Tag Archives: Hadden

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?


It’s My 1st Blogiversary!

Happy 1st Blogiversary Western District Families.  I thought we would never make it, but 84 posts and 12 months later, here we are.

What a fun year it has been.  It really was worth the procrastinating about whether to blog or not to blog.  Over the time I have made some great online friends, met some previously unknown family members and found out so much more about my Western District family.  Western District Families even got a Google+ page!

I hope some of you have also found out something about your Western District family, where they lived and the things they did through posts such as In the News and the Pioneer Christmas series.  Maybe you have found an obituary of an ancestor at Passing of the Pioneers.

I have found that the act of writing out my family history has been so useful for my research. It has helped me sort out what information I have but more importantly, what I don’t have.  Also, lining up the lives and events of siblings, in the case of the Harmans for example, has given me a better understanding of the dynamics of the family (can you tell I was a Social Sciences student?).

So what have been the most popular of the past 84 posts?

1.  The Fastest Ship in the World

2. A Tragic Night – January 24, 1882

3. Histories of  South-West Towns

4. Witness for the Prosecution

5. Only Seven More Sleeps…

Which posts have been my favourite to share?  Well it was hard to narrow them down to just five but here they are:

1 Elizabeth Ann  Jelly

2. All Quiet By the Wannon

3. Halls Gap’s Cherub

4. From Stone Country to High Country

5. A Tragic Night – January 24, 1882

An Honourable Mention must go to  What the Dickens? and the follow up post Another ‘What the Dickens” Moment.  They were both interesting and fun to write.

Over the past year, I have had made contact with Gamble and Jelly cousins and members of the Condon, Adams and Oakley families.

I  also heard from Rosemary of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her great grandparents were married in the original St Stephens Church at Portland.

Plenty is planned for the next 12 months.  I thought I would run out of things to write about. Instead I am finding it difficult to keep up with all the subject ideas I have. There will be more Passing of the Pioneers and later in the year I will look at Christmas in the early part of the 20th century.  Of course, I will have more stories about my family.  I’ve barely touched on some of the stories I had planned when I started the blog as I keep finding more great stories in the meantime.

A big thank you must go to my fellow Australian geneabloggers.  Your support and encouragement have been fantastic and you have all inspired me to keep going.   What I have learnt from each of you has been invaluable.  It  was great to meet some of you at the Unlock the Past Victorian Expo at Geelong last year.  Also to the 29 followers of Western District Families, thank you for following and for your great comments.

I must also make a special mention of my maternal grandmother, Linda Gamble (nee Hadden).  Nana did not get to see my blog.  She passed away six days before I published my first post.  It was Nana that got me to this point.  Her love of  the past and her family inspired me almost 20 years ago to start researching our family tree simply to find out more about them for her.  What a wonderful family she gave me.

Nana & me


A Memorial Coincidence

Eight years ago, almost to the day, we decided to visit the newly opened Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat.  My great-uncle Bill Hadden was a POW in Changi and I wanted to find his name.

It was a warm evening and I was about 8½ months pregnant and apart from another couple browsing through the names, we were the only ones there.  We walked along the row, found Uncle Bill’s name then continued to the end.  As we made the return trip, I noticed the couple had stopped near Uncle Bill’s name.  As I paused nearby for a last tribute, I overheard the couple talking.  They looked puzzled saying they couldn’t see a Bill or a William.  They were pointing right at the list of Haddens on the memorial.  I realized they were talking about Bill Hadden and I immediately understood their predicament.  Uncle Bill’s real name was Thomas Horace Hadden, not William as many people over the years probably thought.

I asked the couple if they were looking for Bill Hadden and they were.  I explained he was the T.H.Hadden on the memorial.

Who were these people?  I certainly didn’t recognize them as cousins.  As it turned out, the lady was a daughter of one of the men incarcerated with Uncle Bill in Changi and he had even attended her wedding.  They were en route from Birchip to Melbourne and thought they would drop in at the memorial to look for her father’s name.  Unbelievable.  To think they were there at the same time I was.  Also if I hadn’t been there at that time, they would left wondering why Bill Hadden’s name was not on the memorial.

STOP PRESS!. (1942, February 16). Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42332207

This is a pertinent time to remember that visit eight years ago.  On February 15, 1942,  70 years ago, Singapore fell to the Japanese and Bill Hadden of the 2/13th Australian General Hospital was taken prisoner. In the days after he would walk through the gates of Changi prison.

MORE NAMES OF AUSTRALIAN POW's AT SINGAPORE. (1945, September 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 2. Retrieved February 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article975785

In Malaya prior to the capture, Uncle Bill wrote a letter home to his great-aunt Henrietta Harman of Byaduk.  Answering the call of the Australian Women’s Weekly, Henrietta sent the letter into the Weekly with it published on January 31, 1942.

LETTERS FROM OUR BOYS. (1942, January 31). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 2. Retrieved February 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47812486

This is a wonderful insight into the lead up to the events of 70 years ago today.  How could Uncle Bill ever imagine at that time the “…greater hardships before it is over” would  be 3½ years in Changi prison.  It has also give me a small glimpse of Henrietta’s life.  Even though I did not know her, I never would have picked her as a “Women’s Weekly” reader.  Maybe it was the incentive of a £1 prize for all letters printed.

May we also remember at this time the brave nurses of the 2/13th AGH,  evacuated from Singapore just prior to the fall.  In particular, those nurses on board the ill-fated “Vyner Brooke” .  The ship was attacked from the air on February 14, 1942.  Survivors found themselves on Radji beach, Banka Island.  They were discovered by Japanese troops who walked 22 Australian nurses and one female English civilian into the sea and shot them.  One nurse,Sister Vivian Bullwinkel survived and would herself become a P.O.W.

 them

Australian nurses who were POW's

I grew up familiar with the name Sister Vivian Bullwinkel.  On Anzac Day, as we watched the march on T.V., Nana would proudly tell me Uncle Bill knew Vivian Bullwinkle during the war.  It was not until I was older that I gradually became aware of her heroics and the horrific acts she saw.

I also grew up familiar with the name “Changi,” again because Nana would talk of Uncle Bill being in “Changi” during the war.  It probably was not until Uncle Bill, Nana and their two sisters Rose and Alma visited Singapore and the infamous prison, that I had any inkling of what it really was.

Uncle Bill & sisters on their Singapore trip.

As I have read more, I have learned more of  the existence of Uncle Bill’s and thousands of other Australians during that time.  I now know why Nana was so proud of her brother “Billy”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

I have only touched on the sinking of the “Vyner Brooke” and the events on Banka Island.  Through the Australian War Memorial’s Twitter feed (@AWMemorial) I found a link to the items in War Memorial’s collection which relate to the “Vyner Brooke”.  They can be found at http://tinyurl.com/88qw486.  It is sad scrolling through the photos of fresh-faced young women newly enlisted and thinking they never came home.

An article from the Sydney Morning Herald of September 18, 1945 tells the story of Banka Island through the words of Sister Vivian Bullwinkle.

The Australian War Memorial also have pages for The Sinking of the Vyner Brooke and Vivian Bullwinkel


William Hadden – Wealth for Toil – Australia Day 2012

I have made it just in time for in the Australia Day 2012 blog post.  Thanks to Shelly at Twigs of Yore, geneabloggers have the chance to share the occupation of an ancestor while considering the line “wealth for toil” from “Advance Australia Fair”.  The requirements are:

To participate, choose someone who lived in Australia (preferably one of your ancestors) and tell us how they toiled. Your post should include:

  1. What was their occupation?
  2. What information do you have about the individual’s work, or about the occupation in general?
  3. The story of the person, focusing on their occupation; or
    The story of the occupation, using the person as an example.

I love occupations.  The  first thing I look at on a census or electoral roll is my relative’s line of work.  Maybe it is just because I’m hoping for something other than a farmer.  So I jumped at the chance to share an occupation.   Of course I have plenty of farmers and large number of butchers, including my grandfather and two great grandfathers.  But they didn’t cut it for me.

Who were workers that fitted the “toil” definition?  I have already done a post on Jim Bishop, the drover who I do believe toiled against the elements and probably for little reward.  One definition of “toil” is to labour continuously.  Taking that into account there could be no other person to write about than station hand William Hadden, my gg grandfather.

William Hadden did not make monetary riches from his work, but he had the wealth of his family on whom his work depended and the knowledge that he was putting food on the table.

William was born in Haddington, East Lothian,  Scotland and immigrated with his parents, Charles and Agnes on the Marco Polo in 1854.  William would have been around 17 when he went to work at nearby Mokanger station with his father Charles.  That was the beginning of a love affair with the land and in particular Mokanger.

In 1870, he married Mokanger servant, Mary Mortimer at the station. They also lived at Mokanger and children were born there.  Mokanger was their life.  Except for Sundays, the day of rest.  That was the time to attend St John’s Presbyterian church at Cavendish, Williams other passion.

While sheep station work can be seasonal, William most likely had an ongoing job.  There is always plenty to do on a sheep property.  Lambing, marking lambs, shearing sheep, crutching sheep and dipping sheep!   Also at Mokanger, William’s father Charles Hadden worked as a boundary rider and father in law, James Mortimer was a ploughman, just two further examples of jobs on a large station.

William loved his work at Mokanger station so much, he was there into his eighties.  I am not sure if he was still in paid employment then, but he was there overseeing the dipping and crutching.  I think that qualifies as having toiled.

William’s value of hard work  and love of the land, was passed to his children, along with his quiet, unassuming nature.  Son John, also worked at Mokanger,  James worked at  Mt Sturgeon station and Henry worked at Mooralla station as a boundary rider.

My favourite story of fourth son, my great grandfather Thomas Hadden relates to work. Each Sunday during the 1920’s and 30’s, my great grandmother Sarah, would pack a week’s worth of food in a tin for Thomas to take away working on the roads.  This must have been incredibly hard work and having to leave the family for a week at a time, must have made it harder.  Likewise, Thomas and Sarah’s children, including my Nana, portrayed the same values and ethics as the Haddens before them.

Thomas Hadden, son of William Hadden

William Hadden was happy to work for a wage for so many years, but as I have mentioned, it put food on the table.  He was an honorable servant to the owners of Mokanger, first the Chirnside brothers and then the Gardiner family.

As long as I can remember, I have considered the hard-working  trait displayed by the Hadden family to be thanks to their Scottish heritage, something they were proud of.  I don’t know why that is but the following is an excerpt from an article on St Andrew’s Day, 1922, which supports my theory.

ST. ANDREW'S DAY. (1922, November 30). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 6. Retrieved January 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63739163

William Hadden probably enjoyed “Advance Australia Fair” penned by a Scot, P. J. McCormick.  Happy Australia Day!

Advance Australia Fair!. (1938, January 26). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2451050


Surname Saturday Meme: Names, Places and Most Wanted Faces

Following the lead of U.S. genealogist Thomas MacEntee and  in turn Australian genealogist Jill Ball, I decided to take part in this meme.  It interested me more than others I had seen, because not only would I get my names “out there”, I also got the chance to do a stocktake.  What an interesting exercise it was.  With some names, I did not have to look up the details as I knew them so well, others I had to refer back to my tree, and for one name, I had basically nothing.

It’s easy to develop favourite families, with some just oozing information making them more compelling to research.  The Harmans are an example of that.  The Riddiford line was probably my least favourite  and despite it being my family name, I tended to pass it by. When I did starting seriously researching them, I found loads of information.  This avoidance was probably due to them being 20th century immigrants and my history interests lie in 19th century Australia.  I had no choice but to delve into 18th and 19th century English history and I have really enjoyed it and learnt a lot and I continue to do so.  I am glad I got over my previous mindset.

I also have more Irish links than I normally given myself credit for and I can now clearly see the branches I have been neglecting.

I have included the surnames of my great great grandparents, but I have taken the places and dates back a little further.  If not, I would have had entries with just a single place in Australia with no indication of where the family originated from.

To take part, just do the following at your own blog, then post a  link in the comments at Thomas’ blog post

1. List your surnames in alphabetical order as follows:

[SURNAME]: Country, (State or County, Town), date range;

2. At the end, list your Most Wanted Ancestor with details about them.

MY NAMES, PLACES AND MOST WANTED FACES:

BISHOP:  England (Dorset, Weymouth) 1825-1850; Australia (South Australia, Adelaide) 1850-1854;  Australia (Victoria, Byaduk)1854-1950

COMBRIDGE:  England (Huntingdonshire) 1833-1855;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong 1855-1935);  Australia (Victoria, Grantville) 1900-1950

DIWELL:  England (Sussex) 1825-1852;  Australia (Victoria, Casterton) 1852-1893;  Australia (Victoria, Hamilton) 1893-1940

GAMBLE:  England 1808-1840;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong) 1840-1850;  Australia (Victoria, Colac), 1850-present

HADDEN:  Scotland (East Lothian) 1823-1852;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong) 1852-1865;  Australia (Victoria, Cavendish) 1865-1975;  Australia (Victoria, Hamilton) 1900-present

HARMAN:  England (Cambridgeshire, Melbourn) 1800-1854;  Australia (New South Wales) 1852-1857;  Australia (Victoria, Port Fairy) 1852-1863;  Australia (Victoria, Byaduk) 1863-present

HODGINS:  Ireland (Fermanagh) 1816-1853;  Australia (Victoria, Colac) 1853-1940

HUNT:  England (Middlesex, Poplar) 1834-1854;  Australia (Victoria, Geelong) 1854-1865; Australia (Victoria, Collingwood) 1867- ;  Australia (Victoria, West Gippsland) 1880-1936

JELLY:  Ireland (Down, Drumgooland) 1815-1845;  England (Lancashire, Manchester) 1845-1854;  Australia (Victoria, Casterton) 1854-1900

KIRKIN:  England (London, Lambeth) 1859-1940;

MORTIMER:  England (Berkshire, White Waltham) 1823-1852;  Australia (Victoria, Cavendish) 1865-1930

PIDDINGTON:  England (Buckinghamshire, Cuddington) 1700s-1880

RIDDIFORD:  England (Gloucestershire, Thornbury) 1600s-present; England (Buckinghamshire, Cuddington) 1846-present;  England (London, Lambeth) 1896-1913; Australia (Victoria, Ballarat) 1913-present

WEBB:  England (Surrey, Clapham) 1845-1878; England (London, Lambeth) 1878-1900

WHITE:  England (Kent, Broadstairs) 1857-1876;  Australia (Victoria, Grantville) 1876-1950

WYATT:  ???

MOST WANTED ANCESTOR:

When I started this I thought my most wanted ancestor would be gg grandmother Mary Jane HODGINS.  She was born in Ireland around 1849, immigrated with her parents West HODGINS  and Martha BRACKIN in 1853 aboard the “Marion Moore” . She married Matthew GAMBLE in 1871 at Colac.  That is all I know except for the accident which saw Mary Jane loose the top of her finger, as mentioned in the post Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses.

However, when I looked at the completed list it seemed clear it had to be Jane WYATT, another gg grandmother and second wife of Herbert John COMBRIDGE.

I had previously found a birth for a Jane Wyatt born 1882, St Arnuad but this did not really add up, mainly because my Jane Wyatt married Herbert Combridge in 1895 in Gippsland.  If I searched the Australian Death Index 1787-1985, I find the death of Jane COMBRIDGE in 1909 at Grantville but with no approximate birth year or parents.

As I was writing this post, I decided to have a look around for Jane again.  I checked for people researching Combridges at Ancestry.com and found a reference to Jane’s birth in 1873.  I searched again with this birth date and that threw up something interesting.  There is a Jane Wyatt listed on the Victorian Index to the Children’s Register of State Wards, 1850-1893.  Her birth date is given as 1873, but no birth place.  This could be my Jane and it could explain the lack of parent names  and birth year on the Death index.

So, thanks to this exercise, I may have come a step closer to finding Jane Wyatt, but if she was a ward of the state, I may not be able to find anything else about her.  So if anyone has information on Mary Jane HODGINS and her family, I would love to her from you!


Histories of South-West Towns

I often look at the ABC Local radio websites, but usually only a page a link has led me to.  Recently I found myself on the ABC South West Victoria website, and decided to look around.  I discovered a series of radio interviews by Jeremy Lee entitled A-Z of the South West.  Recorded in 2010, the aim was to highlight the history of towns in the region.  The good news is that there are 45 towns featured, not just 26.  The towns include Macarthur, Caramut, Port Campbell, Branxholme and Casterton.

They are great interviews with local residents and historians, some have lived in their town all their life.  Topics covered  include town beginnings, past businesses, local attractions, prominent residents and the future outlook. I enjoyed Jim Kent talking about Casterton and his own contribution to the local population, 11 children, 40 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.  There are photos of each town too.

An understanding of local history is important when researching a family. It can explain why a family chose to settle in a town.  For example, Peter Watt  talks of  how Cavendish was a town of workers.  Many residents, both male and female, worked for the large stations close to the town such as Mokanger and Kenilworth.  Aside from a sawmill,  a couple of shops and a pub, there was no other employment opportunities except for the stations.  Two of my families, the Haddens and Mortimers, went to Cavendish primarily to work  at Mokanger station and they remained there most of their working lives.

The various ABC websites are a great resource.  I have since looked closer at some of the other ABC local radio websites and found that you can search by topic.  Clicking on the  “Community & Society” tab brings up a list of sub-topics, including “History”.  ABC Western Victoria currently has 86 history related stories available.  I have also subscribed to a RSS feed of stories tagged “history” so I don’t miss any.  Or take 15 months to stumble across.

To listen to the interviews follow the link:

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/06/03/3234418.htm?site=southwestvic


All Quiet By The Wannon

I first heard of the Mortimers when I asked Nana her grandparents’ names so I could start a family tree.  Her grandmother was Mary Mortimer from Cavendish, Victoria on the banks of the Wannon river.  Mortimer was not a name I was familiar with while growing up in Hamilton or a name mentioned with regard to relatives, but I soon found Mary’s birth at Mt William, her parents James and Rosanna.  I also managed to find her siblings, but not without some searching as it seems that with each birth registered, the spelling of the Mortimers’ names changed particularly Rosanna’s.

I was trying to form a picture of them, but like the family Mary married into, the Haddens, they were not ones to get in the newspaper, commit crimes, buy land or all those other ways that can help tell a story.  Some of my other ancestors, such as the Harmans , seem to get a mention everywhere.  Both the Mortimers and the Haddens were labourers, station hands and the like and they worked hard and more to the point, they kept to themselves, a trait that continued through the generations.

WANNON RIVER

WANNON RIVER

James Mortimer married Rosanna Buckland in 1844 in Cookham, Berkshire.  They immigrated on the “Bombay” which arrived in Port Phillip in December 1852.  They had four children aged one to eight.  In total, 24 passengers died on the voyage, typhoid the most common cause.   The ship was quarantined on arrival.

VICTORIA. (1852, December 24). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 4. Retrieved September 25, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38459768

Mary was born at Mt William  in 1853, and the remaining children were born at Cavendish.   James worked at Mokanger Station near Cavendish and was a ploughman when Mary married William Hadden.   Mary also worked at Mokanger as a servant and William Hadden worked as a station hand as did his father, CharlesMokanger station was one of many runs owned by the Chirnside brothers , Andrew and Thomas.

The next reference I found of  James Mortimer was his death on November 3, 1895.  An application for probate was made by Cavendish store owner, Robert Young.  James’ occupation at the time of his death was a carrier and his total assets were  to the value of £86.

I don’t know if Rosanna was dead or alive at this point.  I have never been able to find a record of her death which has proved a little frustrating.  Even trying all variations of her name, and there were many, I have come up with nothing.

Some variations found so far:

Rosannah BUCKLANDEngland Births & Christenings, 1538-1975

Rosanna BUCKLAND – England/Wales Marriage Record 1844, Cookham, Berkshire, England

Roseanna MORTIMER – 1851 Census, White Waltham, Berkshire, England

Rosannah BUCKLEN – birth record of Harriet, 1862 Cavendish, Victoria.  Family name listed as Mortimore

Rosanna BUCKLIN – birth record of Henry, 1868 Cavendish, Victoria.  Family name listed as Mortimore

Rossana BUCKLIN – marriage certificate of Mary Mortimer and William Hadden 1870 Cavendish, Victoria.

Extract from Marriage Certificate of William Hadden & Mary Mortimer, Victoria 1870

Rosannah BUCKLAND – death record of Annie Mortimer, 1879

At the entrance of the Cavendish Old Cemetery, a plaque lists the names of those buried without a headstone.  Five Mortimer names are listed:

MORTIMER – 1895

MORTIMER, Baby of Mr H Mortimer – 1891

MORTIMER, W –  1889

Mrs MORTIMER  – 1898

Mrs MORTIMER –  1899

“Mortimer 1895″ would be James.  Could Rosanna be one of the Mrs Mortimers?  If so, it would have to be “Mrs Mortimer 1899″ as “Mrs Mortimer 1898″ would most likely be Caroline wife of Stephen Mortimer, Rosanna and James’ son.  Caroline died in 1898.

Just when I thought this was as exciting as the Mortimers were going to get, I found two newspaper articles.  The Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser reported on July 22, 1862 that John Mahoney had faced the Hamilton Police Court charged with firing a gun at bullock driver, James Mortimer with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.  On October 2, 1862, Mahoney’s trial was heard by His Honour Mr Justice Williams.

The court heard James Moritmer was a bullock driver for the Chirnsides.  Heading to a saw mill near Hamilton, he was passing through a public section of the Mt Sturgeon station when confronted by Mahoney.  Using what the prosecution described as “very colonial epithets”,  Mahoney accused James of removing a part of the fence.  James told him he was a fool, but Mahoney said he would make him fix the fence.  James reply was “…it would take a better man than you to do that”.  It was then that Mahoney produced a pistol and shot at James, missing him.  Mahoney was found not guilty.

These two articles have given me a better idea of James’ character and helped confirm his work for the Chirnsides.  Given his location at the time of the incident, and his intended destination,  he could not have come from Cavendish, but probably one of the Chirnsides’ other runs, Mt William Station.  Mary Mortimer’s birth certificate gives her birth place as Mt William, so this must mean the Mt William station.  Therefore James was there from 1852 to 1862.  Interestingly, the year of the Mahoney incident is the same year in which the Mortimers appear in Cavendish.  Maybe James decided to move across to the Chirnsides’ Mokanger station near Cavendish to avoid further run-in’s with John Mahoney.  We will never know.  He would not have told anyone.


Mr Mortimer’s Daughters

Once again the Trove digitised newspapers have helped me out.  A casual search of “Mortimer” in The Portland Guardian threw up the death notice of Henry Mortimer published on September 13, 1948.

Henry Mortimer was the younger brother of Mary Mortimer, my gg grandmother who married William Hadden.  Henry was born at Cavendish in 1868 and married Sarah Ann Duggan in 1887.  They had four children, Edwin, George, Queenie and Lillian.  Queenie died as a baby.  In 1898, Sarah died leaving three children under 11.  The following year Henry remarried to Florence May Hardy and they had a further eight children, Grace, Amy, Beryl, Lance, Gilbert, Gwenda, David, Frances.  Florence died, in 1915, possibly as the result of the complications of childbirth as David was born in the same year.  She was only 38.

Up to that point, I had found that of the female children, Lillian had married Leslie Quarrel, Grace married David Wilson, Amy married John Taggart, Beryl had passed away as a baby and I had not found a marriage for Gwenda.

Family Notices. (1948, September 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64416130

When I found the notice, there were two things that stood out.  Olive (Amy Olive on her birth record) was not married to John Taggart and Gwen was married.

Olive was also known as June Olive just to complicate things.  I had previously found her  married name, Taggart, via the death records and on the Australian Electoral Rolls, where I found John William Taggart’s full name.  Who then was C. E. Cara?

Another search of the Australian Death indexes found Clarence Edgar Cara who died in 1947, while a further search of Trove found his notice of probate.

Advertising. (1947, May 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), p. 16. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22425225

This was most interesting and lead me to the National Archives of  Australia site to search naval records.  I found him there as a member of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant.  It shows Clarence was born on June 11, 1899 at Penzance, Cornwall (this brought visions of rollicking pirates!) and his wife was listed as June Olive Cara.

At the time of his enlistment in the Reserve, they were living at 65 Victoria Street, Sandringham.  By the time he died in 1947 they had moved to 11 Ebden Avenue, Black Rock, where June later lived with John Taggart.  It states that Clarence had died on April 6, 1947 but no reason was given except that Repatriation had accepted that his death was due to the war and that June would receive a pension.

A Google search of Clarence Cara  found him on the Australian National Maritime Museum website.  It listed the registration of Clarence’s Certificate of Competency on December 31, 1920 in Adelaide.

I thought I would search Trove for John Taggart.  I found his and June’s engagement notice.  June was proving she was not one to settle for the local Portland lads. Her fiancé was not just John William Taggart but Captain John William Cray-Taggart of London and Rangoon!

Family Notices. (1949, July 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), p. 6. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22766958

I also found two notices of Hotel transfer in The Argus.  The first was the transfer of the license of the Yambuk Hotel to John and June in 1950 and the second was the transfer of licence for the same hotel in 1951 by Olive and John to Phillip Harrison.  The 1954 Electoral Roll finds them at back at 11 Ebden Avenue, Black Rock and John’s occupation was listed as Saloon keeper.

HOTEL TRANSFER. (1951, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved June 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64430297

Gwendoline Lorna May Mortimer was and still remains difficult to find.  She was born in Hamilton in 1908.  My next encounter with her was the 1931 census, where she was living at the Homeopathic Hospital in South Melbourne which in 1934 became Prince Henry’s Hospital.  Her occupation was home duties.

Henry’s death notice gave the lead to the surname Bos.  I found Gwen on the 1942 Electoral Roll living in Brighton but no other person with the name Bos at the address.  Again in 1954, she is the only Bos living at 24 Spencer Road, Killara, New South Wales.  There are , however others with the Bos name living in the area.  After searching death records, Trove and WW2 records, I still have not found Mr A. Bos.  I am suspecting that he may not have enrolled to vote.  I am leaning toward an Abel Bos who died in Victoria in 1970.  I haven not been able to find Gwen’s passing.  But the search continues.

Without Henry Mortimer’s death notice, I would not have discovered much of this.  I would not have known of June’s (Olive, Amy) first marriage or of Gwen’s marriage to Mr Bos.  Aside from this Henry’s notice offers the place of residence for his children at the time of his death and names of his grandchildren and great children that would have been difficult to find otherwise. From this information, further searching of the newspapers has given me leads to Naval and hotel records and more.  Thanks again Trove!


The Fastest Ship in the World

On Boxing Day 1852, a clipper ship sailed into the port of Liverpool with a banner draped from its mast declaring it “The Fastest Ship in the World”.  The ship was the  New Brunswick built clipper “Marco Polo”.  The achievement, sailing from Liverpool to Melbourne and return in 175 days,  a world record at that time.  At the helm was Captain James Nicol “Bully” Forbes, a colourful and fearless character of the sea and a master of navigation.

Only five months before, 888 passengers, mostly emigrants, boarded the “Marco Polo” at Liverpool, England for the ship’s maiden voyage to Australia.  Of these,  661 were Scots, including my great, great, great grandfather Charles Hadden, his wife Agnes and sons, William and James.  They had made the journey from Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland to Liverpool,  to embark on a new life in Australia.  In the days before the voyage they would have been accommodated in the emigrant depot at Birkenhead before being loaded into the ship’s crowded  steerage.  The three decked ship was the largest at the time to sail to Australia and while it had rather plush fittings in some parts, for the emigrants conditions were poor.   The Haddens would have been accommodated amidships with the other families, in a small berth with little privacy.  With the firing of a cannon, the “Marco Polo” set sail on July 4, 1852 with Captain “Bully” Forbes intent on sailing to Australia and return in under six months.

Marco Polo Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

Forbes had charted a course which he was sure would cut the travel time, by way of the great circle route.  This would see the ship sail south down the east coast of South America, and then steering south-east of Cape Town toward Antarctica.  The path was as south as possible without getting too close to ice.  It was here Forbes caught the “Roaring Forties” winds travelling  East until he was able to head north into Bass Straight.  For the passengers, this meant enduring the extremes of weather.  As they passed through the Equator they would have felt incredible heat, and then freezing cold as they moved into the “Roaring Forties” and “Howling Fifties”.  Also disease, particularly measles was rife below deck.  The crowded conditions at the emigrant depot and then on the ship had seen its rapid spread.  Of the 327 children on board, 51 died along with two adults.

When the “Marco Polo” sailed into Port Phillip Bay on September 18, 1852  the Victorian Gold Rush was in full swing and Forbes’ greatest concern was keeping his crew on board the ship.  This was made more difficult when coming into dock, with boats surrounding the clipper and reportedly throwing small nuggets onto the decks.  Other ships’ captains had told of not being able to get crew no matter how high the wages offered.

ON TOM TIDDLER’S GROUND. (1932, November 9). Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909-1954), p. 13. Retrieved May 4, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41180687

Forty or so ships were causing a log jam  in Hobsons Bay.  Their crews had caught “gold fever” and had abandoned their posts.   So resolute  to return back to Liverpool quickly, Forbes had is own crew imprisoned for insubordination and when it was time to leave for England he paid their fines and returned them to the ship.  Despite his best efforts the time spent in port was 24 days, although without Forbes’ ingenuity it may have been longer.  Seventy-six days later the ship was sailing back up the Mersey, to dock at Liverpool, the world record journey complete.

The feat saw “Bully” Forbes retain the captaincy of the “Marco Polo” for another voyage to Australia in 1853 with 648 passengers, reduced from the previous voyage because of the learnt danger of overcrowding.    The ship was extensively renovated before the second voyage and was described at the time to be equal to a floating Crystal Palace.  The “Marco Polo” and Forbes brought over 1500 immigrants to Victoria in the two trips.  Forbes was then awarded the captaincy of the “Lightening” which he sailed to Australia in 1854.  From there he captained several other ships until his sea days ended in 1866.  He died in 1874 at only 52 years old but he had ensured his name would be remembered in maritime history.

The “Marco Polo” completed the round trip to Australia a total of 25 times in the 15 years after the first voyage with around 150,000 immigrants to Victoria.  From 1867, she was a cargo ship until 1883 when she was driven onto the shore at Prince Edward Island, Canada when found to be leaking badly during a cargo run.  A sad end for a ship that safely carried thousands of people to a new life in Australia.   In New Brunswick,  Canada, the “Marco Polo” is remembered proudly and The Marco Polo Project is overseeing the building of a replica ship. The “Marco Polo” is not as celebrated in Australia, but a large number of Australians today would have had ancestors arrive here thanks to the speedy clipper.

What of the Haddens?  Records show they left the Marco Polo at Hobsons Bay in September 1852 and made their own way to Melbourne, most likely to the Canvas Town in South Melbourne, a “tent city” for the thousands of  immigrants.  A son was born at “The Ruins” Mokanger Station near Cavendish in 1864 where they eventually settled.   But more about them later.

For further reading about the “Marco Polo” , the book Marco Polo  The Story of the Fastest Clipper by Martin J. Hollenberg (Chatham Press, London, 2006) has an extensive history of the ship.  Two interesting newspaper articles I found at the NLA’s Trove site,  also tell the story of both the Marco Polo and Captain “Bully” Forbes


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