son Richard in 1877.

Judy was kind enough to send me a copy of George’s obituary.  It tells of George’s swimming prowess and how he dived for the bones of the Hunt’s  in the Glenelg River.  Unfortunately I cannot find anything in the various reports about George’s efforts, despite it being mentioned that there was a river search and bones found.  I will bring you more on George in time.


W is for…What Else Could It Be?

Naturally I had to rejoin the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge at “W”.  W is for Western District and that means a lot to me not only because this blog is called “Western District Families”.  I was born and raised in the Western District and all the families of my maternal lines, going back six generations, chose to settle in the wonderful Western District.

One of the highlights of the Western District is the geography.  Entering from the east, the Western Plains lead to the rise of the Grampians and on to the volcanic plains and green rolling hills beyond.  To the south are the forests of the Otways, the south-west coastline and volcanic Tower Hill .

I will take you on a geographical journey through the Western District, just a glimpse really, beginning with two colonial artists, Nicholas Chevalier and my favourite, Eugene Von Guerard.  These  artists and others, traipsed around Victoria sketching and painting.  Von Guerard also travelled to Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand.  Looking at their paintings reminds me of the lives they lived for the sake of their art.

Chevalier’s sketch shows the Serra Range including Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt at the southern end of the Grampians.

View of the Grampians, Western District [art original] N. Chevalier.
State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/100967

Moving south-west, dormant volcano Mt Eccles near Macarthur has played a part in my family history.  My gg grandfather Reuben James Harman, son of James Harman, owned property at Mt Eccles.  It was also a favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

Crater of Mt. Eccles, von Guerard, Eugene,1811-1901,artist.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/46307

I prefer von Guerard’s depiction of Lake Surprise, the crater lake of Mt Eccles, to my own (below).  I remember as a child asking about the name “Lake Surprise”.  The answer:  When you get to the top of the crater and see the lake, you get a surprise.  Fair enough.

LAKE SURPRISE, MT ECCLES CRATER LAKE

A little north of Mt Eccles is the volcanic lava flow, the Harman Valley at Byaduk, named after my Harman family.  In the distance is the source of the lava, Mount Napier.

THE HARMAN VALLEY, BYADUK

To the south-east is Tower Hill, another dormant volcano.  It lies between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

TOWER HILL

Further south is the famous Loch Ard Gorge, named for the Loch Ard which wrecked on the treacherous coastline.  The only two survivors, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael were washed on to the beach at Loch Ard Gorge.

I find standing on the beach in the Gorge a haunting experience.

LOCH ARD GORGE

East along the coast line is one of the most iconic views, not only of Victoria, but Australia.

THE 12 APOSTLES

North-west, and back where we started, are the Grampians.

HALLS GAP, GRAMPIANS

The Grampians are a perfect place to leave the subject of the Western District and move on to another “W” which has been a part of my family since the 1860s, the Wannon River…

W is for…Wannon River

The Wannon River begins its’ flow at the base of Mt Abrupt in the Southern Grampians.  It flows toward Dunkeld, around the base of Mt Sturgeon and leaves the Grampians heading north-west toward Cavendish. Along the way it passes by Mokanger , workplace of both the Mortimers and Haddens.  Through Cavendish, it passes close to the cemetery, burial place of members of those two families.

From Cavendish, the river begins a southward journey toward two of the Hamilton district’s jewels, the Nigretta and Wannon waterfalls.  As the river progresses west, the Grange Burn joins the Wannon, having flowed from just east of Hamilton, the city founded on the Grange.  This section of the river was another favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

On the river flows to Tahara and then Sandford. I have family links to Sandford with Julia Harman, daughter of James Harman residing there with her husband George Holmes.  Two children were born their including WW1 casualty Arthur Leonard Holmes.  My gg uncle William Diwell also spent some time around Sandford.  In 1914, he completed extensions to the St Marys Church.

The Wannon River then joins the another great river of the Western District, the Glenelg River, having passed through some of Victoria’s most beautiful countryside.  It is not surprising Joseph Hawdon, travelling overland to Adelaide with Lieutenant Alfred Miller Mundy of the 21st Regiment in 1839, endorsed Major Thomas Mitchell’s description five years earlier. Major Mitchell followed the Glenelg River from its’ beginnings in the Grampians through to the sea at Nelson. It is little wonder all of my direct ancestors stayed in the Western District after settlement.

(1839, September 26). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8723904

After the merge with the Wannon, the Glenelg flows on to Casterton where I have many family links.  My ggg grandfather George Jelly, father of Elizabeth Ann Jelly, was one man who could say he had conquered the river.  His obituary read:

“He was a remarkably good swimmer and by his abilities in this direction was instrumental in saving many persons from drowning and rescuing the bodies of many others who had perished in the river” 

He even dived for the bones of Robert and Mary Hunt, murdered by George Wains in 1860.

By the time the Glenelg River reaches the sea, it, the Wannon and Grange Burn have passed by many of the places my ancestors lived, worked, fished, swam and were laid to rest.

The Wannon River between the Nigretta Falls and the Wannon Falls, about 20 kilometres from Hamilton, would be the section most frequented by myself and my family before me.  My own memories come from family visits, Sunday drives with Nana, school excursions and birthday parties.

The following views near the Wannon Falls are from the State Library of Victoria Collection and were captured around 1878 by  Thomas J. Washbourne , a Geelong photographer.

Wannon River Scene – Washbourne, Thomas J. photographer.Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53092

Wannon River Scene Washbourne, Thomas J.,photographer.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/52931

THE WANNON RIVER AT THE WANNON FALLS

Of the two waterfalls, I prefer the Nigretta, especially after rain.  The Wannon Falls could be described as pretty in the way they drop off the edge, but the Nigretta Falls are, at times, spectacular.

Nigretta Falls on the Wannon River
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – collection: Cogger album of photographs http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/41740

The Vagabond (John Stanley James) described the Nigretta Falls in his series “Picturesque Victoria” which appeared in The Argus.  In the  April 4, 1885 edition of The Argus , The Vagabond wrote of his visit to the Wannon.  He enjoyed the hospitality at the Wannon Inn and then marveled at the “miniature Niagara”

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1885, April 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6073697

This photo taken in August this year by my friend Catherine, after good rain, sees the Nigretta looking like the minature Niagara Falls as described by The Vagabond.

NIGRETTA FALLS – Image courtesy of Catherine Huisman

It was pleasing to see that the old viewing platforms still remain at the Nigretta Falls.

NIGRETTA FALLS VIEWING PLATFORM

An impressive wooden staircase now leads down to the falls, but the original steps remain.

The Wannon Falls (below) holds memories of walking beyond the viewing platform, down to the rocks and behind the falls, but only when they were flowing lightly as they are in this photo.  A new viewing platform now prevents such precarious escapades, even undertaken while on school excursions!

I have two framed prints of the Wannon Falls by Louis Buveot, painted in 1872.  One hangs on a wall as a constant reminder of Hamilton, the Wannon River and the waterfalls.  The original hangs in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. To see  the original click on the link – Wannon Falls

The topic of the Wannon River gives me an opportunity to share my all time favourite family photos.  As a little girl when I first saw Nana’s old photo album, these photos captured my imagination.  When Nana came to live with us she kept her photo albums in her wardrobe. I would take them down, sit on her bed and go straight to this photo.  It was near the beginning of the album which had black, much turned pages.

From right: Nana, (Linda Hadden), my great-grandmother (Sarah Elizabeth Harman) and my great auntie Alma’s (Nana’s sister) mother-in-law Mrs Issac William Short (Catherine Gissane Tilley).

They are standing on the original lower viewing deck.   The four photos from a day at the Wannon where originally very small.  It wasn’t until I enlarged them on a computer, that I noticed Nana’s coat hanging on the railing.

I think the reason I like this photo is because Nana looked exactly liked she did when I knew her, but with long braids and I still can’t believe she was only about 15.  Even the small research assistant thought Nana was the lady in the middle when he first saw it.  He only knew her as an older person and does not think of her as having been a child too.

The second photo was taken from the lower viewing deck, looking toward the upper level.  I didn’t like standing here as a child and as you can see the rail was high at the front  and difficult to see over and to the right of  Nana was a gap between the fence and the rocks.  I much preferred the lower deck.

Recent years have seen a rotunda built at the Wannon Falls reserve with information about the waterfall, the local geography and history.

On our visit, the small research assistant said “Look Mum, they even have family history here for you”  He was right. There is a lot of my family history at the Wannon Falls.


Trove Tuesday

a collection or store of valuable or delightful things

(Oxford Dictionary)

No better words could be used to describe the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.  If you have read a few of my posts, you would know I’m a big Trove fan.    A recent post by Jill Ball at her blog Geniaus, mentioned an initiative by Amy Houston which interested me.  Amy on her blog Branches, Leaves and Pollen, told how she too is a fan of Trove and invited Australian bloggers to join her on Tuesdays each week to blog about the treasures we have found at Trove.

I have many Trove treasures and a lot of my blog posts are about those.  At first I thought I would not take part merely because I didn’t think I could choose just one a week.    Where would I start?  That is much like asking me to name my favourite book or film of all time.  I just can’t do it.  But, as Amy suggests  the treasure don’t always have to be about a family member it could be anything of interest.

I can do that.  How often have you found a newspaper article about a family member, only to find the article, above, below or beside  just as interesting.  I’m into advertisements too and I always read them.  There are some absolute gems, so expect to see some of those on Tuesdays.

Due to time constraints this week, I thought I would begin with a recap of some of  my posts that highlight the benefits of Trove to family historians, particularly the digitised newspapers.   Without the newspapers, there is much that I wouldn’t know about my ancestors. Even hours of record searching couldn’t unearth what I have found.

In fact, the papers lead me to the records.  Whether it is records from courts or cemeteries, sporting clubs or churches, Trove has led me there.  Not only is it a time saver, many of the leads I have found come from places I would never have thought of searching.

These are some of my treasures to date:

Witness for the Prosecution – The story of three of my relatives who were witnesses in murder trials.  I believe two of those stories, that of my ggg grandmother Margaret Diwell and my grandfather Percy Riddiford, would have remained hidden if it wasn’t for Trove.

Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows – I knew little about Alfred Harman before I starting an intensive search for him in the Trove digitized newspapers.  Now I know so much more.

Nina’s Royal Inspiration – The story of Nina Harman and her carpet really is delightful.  As Nina is not a close family member, I possibly would not have known this story without finding her direct descendants.  Instead I found it in a Women’s Weekly at Trove!

To Catch a Thief – Ordinarily,  to find Jim Bishop’s brush with the law, I would have had to search the Branxholme Court Registers held at PROV‘s Ballarat Archives Centre.  Not too hard, but with so many people to research and so many towns on the Victorian court circuit, it may have been a long time before I found it.  Thanks to an article in the Border Watch, that time in Jim’s life is now known to me.

All Quiet By the Wannon – The Mortimer family of Cavendish kept to themselves.  Articles I found at Trove finally gave my ggg James Mortimer a voice.

Mr Mortimer’s Daughters - Another Mortimer puzzle solved thanks to Trove.  From Henry Mortimer’s death notice in the Portland Guardian, I was able to establish the married name of one daughter and a second marriage of another daughter.

There are list of Western Victorian newspapers available at Trove on my Links page.

Don’t forget there are other great treasures that can be found while searching at Trove.  Look beyond the newspaper matches as you never know what might come up in the other categories.  I have found photos of family members and some great early photos of Western Victorian towns while searching.  Trove is also great for tracking down books.

I will try to post something each Tuesday.  Thank you to Amy for the idea and I hope other Australian geneabloggers get involved too.

Show us your treasure and celebrate Trove!


Portland’s Immigration Wall

Portland’s Immigration wall  is a great way to remember those ancestors who first set foot in Australia at the harbour town.  Located on the “Ploughed Field” opposite the Portland hospital and overlooking Portland Bay, the wall has plaques unveiled by grateful descendants of early pioneers to the south-west of Victoria.

The “Ploughed Field” is where Edward Henty ploughed the first sod of earth in Victoria in 1834 with the Henty plough, on display at Portland’s History House.

Some of the families remembered:

Both William and Isabella Robb are buried at the Old Portland Cemetery.

I know a little of Richard and Jane Price thanks to their grandson’s marriage to my first cousin 3 x removed.  Allan James Price married Ada Harman, daughter of Alfred Harman, in 1911.  One of the organisers, Lynn Price,  invited me to the unveiling of the plaque and family reunion in 2009.  I met Lynn via the Rootsweb Western District mailing list.  It was disappointing I was unable to attend as a lot of time has gone into remembering the Price family.  This is seen at the Price family website.   It has photos of the reunion as well as a later event, the unveiling of headstone for Richard and Jane at the Heywood cemetery in 2010.

For more information on how you can see your family on the Immigration Wall, go to the Glenelg Shire website.

I hope one day plaques will be on the wall for my ggg grandparents James and Sarah Harman and William and Margaret Diwell and daughters Elizabeth and Sarah Diwell, all of whom first set foot on Australian shores at Portland Bay off the “Duke of Richmond“.


Passing of the Pioneers

As Passing of the Pioneers enters a second year, the fascinating stories keep coming.  Who could not be taken in by James Parker’s story? Gold, Captain Moonlight and more than a stroke of good luck make it an interesting read.  Or Octavius Palmer? While still a teenager, he travelled to California and took on the risky job of gold escort.  John Weaver Greed started a business in Hamilton which still exists today and Mrs Isabella Gilholme’s business sense saw her acquire a portfolio of shops and houses.

Mrs Abraham JENNINGS – Died July 1889 at Bridgewater.  I have mentioned Mrs Abraham Jennings  before.   In the News  – May 26  was about the passing of Mrs Hugh Kittson who was Margaret Jennings, daughter of Mrs Abraham Jennings.  Mrs Abraham Jennings was also known as Hannah Birchall.  Her husband and Margaret’s father was Cook Abraham Jennings.  Hannah and Abraham arrived in the district during the 1840s.

Mrs S. DUDDEN – Died July 11 1897 at Myamyn.  Mrs Dudden was known by many around Myamyn due to husband’s work as store keeper in the town.  She arrived in Victoria during the 1850s.  Through a search at Trove, I found that only three months earlier on April 19, 1897, the Dudden’s residence, behind the shop, was destroyed by fire

James PARKER – Died July 6, 1899 at Heywood.  At the time of  James Parker’s death on July 7, 1899, the The Portland Guardian correspondent promised an account of Parker’s life, in the next issue.  Finally on August 9, 1899, he came good with his promise but  it was well worth the wait.  I cannot possible summarise the life of James Parker, so you must read the obituary for yourself here.  It is a fascinating read, particularly Parker’s encounter with Captain Moonlight.  I will, however, include a piece from the obituary which describes pioneer life.  As you read,  keep in mind the obituary is from 1899.

The Late Mr James Parker. (1899, August 9). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63676913

William DISHER – Died July 11, 1902 at Stawell.  William Disher arrived in South Australia during the 1830s.  He married Agnes Horsburgh in 1842 and during the 1870s  they moved to Kewell West, north of Murtoa.  William and Agnes had 12 children and by the time of his death, the couple had 72 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  Incidentally, William’s mother had 220 direct descendants at the time of her death at 92, including 120 great-grandchildren.  William’s sister was Lady Eliza Milne, the wife of Sir William Milne a South Australian politician.

John Weaver GREED – Died July 8, 1903 at Hamilton.  John Greed was born in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1833 and arrived in Port Fairy with his wife Emma Grinter and a small child in 1860.  The family headed to Hamilton to join John’s parents, Charles Greed and Sarah Weaver. John started “John Greed Undertaking” in 1861 and so begun a family business which still exists in Hamilton today.   A wonderful history of the Greed family is on the F.Greed & Sons website.

I have a family link to the Greeds.  John Weaver Greed’s son Walter ( a candidate for “Misadventures, Deaths & Near Misses”) married Jessie Harman, daughter of Reuben Harman.

GREED FAMILY GRAVE – OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

John M. SHEEHY – Died July 1903 at Casterton.  How I need a man like John Sheehy in my life.

OBITUARY. (1903, July 28). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72840810

John MacEACHERN – Died July 4, 1908 at Nelson.  While John MacEachern had only been in the Nelson district from the 1870s, he had been in Australia since 1839 having arrived in Sydney from Scotland with his parents.  He made his way to Victoria, first working at Strathdownie as a stockman,  where he proved himself an excellent horseman.

Edwin BOASE – Died July 1911 at Murtoa.  Edwin Boase was a newspaper pioneer in the Wimmera.  He arrived with his parents in Adelaide as a baby during the 1850s before they headed to Castlemaine.  He learnt the printing trade in Ballarat before moving to Horsham in 1872 where he printed the first edition of The Horsham Times.  He later founded The Dunmunkle Standard and published the paper for 33 years until the time of his death.  He married Isabella Cameron in 1878, a daughter of a former Horsham Mayor.

Octavius F. W. PALMER – Died July 18, 1914 at Terang.  What a life Octavius Palmer led.  He was born in London in 1833 and went to Tasmania with his parents and nine siblings in 1838.  His father was Captain Frederick Palmer of the East India Company.  After schooling at the Church of England Grammar School in Launceston, Octavius left for the goldfields of California where he spent three years driving the gold escort team of horses.  He returned to the Castlemaine diggings and after some pastoral pursuits with his brothers, he settled in the Western District around  Warrnambool.

Octavius was a member of the  Warrnambool Polo Club and the Warrnambool Racing Club.  He imported many head of Romney Marsh sheep in the 1870s.  An article  from The Age of September 1972, reports on the Palmer family breeding Romney Marsh sheep for 100 years with references to Octavius. How proud he would have been that his family continued to breed the sheep he preferred for the conditions of the south-west of Victoria.

I  couldn’t resist this insight into Octavius in later life.  From The Mail (Adelaide), the article describes an “old buster”.

When The Heart Is Young. (1941, September 20). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved July 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54893294

Forty seems far to young to be thought of as an “old buster”!

Thomas BAILEY – Died July 23, 1914 at Ballarat.  Like the Greed family, Thomas Bailey was from Taunton, Somerset.  He was born there in 1840 but at a young age he left for the New Zealand goldfields.  He then went to Ballarat where he had various mining interests.  He married Sarah Craig, the daughter of Walter Craig owner at the time of Ballarat’s Craigs Hotel.

Family Notices. (1869, January 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5815936

Thomas was a member of the Ballarat Anglers Club, Ballarat Hunt Club and had a keen interest in football.  His death was felt in many parts of Ballarat including the Old Colonists Hall, where, out of respect,  a meeting was cancelled.

Richard BRYANT – Died July 12, 1919 at Hamilton.  Richard Bryant was born in Cornwall in 1829 and married Elizabeth Millstead in 1850.  The couple travelled to Adelaide aboard the Epaminodas in 1853.  From there they went to Portland and Richard walked on to Ballarat in 1854 in search of gold.  After the death of Elizabeth, Richard and two young daughters, settled on land at Mooralla .  He then married Irish-born Margaret Nowlan.  Margaret passed away in 1907.

I have a family link to Richard Bryant via a daughter from his first marriage.  Richard was the grandfather of Elizabeth Bryant McWhirter,  wife of James Stevenson of Cavendish.  James was the subject of the post “Hobbies Passions and Devotions.

Mrs Sophia WEHL – Died July 10, 1920 at Halls Gap.

Obituary. (1920, July 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73176649

I turned to Ida Stanton’s Bridging The Gap for more information about Sophia Wehl.  Sophia’s husband Carl had a tannery in Stawell, but owned land in Halls Gap.  The house that Sophia built (as referred to in her obituary) was Glenbower 2 near Borough Huts, just outside Halls Gap.  The house was so named as it was next to  Glenbower owned by members of the D’Alton family, including twins Sophia and Henrietta.

That home went into ruin, however at the time of Ida writing her book, poplars and remnants of the garden still existed.   Ida  tells how the D’Altons brought the poplars with them to Australia from Napoleon Bonaparte’s grave on the island of St Helena.   This is not as unusual at it sounds.  A Google search found many others who also grew both poplars and willows grown from cuttings taken from the island’s trees.  An article from The Mercury tells of a Tasmanian family who did the same.

The bushfires of 1939 saw  Glenbower 2 destroyed.  There are photos of both homes in Bridging the Gap, and Sophia Wehl is on the veranda in the Glenbower 2 photo.

Sophia Wehl’s daughter was a noted artist specialising in wildflowers.  Her art teacher was neighbour Henrietta D’Alton who was famous for her wildflower art and had even exhibited overseas.

Margaret Ann DIWELL  – Died July 1932 at Hamilton.  Margaret was my ggg aunt and daughter of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.  She was born at Portland in 1857 and married John McClintock in 1883.  They lived at Grassdale and had eleven children including John, James Richard and Albert Edward  featured in my Anzac Day post The McClintock Brothers.

OBITUARY. (1932, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64298800

In the post, Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On, I mentioned the dangers of  wrong information in obituaries.  Margaret’s obituary offers an example of this.  It mentions her parents arrived in Portland in 1850.  They in fact arrived on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.   Margaret’s mother’s is all mentioned because of her involvement in the murder trial of  George Waines.  I wrote about the trial in Witness For the Prosecution.

John Thomas EDGAR – Died July 10, 1941 at Melbourne.  John Thomas Edgar was born at Portland in 1848, the son of David and Sarah Edgar.  The Edgars settled at Pine Hills estate near Harrow.  David Edgar subsidised a private school at the estate for the use of his children and the children of other settlers and John attended that school before going on to Hamilton College and later Scotch College in Melbourne.

With his schooling completed, John returned to Pine Hills to learn the finer points of running Merino sheep.  This saw him go to on to become an expert breeder and judge of the popular Western Victorian breed.  He took over management of his father’s property Kandook Estate at Harrow and later the ownership. In 1871 John married Margaret Swan and they raised a family of 12 children.  He was the brother of Walter Birmingham Edgar  and a cousin to Jean Edgar, both Passing Pioneers.

Michael MURPHY - Died July 12, 1943 at Melbourne.   I have driven past Tobacco Road, Pomonal  many times en route to Halls Gap and finally I know how it got its name.   Michael Murphy was a former resident of Pomonal at the foot of the Grampians.  He was one of the tobacco-growing pioneers in the area.  I didn’t know tobacco was grown there, but it seems obvious now that Tobacco Road be named for such a reason.

Michael was also a supporter of local football and cricket and was a founding member of the Stawell Druids Lodge.  He was 74 at the time of his death, following complications of injuries received in a tram accident in Melbourne.

Isabella REID – Died July 1953 at Heywood.  Isabella Reid was the daughter of William Reid and Johanna Steven and wife of Charles Gilholme.  Isabella ran a guest house but after Charles’ death she expanded her business interests into property.

DEATH OR HEYWOOD OCTOGENARIAN. (1953, July 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64435398


Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

I have previously posted on the Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses of my family members, but as people could hurt themselves in so many ways in the 19th and early 20th century I thought I would share some more.   I have included a couple of people  related to me, but most are just everyday people doing everyday things.  If you click on the “victim’s” name it will take you to Trove and the original article.

RABBIT SHOOTING

Beware the perils of rabbit shooting.  Henry Beaton , Reverend T Scanlan & John Kinghorn all knew the dangers, at least in hindsight.

Poor Henry was climbing through a fence with his Winchester when it went off and shot him in the foot.  John Kinghorn, a somewhat accident prone lad, lost the flesh below his thumb after the barrel of his gun exploded in 1890.  On another day not long after, he was riding to Hamilton with the Byaduk Mounted Rifles when another horse kicked him in the leg resulting in a severe leg injury to John.

Reverend Father Scanlan was shooting rabbits with Reverend Father Timmins.  Father Timmins wounded a hare so Father Scanlan pointed his gun through a hedge to take a last shot when the gun exploded, wounding him in the thigh.

A search at Trove found 1624 article headlines containing “Peculiar Accident”  So what characterizes a peculiar accident?  Well  Mrs C.E. Lewis qualified after a cow’s  horn ripped her eyelid.

Mr W.B Edgar made the grade while trying to relive his golfing days only to have some protective plovers attack him.

Peculiar Accident. (1937, August 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64276868

An over exuberant crack of a stock whip resulted in Stephen Moodie’s peculiar accident. Another peculiar accident occurred to an unknown, and probably embarrassed customer of Page’s store in Warracknabeal. Lucky in-store video surveillance was not around then or the footage may have made it to a 1920s equivalent of Funniest Home Videos.

A PECULIAR ACCIDENT. (1929, March 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72606226

Young Alex McIntyre would have thought twice before he messed with a bottle of spirits of salts again.  Deciding the best way to make sure the cork was in the bottle was to stomp down on it with his boot, he caused the bottle to explode.  It was enough to blow the hat from his head.  Luckily he escaped with minor burns and a dose of sense.

While the following peculiar accidents were not headlined as such, I do believe they fall into that category.  Feeding peanuts to a leopard at Melbourne Zoo did it for David Horsfall and Mrs Hill of Casterton found a lost needle in her hand, 35 years later.

Miss Gladys Makin would have been wary of yawning after her peculiar accident in 1908.

PECULIAR ACCIDENT. (1908, March 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72808154

“Eyes Damaged by Paper” was the headline for Mr H. Fosters  peculiar accident.  From the Minyip “Guardian” newspaper, Mr Foster took paper cuts to a whole new level.  Fingers are the usual victims of the dreaded paper cut, but the gentleman managed to have the paper he was carrying pass over his eyeball.  Several days in a dark room was the remedy.

PAINFUL ACCIDENT. (1916, January 25). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73868145

The headline “painful accident” was found 2149 times at Trove, although I think most accidents would fit this description.

Walter Greed of Hamilton was a victim of painful accident in 1891.  Walter was the son-in-law of Reuben Harman and husband of Jesse Harman.  While working at his uncle’s coach building business Walter’s hand became caught in a studded drum used to prepare stuffing for carriage seats.  Once released, he ran, blood dripping, to Rountree’s Chemists in Gray Street where his hand was bandaged.  The chemist recommended Walter attend the Hamilton Hospital where it was found he had no broken bones.

It goes without saying that Mr Matthews’ accident was painful.  While mustering sheep in the Grampians in 1898  a fall on to dry sticks saw one of them enter three inches into his leg.  Wood was also the cause of Mr J. Sullivan’s painful accident near Warrnambool.  A chip of wood flew up and hit him in the eye, resulting in the eye being removed.

I feel bad  smiling while reading the following article.  But when I begin to visualise what John Brisbane was doing it is becomes cartoon like, particularly if I think of what might have happened and thankfully didn’t.  Apologies to John’s descendants for my mirth.

PAINFUL MOTORING ACCIDENT. (1946, July 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64408475

SOME UNFORTUNATE RELATIVES

Death by misadventure best describes the unfortunate death of my gg uncle and again spirit of salts proved a very dangerous substance.  In 1939, Ernest Richard Diwell drunk spirits of salts thinking it was whiskey.  This was a fatal mistake.

Only two years earlier, Ernest’s, uncle William Diwell had his own misadventure.

Advertising. (1937, June 10). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64276046

I could go on all day with examples.  I have hundreds of them including “unusual accidents”, “extraordinary deaths” and articles with headlines such as “Horse Jumps in Side-Car” and “Cakes Flew When Horse Bolted”, but I will save them for another time.


Hobbies, Passions and Devotions

The activities of my ancestors outside of their usual occupation is always of interest to me.  Their sports, pastimes, hobbies and social activities often help define them as people and sometimes those activities are present in later generations.  Also, it can lead to further information from club records and results in newspapers.

In some cases, much spare time was devoted to the church, maybe on the committee such as William Hadden or as a lay preacher like James Harman.  James was also able to find time for his other passion, ploughing competitions, not mention various committees, such as the local school.

Richard Diwell had an interest in the Hamilton Horticulture Society, but also indulged in photography. The photo in the post Elizabeth Ann Jelly was one of Richard’s using a camera with a timer, a new development in photography at the turn of the century.

My grandfather, Bill Gamble, grandson of Richard Diwell, had many interests particularly before he married.  He played cornet with the Hamilton Brass band and was a committee member of the Hamilton Rifle Club and a state representative shooter.

He also loved fishing, motorcycles and like his grandfather before him, photography.  As a result we now have hundreds of photographs of motorbikes and fishing trips.  He even developed his own photographs.  His passions of photography and motorcycles were passed on to his son Peter.

Many of the Holmes and Diwell families were members of Brass Bands at Casterton and Hamilton.  Alfred Winslow Harman was a rifle shooter and I recently told you about Nina Harman, wiling away the hours completing tapestry carpets.

I recently found an activity which previously hadn’t been present in my family, greyhound breeding.

James Stevenson was the grandson of James Mortimer and Rosanna Buckland. He worked as a manager at “Hyde Park”  a squatting run north of Cavendish until it was split up in 1926 for the Soldier Settlement scheme.  After this James moved to “Glen Alvie” at Cavendish where he described himself as a grazier.

In 1927, he advertised five well-bred greyhound pups for sale.  At £4 each, he stood to earn £20 if he successfully sold them.  A seemingly profitable hobby indeed.

Advertising. (1927, February 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved June 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73082854

James would have needed a good return on his pups as the sire’s stud fees would have been pricey given Cinder was imported by successful breeder, Mr Dickie of Bacchus Marsh.  The article from the time of Cinder’s arrival in Australia in 1923, reports the dog remained in quarantine for six months.  Because of a rabies outbreak in England, there was an extension to the time spent in quarantine  only a short time before his arrival.

In 1927, the time of James’ advertisement, greyhound racing using a “mechanical hare” began for the first time at the Epping course in New South Wales.  It took longer for other states to adopt the “tin hare” where they continued with the traditional field coursing.

SPORTS AND PASTIMES. (1923, September 7). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 6. Retrieved June 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65041056

 

WHAT DID YOUR ANCESTORS DO IN THEIR SPARE TIME?


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