Tag Archives: Harman

Ship Mates

The Casterton Historical Society newsletters, as featured in Nifty Newsletters, ran a series of extracts from the book Tales of Casterton: the Waines murder and other stories by Jack Gorman.  In the September 2005 issue, Part 1 of the story stated that convicted murderer George Waines arrived in Victoria aboard the Duke of Richmond.

This is a particularly interesting find as my ggg grandmother, Margaret Diwell, who appeared as a witness at George’s murder trial, also arrived on the Duke of Richmond, along with her husband William.  This answers the question has to how she came to know the Waines, other than the fact they lived reasonably close together.

I have a database of Duke of Richmond arrivals and  I did a search but no George Waines.  I then went to an online passenger list of the Duke of Richmond that I often refer back to.  No George Waines.

So a-Troving I went.  An article from the Bendigo Advertiser, reporting on the hanging of Waines, supported his arrival on the Duke of Richmond.  But there seems to have been a case of mistaken identity Waines was keen to amend before his death.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

I did find a George Waines in the Australian Convict Transportation Registers(1791-1868) .  Convicted in Warwickshire,  he left England for Tasmania in 1843.

Back to the Duke of Richmond passenger list.  George’s wife was Jane so I thought I would look at  first names instead of surnames.  Sure enough, there was a George and Jane Whainer both aged 29 from Yorkshire.  George’s age matches his birth date of 1823, but Yorkshire?  Both the  Casterton Historical Society Newsletter and the article above, state George was born in Dorset, England, with the Bendigo Advertiser narrowing it down to Sherborne.

Back to Trove and look what I found:

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

George was from Yorkshire, Sherburn as opposed to Sherborne, Dorset.  This and the claim George “was one of the most notorious poachers in the district” helps support something I found on the England and Wales, Criminal Registers (1791-1892).  In 1849, George Waines of Yorkshire was sentenced to  three months imprisonment on a charge of larceny.  Maybe he wasn’t as squeaky clean as he wanted people to believe.  No matter the impression he tried to project, nothing could save him from the gallows.

Using FreeBDM I found a marriage of  George Waines in 1847, registered in the Scarborough district of Yorkshire.  From the same Volume there are two Janes, Jane Winter and Jane Jewett

That settled, back to the original aim of my post, the friendship between Margaret Diwell and the Waines, particularly Jane.  So it seems they met on the Duke of Richmond, the same ship another set of ggg grandparents sailed on, James and Susan Harman.  The Diwells spent around five years in Portland after arrival, then they went to Casterton in 1858.    The CHS newsletter says  that once in Casterton, the Diwells lived close to both the Waines and the Hunts.  As the Hunts purchased land off George Waines in 1856 at Casterton, the Waines must have arrived in town before the Diwells.

It sounds like Jane Waines would have been a good friend.  The CHS newsletter describes her as “a comely woman, a vivacious personality full of joy and fun…” . George was not described  in such a favourable way, although he did hold Jane in high regard.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

Of course I did wonder what happened to Jane after George’s death.  George had thoughts about what she should do.

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

On the Victorian Marriage Index, a Jane Waines married Thomas James Brooks in 1861.  From there I lose her.  I can not find a death record for either Jane or a Thomas James Brooks that I can definitely say is them.  I can’t get a lead on the town Jane lived in so that is making it hard to search for her at Trove.  I wonder if she stayed on in Casterton?  Did Margaret Diwell see her again?  Did Margaret and Jane’s relationship falter during the trial period, given Margaret also knew Mrs Hunt well.  So many questions.

As the Harmans were also on the Duke of Richmond, I have a picture in my mind of James Harman, back in 1860 in Port Fairy, looking up from his paper of choice, maybe the Belfast Gazette and remarking “Do you remember the Waines and the Diwells from the ship Susan?”


Trove Tuesday – Longevity

From the Portland Guardian of January 4, 1951, comes some longevity facts.

One of the families in the article are the Guthridges of Carapook and Charam.  It was the story of the patriarch of this family,  Richard Charles Guthridge, that inspired me to hit the microfiche readers around 20 years ago and begin the search for my family.  The Herald-Sun ran an article about Richard and his long-lived family.  Nana cut it out as it mentioned the married names of the Guthridge girls with Hadden, Nana’s maiden name, one of them.

Of course, we thought we must be related to this great pioneer in some way.  Well we weren’t.  My Haddens were from Scotland and the Hadden boys, James and William, that married into the Guthridge family were from Ireland.  Maybe the Irish Haddens could have been originally Scots, but as I would have to go back to the early 1800s,  I don’t think I’m that desperate to find a distant link.

The article gives the total age of ten members of the Guthridge family as 768 years.  It also mentions the Humphries family of Hamilton with an average age of 60.

 

LONGEVITY IN FAMILIES. (1951, January 4). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY.. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64427264

LONGEVITY IN FAMILIES. (1951, January 4). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY.. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64427264

There is no doubt that the Guthridge family, with all 10 siblings alive when the youngest was 68 ( Richard lived to 95), was a big effort, but is the Humphries family average remarkable?

When I look at my families, most of them have had siblings that died at a young age and as far we know, all the Humphries were alive in 1951, with the youngest 50.

When I  averaged the ages of  the Harman children that came to Australia, using their age in the year of  brother James Harman’s death, aged 86, I get an average age of 75.  Fantastic, but I cheated because Reuben died in 1883 and I didn’t count his age or the siblings that died before the family left England.  The Harmans have, however, also had an article published about their longevity.

    Family's Longevity. (1929, September 10). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67674788

Family’s Longevity. (1929, September 10). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67674788

The Hadden family is a little more accurate.  If I average the ages in the year the first sibling  passed away, Margaret in 1927, I get an average age of 69.  That’s really good.  The ages were 80, 77, 74, 66, 63, 55.   My gg grandfather William was the 80-year-old and he was still working at Mokanger Station at that time.

Have I sent you scurrying for the calculator?  Let me know your best average age.


In The News – November 24, 1941

The Portland Guardian of November 24, 1941 heralded the 100th birthday of Heywood, a small town about 25 kms north of Portland.  The article remembered The Bell family and their contribution to Heywood’s settlement.  I recently  introduced to you my family link to the Bells in a Trove Tuesday post – A Matter of Relativity about Amelia Harman.  Amelia married Christopher Bell, a grandson of John and Elizabeth Bell.

John Bell and his wife Elizabeth Morrow, left Ireland in 1841 with eight children in tow, some were adults, and sailed to Australia aboard the “Catherine Jamison“.  Five months after their departure, the Bells had settled at Mount Eckersley, a few kilometres north of Heywood.

 

 

 

Great contributors to Western Victorian racing, the family were good friends with poet Adam Lindsay Gordon.  William Bell was with Gordon when he made his mighty leap at Blue Lake, Mt. Gambier.

The Department of Primary Industries cites the height of Mt Eckersley as 450 feet (137 metres) but that didn’t stop John Bell, at the age of 101, from climbing the volcano, only months before his death.

As a family known for longevity, twin sons Henry and James lived to 92 and 97 respectively.  At one time they were Australia’s oldest living twins.

HEYWOOD IS ONE HUNDRED. (1941, November 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64402492

All of this is well and good but is it all true?  John’s year of death is recorded as 1885, with his birth about 1787.  That would have made him around 97/98, short of the 101 reported.  Still, if he did climb Mt.Eckersley, to do it aged 97/98  was still a mean feat, but John may not have been a centenarian.  The family notice in the Hamilton Spectator at the time of his death gives his age as 98.

There could also be a discrepancy with the year the Bells settled at Mt Eckersley.  The Bells did arrive on the Catherine Jamieson on October 22, 1841 to Port Phillip.  The newspaper article says they were in Heywood by November 1841.  The Glenelg and Wannon Settlers site states John Bell settled at Mt Eckersly in 1843.

A further reminder to not always believe what you read in the papers.


Trove Tuesday – Time for a Song

The Port Fairy Gazette has a lot of Byaduk news and I just love this treasure from May 31, 1915.   Australia celebrated Empire Day on May 24 from 1905.  School children participated in patriotic singing and speeches and flags adorned buildings.  The children had a holiday from school in the afternoon.  May 24 was also Cracker Night and in the evening people would gather around bonfires and let off fireworks.

Empire Day 1915 saw ggg grandfather James Harman visit the Byaduk State School and address the children.   He then sang “Just Before the Battle, Mother” and I’m pleased to see he “delighted” the children.  At age 85, he was only a year away from his passing.

BYADUK. (1915, May 31). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94725183

“Just Before the Battle, Mother” was an American civil war song but given it was in the midst of WW1, it was apt.  If you have not heard the song before, click on the play button below to hear a rendition courtesy of Soundcloud and P. Murray.


Trove Tuesday – Advertisements

Having been a media student, I do like to look at advertisements and some of the ads in the old newspapers at Trove are absolute treasures.  I came across this group of advertisements recently in the The Mercury, Hobart from May 21, 1917.  The were all found on Page 7, otherwise dominated by racing news.  Only one, a Havelock tobacco advertisement, was directed at the person in the house most likely to read that section of the paper.

Just as they do today, the advertisement play on the insecurities of consumers.  In these examples they include ‘Am I a good mother/housekeeper?”  and “Am I as attractive/fashionable as I can possibly be?”  Buying the featured products would miraculously take away those insecurities.  Or so the advertisers wanted consumers to believe and still do.

Online shopping was not available in 1917, but the same excitement could be experienced when a mail order parcel arrived in the mail box.  Aimed at the country lady (hence the necessity to ride to the mail box), this advertisement makes the reader feel they could be missing out on something if they did not buy from Andrew Mather & Co, with “thousands of satisfied customers.  Are you one?”

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

My post on Spring Fashion, explained the change of dress length during WW1.  This advertisement heralded a new era in ladies footwear.  No longer could shoes be hidden under a lady’s skirt.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

If it’s good enough for the washerwoman….This Robur advertisement targets both the well-to-do lady of the house and those struggling to make ends meet.  The washerwoman shamed the households that bought “cheap rubbish”” to serve to their staff, and maybe even their guests,  and reassured those on lower incomes that Robur worked out cheaper because it went further and even the finest grades were affordable.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

Buying Edmonds Baking Powder was a must for becoming a better home economist.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

What a great product Lane’s Emulsion must have been.  It cured Mrs Collison’s daughter of asthma!  All it took was six bottles…poor Ella.  Testimonials in advertisements where very common.  In fact, you may find that a relative gave a testimonial.  While researching Sarah Harman’s son, Alfred James Oakley, I found that he had given a testimonial for  Mr Lum the Chinese herbalist from Stawell.  Apparently Mr Lum’s herbal medicines returned Mrs Oakley to full health, something three months under the care of doctors in Melbourne could not do.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

An interesting choice of ads to place side by side.  Both  play on a housewife’s doubts about herself, with the ad on the left suggesting experienced housewives know Rex Lorraine Smoked Sausages are “good and fresh”.  Buy them and you too will be a success.  Just “pop the tin in boiling water”, so convenient and  no greasy pan to wash!  Trouble is they don’t sound very appetising.  If  the smoked sausages in jelly caused an outbreak of pimples, Cuticura was the answer.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

The pimple cream ad. and this one for Russian Hair Restorer, show us that women 100 years ago did care about their appearance.  All that was needed for beautiful hair was a Russian potion.  And what a potion it must have been, supposedly having the power to return grey or faded hair back to a natural colour while stimulating growth.

THE TURF. (1917, May 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1074308

So next time your browsing the Trove newspapers, check out the advertisements.   Learning about our ancestor’s  food, entertainment, dress and more can go a long way towards understanding their lives.


Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

Transport is important to us in one form or another. If nothing else it sure beats walking.   However, the subjects of this installment of Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses should have stuck to Shank’s pony.

Click on the links to read each article in full.

HORSES

Described as an “energetic” gentleman, Fred Heathcote, having just displayed his cricketing prowess on the field, gave a display of his riding prowess.  Unfortunately, his mount was  freshly broken and reared, falling onto Fred.  Despite an operation in excess of four hours, Fred was expected to make a full recovery

“Look what I’ve done, I’ve broken both my wrists” were the words uttered by Frank Millard upon seeking help after a horse accident.  Frank’s horse had taken him under a low branch.

In 1896,the horse of William Lucas shied at two dogs and somersaulted.  William received concussion, the horse was shaken.

A witness description of the accident involving John Beglin in 1894, suggested the horse “danced on the man while on the ground”  This sounds like it was rather a spectacular fall in which John sustained possible internal injuries.

HORSE DRAWN VEHICLES

Add a wooden attachment to horse, laden with people,  and accidents are bound to happen.  Take, for example, Patrick Power of Byaduk in 1889. The Port Fairy Cobb & Co coach was not far from Koroit when it broke an axle and tipped.  The coach driver fell on top of Patrick leaving him in need of medical attention

Not so lucky was  Oliver Filmer also of Byaduk. In early January 1900, Oliver and six others were returning from an outing to the Byaduk Caves when the horses bolted down a hill.  The buggy went over an embankment and capsized.  All the occupants were thrown out, including Oliver who sustained head injuries and later died.  Oliver was father-in-law to Absalom Harman, the son of Reuben.

In 1901, Mr H. J. Thompson was standing on the back board of a buggy as it went up a steep hill near Wickliffe.  The buggy wheel fell into a rut, Mr Thompson fell forward and hit the wheel with his leg.  Suffering lacerations and a dislocated knee, he was still able to catch the train home from the Wickliffe station.

Thursday April 20, 1876 was a day of accidents and  Mr & Mrs Webley  and their daughter, all of Byaduk, were caught up in the dramas.  While returning from Hamilton to Branxholme in the darkness, a pin holding the buggy shaft fell out and Mr Webley turned the horse across the road to stop it, but the horse went up an embankment, dropping Miss Webley out the back.  The horse then continued on down a cutting and Mr & Mrs Webley tumbled out.  Mr Webley received cuts, Mrs Webley, a broken arm and Miss Webley was not injured.

Similarly, on the same day, Alfred Bennett had a hair-raising experience when his horse, pulling a dog-cart, bolted.

Lucky Hector McDougall had “no dangerous consequences” after his accident when he tangled with a dray’s wheel.

Table Talk. (1864, December 5). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64632822

Mr Blackney, was left with cake on his face after an incident in Hamilton in 1942.  While his back was turned, his horse bolted, pulling a cart laden with cakes.

CAKES FLEW WHEN HORSE BOLTED. (1942, September 15). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72705327

I’m sure a piece of cake helped residents recover from their “mild shock” at finding cakes at their front gates.

After a fun day at the Byaduk Coronation Celebrations in 1911, which included a fancy dress football match, the Smith Familyof Warrabkook met with disaster while travelling home.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT BYADUK. (1911, June 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73162971

CARS & MOTORCYCLES

If horses and carts weren’t bad enough, throw cars and motorcycles into the mix, and disaster was almost ensured, especially if they all came together at once.  It also appears that with only a lucky few having a motor vehicle in the early days, it was not unusual to pile as many people into the car as possible.

Driving a Damlier home from a day’s shooting at Kirkstall in 1914, George Lock and his four passengers came to grief on the Port Fairy Road on the outskirts of Warrnambool.  It was 7.15pm and the road was dark and narrow.  George, having moved aside for an oncoming car, failed to see the unlit cart of a Chinese market gardener following behind the car.  His car hit the cart sending vegetables across the road.  Debris hit the car’s steering wheel sending the car out of control and into a fence and embankment, throwing the occupants from the car.  George Robinson received the most serious injuries, a ruptured liver.  The Chinese gentleman was lucky to avoid injury and was last seen chasing his horse, also very lucky, down the road.

T.S.A Laidlaw had a scary experience in his new Oldsmobile after leaving Byaduk bound for Macarthur.  The car got into the gravel, crossed the road, went over a prostrate telegraph pole, up an embankment and then overturned.  The car was extensively damaged, Mr Laidlaw wasn’t.

Robert Rymill, a 38-year-old grazier from Penola met a tragic end in a very early motoring accident.  In 1906, he was driving his 15hp Darracq from Melbourne home to Penola when he failed to take a sharp turn at the bottom of a hill, taken while travelling at 12mph.  The car’s wheels slipped and it overturned.  Robert’s passenger, his young gardener was thrown clear, but Robert was pinned underneath the car.  While initially conscious, Robert had passed away by the time help arrived.  This was despite the best attempts of his passenger.

If you are wondering what a Darracq looks like, this clip shows a much more powerful 1905 model travelling a lot faster than 12mph, but you get the idea.

Mr Dotzauer, in 1904, was riding his motorcycle between Terang and Noorat when a horse ran across his path. Mr Doutzauer broke his collar-bone, damage to the motorcycle and horse unknown.

Mrs Living got more than she bargained for when she hitched a ride in Mr E.J.Coopers sidecar one Friday night in 1932.

HORSE JUMPS INTO SIDE-CAR. (1932, April 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved October 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72600659

Len Austin’s accident was caused by a truck tyre, but no, it didn’t run over him.  While working as a road contractor, he noticed a bulge in the truck’s tyre.  The tyre suddenly blew and the expelled air caught him the eye.

Messrs. W Smith and Michael Hickey’s day took a turn for the worse in 1923 while driving a gig with a saddle horse tied to the shafts.  A car with five occupants approached and the saddle horse, obviously not used to the mechanical beasts, shied and found itself on top of the car.  The car rolled, but with plenty of help on hand, it was righted and the driver and his passengers continued on to Horsham.  The horse’s journey ended at the scene.


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.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 171 other followers

%d bloggers like this: