Tag Archives: Harman

H is for…

If ever there was a time to enter the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the  Alphabet challenge, that time would be now.  “H” has a arrived.

When my descendants look back at my HISTORY, they will see the letter “H” recurring.

The marriage of Sarah Elizabeth HARMAN and Thomas HADDEN in 1904 brought together two of my “H”‘s.  They settled in HAMILTON and had a daughter, my nana Linda HENRIETTA HADDEN.

Thomas HADDEN & Sarah HARMAN

Sarah HARMAN was not the only one in her family to keep her initials after she married.  Her sister Ellen married a HANKS and she became Ellen HANKS of HARRIET Street HORSHAM.

HADDEN and HARMAN are two of the four main family names that make up the maternal side of my family.

HAMILTON too, features in my HISTORY.  Nana was born there and I was too.

Looking across Melville Oval, HAMILTON

I lived in HAMILTON for 18 years, the town that was formally called the Grange.  If that name had remained, my entry in this challenge may have been “G” for Grange, Gamble and the Grampians.

Nana’s middle name was HENRIETTA  which I used to find quite amusing.   Later I learnt that her name came from her great-aunt HENRIETTA HARMAN, an HONOURABLE lady but one, it would seem, with a lonely HEART.

Linda HENRIETTA HADDEN (left) & her younger sister, Enda

Another “H” which will go down as part of my HISTORY is HALLS GAP in the HEART of the Grampians.  Many HOLIDAYS were spent there and, at times, it has been a place I have called HOME.

HALLS GAP in the HEART of the Grampians

May my HISTORY also show that I liked HORSES.  It was HORSES in HAMILTON, HORSES in HALLS GAP and HORSES on HOLIDAYS in HALLS GAP, HORSES everywhere.

Finally, my HOBBIES include the HISTORY of  HADDEN, HALLS GAP, HAMILTON, HARMAN and, of course, HORSES.

HORSES in HALLS GAP

So, when I get over my obvious preference for the letters “M” and “R”, I can safely say “H” is one of my favourite letters as so much close to my HEART starts with “H”

***Apologies to the, HAZELDINE, HICKLETON, HODGINS,  HOLMES, HUNT and HURRELL families to whom I also have links.


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?


Volcanoes Revisited

I wrote about the volcanoes of Western Victorian and the South-East of South Australia in the post “Western District Volcanoes – Are They Sleeping?”.  It has been a popular topic so I thought I would share this new video found at You Tube about the volcanoes of Mt. Gambier, South Australia by Geoff Oliver.

This is the first in a series Geoff will present on the Volcanic sites in the area including the south-west of Victoria.  I look forward to seeing if Geoff will visit the Harman Valley.


Nina’s Royal Inspiration

Watching the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant, made me think of how much Nana would have enjoyed it.  She loved everything royal, and while she was not always a regular reader of the Australian Women’s Weekly like Grandma Riddiford was, you could always count on her buying issues with the British royal family on the cover.  Not to mention the special publications for events such as the marriage of Charles and Diana and the birth of their sons.

It also reminded me of  an article I found at Trove of another Harman descendent and her link to the Australian Women’s Weekly and how she found royalty inspiring.

Nina Harman was born in 1895 at Barnawartha, Victoria, daughter of Walter Graham Harman and Ann Gray, and grandaughter of George Hall Harman and Rebecca Graham.  In 1921, Nina married engineer, Jonathan Welsh. During the 1940s and 50s the couple were living at Wattle Vale, near Nagambie.

Nina took up tapestry around 1952 when Jonathan became ill as she found it “soothing”.  They later moved to Ivanhoe, Victoria and Jonathan passed away in 1961.  Her carpet, pictured in the “Weekly” on July 6, 1966, helped her overcome the loneliness brought about by the death of her husband.

 

SHE STITCHES CARES AWAY. (1966, July 6). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 12. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44024749

What amazes me is that the carpet cost $1200 in materials and was insured for $5000.  How much would that be today?

Queen Mary’s own tapestry carpet inspired Nina.  The Queen completed the carpet  in 1950 at which time she donated it to the British Government to sell and retain the funds.  Queen Mary worked tirelessly on the carpet despite pain from sciatica.

QUEEN DEFIANT. (1950, February 8). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49696596

The Queen passed away in 1953.  The following article which appeared in the Woman’s Weekly on April 8, 1950 may have helped inspire Nina.

Queen Mary’s carpet. (1950, April 8). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 11. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55184154

 

Nina passed away in 1985 aged 90.  I wonder how many more tapestries she completed over the 20 years after her “Weekly” appearance?

 

 

 

 

 


Everybody Happy?

This is the third draft of this post and definitely the last.  Researching this subject has taken me through several twists and turns.  I’ve gone from happy dancing around the room, to slumped over the keyboard with frustration to happy dancing around the room again.

In my post Left Behind, I alluded to a discovery which linked  Mary Ann Harman to Australia.  It was Passenger Lists which led me to my subject and those same Passenger Lists which have contributed to my despair, leaving me desperately searching for answers.

So far, I have bookmarked close to 100 newspaper articles, watched film archive footage, listened to sound archive footage, read musical scores and entered into a lost world of entertainment, vaudeville.  I have gone from the stages of the Bristol Hippodrome to the Melbourne Tivoli, from the BBC to the ABC.

Basically, I could not share this story until I knew the truth.

So without further ado, let me introduce to you the star of the show -

!!!!!!!!!RUPERT HAZELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!RUPERT HAZELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rupert Alexander Hazell was born in West Ham, London in 1887 .  He was the son of Charles George Hazell and Harriett Sarah Loats, daughter of Mary Ann Harman and granddaughter of  Byaduk pioneers, Joseph and Sarah Harman.  Charles Hazell worked on the wharves and Rupert followed him there to work, first for the Royal Naval Stores and then the Port Authority.

But Rupert’s heart was not in it.  He was funny, a born comedian.  Despite passing the necessary examinations to enter the Civil Service and in turn delighting his parents, he wanted to share his humour.  With that and his musical talent, he said goodbye to the Civil Service.

In 1913, he formed his first partnership, marrying Florence Adele McKnight at Kingston, Surrey.  Adele worked as a saleswoman at a costumers and is possibly where she met Rupert.  Years later, it would be revealed that Rupert had a great interest in ladies’ stage costume.

The following year their son was born and christened with the same name as his father, Rupert Alexander.

Rupert was already treading the boards when he enlisted for WW1 in 1916, listing his occupation as entertainer.  He was an acting sergeant in an English hospital, one that saw ANZAC troops as patients.

It was writing songs for Music Hall star George Robey, that saw his career take off.  From there he was impressing Wal Pink and vaudeville director Albert De Courville.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF HUMOR. (1927, February 5). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 14. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40762292

Radio came to England in 1920 with Dame Nellie Melba making one of the first broadcasts on  Marconi’s test station,  2MT  at Essex. Rupert too was one of those early broadcasters, being one the first comedians signed by the Marconi Company.  The Marconi Company evolved into the BBC in 1922, with whom Rupert broadcast with for at least the next two decades.

In 1922, Rupert travelled to New York for Broadway show, Pins and Needles co-written by De Courville and Pink, with lyrics co-written by Rupert.  He also appeared in the show for the month of February.

The 1923 Royal Command Performance was Rupert’s next big appearance, before King George V and Queen Mary.  After this event, advertising for his shows promoted him as “The Man who Made the King Laugh”.

In 1925, Rupert Hazell hit Australian shores for a tour of the Tivoli circuit.  With soprano, Miss Elsie Day (her stage name), they toured Sydney and Melbourne with both critical and popular acclaim.

The visit turned into a four-year stay, with Hazell not returning to London until 1929.  During the time he became a radio star with the ABC with stints in all the Australian capital cities and New Zealand.

Always accompanied by Elsie Day, their vaudeville act consisting of Rupert’s jokes and Elsie’s songs.  Taking on a clown like appearance, Rupert had wild hair and a funny little hat. Elsie was always dressed in her famous crinoline dresses.  Rupert greeted audiences with the familiar opening:

“Hello People. Everybody happy?”

This advertisement for the Tivoli , Melbourne has Rupert and Elsie on the bill with their show “Harmonylarity”

[No heading]. (1925, November 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 32. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page443364

Around the Studios. (1929, September 5). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37675276

By 1928, Rupert Hazell was well-known around Australia thanks to radio broadcasts, vaudeville shows and speaking engagements with groups such as Rotary.  According to the The Register (S.A), Rupert and Elsie were the first performers to fly between venues.

BY AIR TO BROADCAST. (1928, July 31). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 14. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57063715

POPULAR ARTISTS ON THE AIR. (1928, August 1). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 14. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article29283864

Not only was Rupert a comedian, broadcaster and composer, in 1925 while in Australia he  patented his invention the Cellocordo, an instrument like the Phonofiddle invented by A.T. Howson.  Rupert also played the Phonofiddle but also did much to promote his version.

Display Advertising. (1926, March 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 20. Retrieved May 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3741055

MUSICIAN aka HAZELL AND DAY

Copyright Image courtesy of the British Pathe www.britishpathe.com. Click on the image to go through to the British Pathe website to view this and other footage of Rupert.

It is around this time in Rupert’s life where questions start to come up.  I had read many articles at Trove about the pair’s 1920s visit and a later visit in 1933-34.  On several occasions newspapers reported Elsie as Rupert’s wife.  If “Miss Elsie Day” was a stage name, was I to assume that her real name was Florence McKnight?

It was a search at the UK National Archives that uncovered a record of divorce served on Rupert Alexander Hazell by Florence Adele McKnight in 1929.  The same year  they both supposedly returned from Australia.  But why did Rupert continue to perform with Elsie into the 1930s and beyond if she was Florence?

I had to find out the true identity of “Miss Elsie Day”.  I went back to the Passenger Lists and once again studied Rupert’s entries.  One would expect that Miss Day would travel using her real name.

There was another “Hazell” listed on three occasions.  The first was in 1929 on their return to London.  Accompanying Rupert on the voyage was Eva Hazell, vocalist.  Very interesting. Also interesting was they each listed a different residence on their return to London,  Rupert at 74 Cornhill, London and “Eva Hazell” at 28 Salmon Road, Kent.

In the later records, 1932 from South Africa and 1934 from Brisbane, Rupert was travelling with Sarah Eva Hazell.  Their address was the same, 13 The Fairway, North Wembley.   The 1932 record listed Sarah as “wife” and on the 1934 record as “soprano”.  On each record there was a 15 year age difference between Rupert and Eva, when there was only a two year difference in age between Rupert and Florence.

Eva.  That name rung a bell.  I had found a marriage record from 1931 listing  Rupert Alexander Hazell marrying a woman with the surname Pank.  Further investigation revealed her full name was Eva Pank.  I had initially assumed this record was for Rupert junior as I thought Rupert senior was happily married to Florence “Elsie Day” McKnight.  I also found the death record for Sarah Eva Hazell from 1988.  Things were starting to look a lot different.

I was now working on the assumption that “Miss Elsie Day” was Sarah Eva Pank.   That would mean when Rupert and “Elsie” were in Australia the first time, they were not married.  Then, on their arrival back in England, Florence was waiting with divorce papers.  Two years later in 1931, Rupert finally married his”Miss Elsie Day” and they returned to Australia, legally man and wife.  But I could not make such claims without proof.

Back to Trove and I began to read through articles from the first visit, comparing them to the second.  Was there any way reporting on their relationship was different on each visit?  I analysed every interview looking for clues.  With no paparazzi following the couple, there were no scandalous rumours, but there were some differences.

On the earlier visit,  articles mentioned Rupert Hazell appearing with Miss Elsie Day or his partner Miss Elsie Day.  On one occasion “The Register” (Adelaide) reported Elsie was Rupert’s wife and he referred to her as his “little grandmother”.

BROADCASTING. (1928, July 11). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 13. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57056909

BRIGHT COMEDY VAUDEVILLE. (1928, February 15). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 25. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21223381

After the formal reporting on the “relationship” during the 1920s visit, the first article after they stepped off the boat at the Perth on their return to Australia was totally different:

A BROADCASTING STAR. (1933, December 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32777824

I love this article.  They couple were certainly living the good life.

ATTRACTIVE PERTH GIRLS. (1934, January 23). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved May 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32795395

Getting copies of  divorce papers were a possibly but a quote of £63 for a digital copy was it making less of option, although I was getting desperate. I then remembered a comment on a photo on Flickr from the ABC Archive.

The photo is of Rupert and “Elsie” to the right with 3LO Melbourne’s Fred Williams.  The comment, from Claire, mentioned that Elsie Day and Rupert were her gg aunt and uncle.  Before I parted with my money for the divorce record, I would contact Claire.

A prompt reply came back with the contents giving me cause to happy dance around the room once again.  Claire told me Elsie Day’s real name was Eva Pank or Sarah Eva Pank.  She was Claire’s gg aunt on her maternal side.  Claire’s dad has a tree at Genes Reunited which I will check out when I finally get this post finished.

I had noticed advertisements from 1924/5 for the Bristol Hippodrome with Rupert performing his show “Harmonylarity” accompanied by Eva Parke.  I now believe that was Sarah Eva Pank and that was when their relationship begun.

I can now move on.   There is so much more I could tell you about Rupert Hazell’s life.  His philosophies of comedy and the audience , topics he spoke of regularly, are a fascinating insight into early 20th century entertainment.  I also tried to strip back the grease paint to find the “real” Rupert and revealed a complex, intelligent man not afraid to give his opinion, especially about his own talents.

Determination and hard work took him from the ports of London to the stages of the world.  He saw comedy move from vaudevillian  performances, to radio and in his last years, television, a medium he would have enjoyed being a part of, but I have no evidence of his involvement.  Rupert passed away in 1958 at Hampstead, London aged 71.

When I first discovered Rupert, my only question was if the Harman family in Australia knew of him.  I feel they probably had no idea of their family link as contact between the Harmans of England and Australia may have ended once Mary Ann passed away in 1873.  All the same, it is nice to think Sarah Harman of Flemington, aged in her early 80s by that time, may have tuned her wireless to 3LO and listened to her great-nephew Rupert.

Am I happy?  Yes I am Rupert!

                                                                                                                                                                                     

THANKS

I must thank Alison Rabinovici who has researched Rupert and his Cellocordo, including for a piece at the Jon Rose Web Project site.  She replied to my enquiry promptly and offered many places to look for further information.  She has since followed up with more contacts and I thank her for all her help.

I big thank you must go to Claire Hardy, the gg niece of Sarah Eva Pank.  Without her, I would still be tearing out my hair spending every waking moment reading, rereading and analysing.  Thanks to Claire I can now move on to something else.  Some would suggest housework…

                                                                                                                                                                                      

SOURCES

1891, 1901, 1911 England Census

British Army WW1 Pension Records (1914-1920)

British Newspaper Archive

British Pathe

England & Wales Death Index (1916-2005)

England & Wales Marriage Index (1916-2005)

Flickr

FreeBDM

Hippodrome Bristol

National Archives of Australia

Papers Past

Trove Australia

The Jon Rose Web Project

The National Archives (UK)

UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960


Left Behind

I have told you about the original Harmans of Byaduk and their time in Cambridgeshire, their journey to Australia and their life beyond.  What I haven’t told you about is the family members that were left in England.

Yes, Joseph and Sarah Harman had children that did not make the voyage to Australia, thus never getting the opportunity to live the long and prosperous lives of their siblings.

For most of the children, it was death that robbed them of the life changing experience.  For Mary Ann, the eldest living daughter, it seems marriage and children sealed her fate.

The children of Joseph and Sarah that did not travel to Australia were:

 

James:  Born 1827, Cambridgeshire, Died 1827, Cambridgeshire

Mary Ann:  Born 1829, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire; Died 1873, Poplar, London.

Alfred:  Born 1833, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire; Died 1851, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire

Arthur: Born 1842, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Died ?

Ann:  Born 1847, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Died ?

Betsy/Elizabeth:  Born 1849, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Died ?

 

James was first born of Joseph and Sarah but he died as a baby.  Alfred was the fourth born child and he appears on the 1841 England Census.  His death was registered in January 1851 thus missing the 1851 England Census.

It was that census in 1851 that Arthur, Ann and Betsy appeared, all born after the 1841 England Census.  The question is, what happened to them between 1851 and 1854 when Joseph and Sarah and three children sailed for Sydney?  I have not found death or marriage records for these three children.

Second born child and eldest daughter Mary Ann was married in 1847.  Her husband was James Loats, who was living with his family in the same street as the Harmans, Drury Lane, Melbourn.  After their marriage they continued to live in Drury Lane in their own house.

At the time, none of the family would have even heard of Australia let alone considered making it their home.  However, on three occasions from 1852,  Mary-Ann said goodbye to family members beginning their journeys to Australia.   It began with James and his new wife Susan sailing on the “Duke of Richmond in 1852.  Then the three boys, George, Jonathan and Reuben .

In 1854, the last goodbyes came when her parents sailed.  Around this time Mary Ann was living in London.  Maybe she was at the docks.

Mary Ann and James had 10 children that I can match on the various census and vital records.  The first three children were born in Melbourn,with the remaining seven born in London.  James was working as a labourer at a coke oven.  Mary Ann died in 1871 at just 43 leaving four children under 10.  Aside from her brother Reuben, all the siblings that immigrated to Australia lived to around double that age.

Recognition of the Harman family is clear with the names of the Loats children. Julia again proves  a popular Harman name, possibly the earliest record of that name in the family.

 

Betsy/Elizabeth: Born 1849, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire

Julia:  Born 1851, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire; Died 1856

Harriet Sarah:  Born 1852, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire;  Marriage:  Charles George Hazell, 1874 West Ham, London; Died:

Mary Ann Harman:  Born 1854, Camberwell, London

Wilfred:  Born 1857, Camberwell, London; Died 1857 Camberwell, London

Julia Mary Ann:  Born 1858, Rotherhite, Surrey; Died 1900 Holburn, London

Laura: Born 1861, Bromley Middlesex

Grace:  Born 1864, Bromley Middlesex

Joseph Harman:  Born 1867, Poplar, London

Jesse:  Born 1868, Bromley, Middlesex

 

I had always hoped I might find an Australian link  through the Loats line, especially as I know of the name from the Hamilton area.  I have found two links.

Firstly, aboard the “Duke of Richmond” with Susan and James Harman was Thomas Loats, the brother of James.  Thomas settled in the Western District.  It makes me wonder how close  James and Mary Ann may have come themselves to settle in  Australia.  What stopped them?

Secondly, thanks to the granddaughter of Joseph and Sarah Harman, Harriet Sarah Loats, I have found a link taking a Harman descendant where none have gone before.  However, this post has gone on long enough and I will need to dedicate a whole post to my exciting find.  Stay Tuned!  (That might be a clue).


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


Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows

Imagine the family tree of the Harmans of Byaduk, with its long branches sweeping far and wide, lush and prosperous.  That is except for one.  Near the top of the tree sits a small, stunted branch, a mere twig.  It is the branch of Alfred Winslow Harman.

To me, Alfred Harman is like a shadowy figure standing at the rear of the imaginary Harman family photo.   I know little of him and there are no living descendants.

Born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1852, Alfred was  a baby when he sailed to Australia with his parents Joseph and Sarah, sister Sarah and brother Walter.  He was too young to remember life in England, the arduous journey and the early settlement of the family.

Alfred was seven years younger than Walter Harman, his immediate older sibling and 22 years younger than oldest brother James.  He probably had more in common with the elder children of his brothers than his brothers themselves.  For example, James Harman’s son Reuben James Harman, my gg grandfather was only two years younger than his Uncle Alfred.

In his 20s, Alfred headed north to the Wimmera.  It was there that he met Alice Jane Miller, daughter of Scots Joseph Bass Miller and Rose Jane Church of Warracknabeal, formerly of South Australia.  Alfred and Alice married in 1878 and their only son was born in 1879 at Murtoa.

Let’s stop right there…

If I keep going on like this, the post will be over in an other paragraph.  All I have to say further is  that Alfred went to Western Australia, suffered a loss, returned home and passed away! There must be more to add to this branch to give it some life.

For the purpose of this post, I decided to search for Alfred again at Trove.  With newly digitised papers added regularly, it is  worth checking back.  This time I directed my search to the surname “Harman” and the places I knew Alfred lived.  Starting with “Harman Murtoa”, as I gathered leads I moved to “Harman Rupanyup” and then “Harman Hopetoun”.  I searched the decades 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.

I then turned my attention to Western Australia where I knew Alfred had lived.  I tried “Harman Gwalia”, “Harman Perth”, “Harman Malcolm Street”, “Harman The Crescent” between the years 1900-1930.

Thanks to a  number of other leads on Alfred and his wife Alice, the story of Alfred Winslow Harman is looking  better.

Let’s pick up the story again in 1878 with Alfred’s marriage to Alice.

Alice Jane Miller was born at Pancharpoo, South Australia in 1859.  The Millers moved to Warracknabeal sometime after 1868.  Alice’s father, Joseph Bass Miller, was an upstanding citizen and the local Justice of the Peace. I have found that while Joseph spelt his name as Miller, some of his children spelt it Millar. In case you are wondering further on in the post.

After Alfred and Alice married in 1878, they soon started their family.  Herbert Winslow Harman was born at Murtoa in 1879.  I am not sure if they were living  there or at Rupanyup as newspaper articles found refer to them at both places.  There is only 16 kilometres between the two towns.

The first newspaper reference I have for the Harmans is from 1883 in a “Horsham Times” report of the Rupanyup and Dunmunkle Society Show.   Alice won Best Ironed Gent’s Shirt and Collar.

Subsequent articles show Alfred had something of a talent for rifle shooting.  Alfred entered many competitions and was a member of the Rupanyup Company of Rangers.  In 1886, he and four team mates secured the coveted Sargood Shield, so prized a banquet was held in their honour.

COMPLIMENTARY BANQUET TO THE WINNERS OF THE SARGOOD SHIELD. (1886, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72957471

The team went on to repeat their success in the following two years, as remembered at a dinner at Horsham in 1913.  Samuel Miller, Alice’s brother, also a member of the famous Rupanyup team, was present on the night

The Rifle. (1913, March 7). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73134863

.

In 1890, the team competed at Mount Gambier, hometown of the Miller boys.  It was there they suffered one of their few defeats.

RIFLE MATCH. (1890, August 30). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77491178

By 1897, Alfred Harman was shooting with the Hopetoun club, over 100 kilometres north of Rupanyup.  The Hopetoun Rifle club were more than happy with their new acquisition,

RIFLE SHOOTING. (1897, February 9). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73118794

Alfred and his family could not have stayed at Hopetoun long, as I found him on the 1903  Electoral Roll at Gwalia, Western Australia. Gwalia was a gold mining town situated over 800 kilometres east of Perth and north of Kalgoorlie.  Gold was first mined there in 1897, so the town was in its beginnings when Alfred was there.

Today, Gwalia is described as a ghost town but has been preserved so the town’s history is not lost.  The Gwalia & Hoover House Historic Precinct website has some great photos of some of the buildings in the town

How the Harmans came to be in Western Australia, especially in the middle of nowhere at Gwalia, I can only guess.  Two of Alice’s brothers, Joseph and Josiah Miller also turned up in Western Australia, so there may have been some motivation there.

In both 1903 and 1906 on the Gwalia Electoral Roll, Alfred listed his occupation as agent, however in 1906, he is also on the electoral roll for Midland Junction, Perth (commercial traveller) and Francis Street, Perth (traveller).  Who knows where he and Alice were actually living at the time?  Especially Alice, as she was on the 1903 Electoral Roll at Warracknabeal, the home town of her parents.  Did Alfred go ahead or did Alice just fail to change her details?

When Alfred and Alice went to the West, their son Herbert, who also went along,  was around 20.  After only a few years he was working as the manager of the Canada Cycle and Motor Company at Kalgoorlie.  In November 1904, tragedy struck when Herbert (Bert) was stricken with Typhoid fever.  He passed away in the Perth Hospital on November 20.  Alfred and Alice had lost their only child.

Family Notices. (1904, November 29). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32744043

I noted Warracknabeal was given as the home of Alfred and Alice. As mentioned, Alice’s address was Warracknabeal in 1903, but did Alfred also live there at some time?.

The death of Bert also hit the Miller side of the family hard.

Family Notices. (1904, November 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25367642

Joseph Bass Miller Jnr, Alice’s brother was a Health Inspector in Perth. The funeral left his home at The Crescent, Midland Junction.  This is just one of the addresses Alfred is listed at on the 1906 Electoral Roll.

The funeral of Bert was large with many members of the Miller family in attendance.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1904, November 24). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25367801

What interested me in this report was the coffin…”a massive polished jarrah casket, mounted with silver-plated handles and plates”.  Either Alfred’s job as a travelling salesman was doing well or the Miller family chipped in.  Bert himself had done alright for a 25-year-old, with an estate to the value of £212.00.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1905, January 13). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25371654

In 1905, Alice’s mother Rose Church passed away at Warracknabeal and her then 81-year-old father moved to Perth.  He passed away in 1908.

Family Notices. (1908, August 22). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), p. 31. Retrieved March 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37577065

If I ever wanted to find out where Alfred was living, Electoral Rolls were not going to help.  I use Electoral Rolls a lot and I have never seen anyone with multiple entries like Alfred.  From 1910 to 1916, Alfred is listed at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth.  That is the only period  where Alfred did not have multiple entries.  In 1910, Alfred was a collector and in 1916 he was a clerk.  In 13 years, he has been an agent, commercial traveller, traveller, an agent again, collector and clerk.

After the 1903 Electoral Roll,  Alice did not show up again until 1916, living at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth with Alfred. However, from my search at Trove of “Harman Malcolm Street”, I know Alice was at 71 Malcolm Street in 1914.  How?  Thanks to this interesting snippet from The Western Australian.

PERSONAL. (1914, October 7). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28570146

It is a little difficult to read, but what is that about Miss E. Stafford Millar, of Chicago visiting her sister Mrs Harman, of Malcolm Street, Perth?  I checked back on the Miller family tree and Elinor Stafford Millar was the sister of Alice.  But what about Chicago?  Any excuse to get side tracked, I turned to Trove again.  A search on Elinor revealed all.  Who needs Google?

PERSONAL. (1914, September 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28568583

In fact, I found so many articles on Elinor, I have decided she deserves her own post in the future.  She was after all born at Mount Gambier, almost Western Victoria!  I found that she was an amazing woman, well-travelled and known in the U.S. as the “Australian Evangelist”

I had seen a photo of Elinor on the family tree of Rachel Boatwright at Ancestry.com.au (one of Rachel’s photos of Alice’s brother William Miller is on  January Passing of the Pioneers). I was taken in by the difference between her photo and those of her siblings.  Now I know she led a very different life at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.   I found another photo of her in the The Advertiser, Adelaide from 1937.

South Australian-Born Woman Evangelist. (1937, December 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36394976

Alfred’s next Electoral Roll appearance was in 1925 at 105 Stirling Street, North Perth.  But wait, he is also listed at Dumbleyung in Western Australia’s wheat belt, a long way from Perth.  At his Perth address he was a clerk, while at Dumbleyung he was retired.  No mention of Alice at either address.  That was because in 1924, she was on the electoral at 593 Burke Road, Camberwell, Victoria!

Further investigation found that this was the address of Alice’s brother Alexander.  She is also listed at 27 Aroona Road,  Elsternwick on the  Electoral Roll from the same year.  I don’t know whose house that was!  I sometimes wish the Electoral Rolls were like a census, listed by household and not surname.  It would make it so much easier to find out who was living with who.

Alice appears on the Electoral Roll again in 1931, this time at 15 Torrington Street, Canterbury. But where was Alfred?  He was listed over at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick of course!.  Now why does that address sound familiar?  It just happened to be the address of Alfred’s niece, Susan Oakley, daughter of Alfred’s sister Sarah Harman.  And that is where it all ended for Alfred, at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick on March 22, 1933.  He was buried at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1933, March 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4725647

The link to Susan Oakley, explains why Susan and her husband Robert Cruikshank are mentioned in the family notice.  There was only 13 years difference in age between uncle and niece and Susan was living in the Wimmera, including Rupanyup,  at the same time as Alfred, which may explain their close relationship.  I like to find these links as it gives me some idea of the family dynamic.

So what became of Alice?  According to the Electoral Roll of 1936, she had moved to the house next door at 17 Torrington Street, Canterbury.  She passed away on May 21, 1940 and was buried with Alfred at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1940, May 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12463508

Thanks to Trove and the digitised newspapers, I was able to take the information I had from Electoral Rolls and obituaries to discover so much more about Alfred’s life. I also found a lot more about the Millers/Millars and that helped work out who was where and when.

However, questions still stand, such as exactly where did Alfred and Alice live and what was with all the Electoral Roll entries?  I also want to know what Alfred was selling, especially during his time in Gwalia.  I will keep checking the newspapers.

Alfred’s branch is now looking a little healthier.  It will never grow but I think I can see some blossom now.


To Catch A Thief

Well, well, well, what an exciting surprise. While searching the newly released digitised copies of the Mt Gambier paper, the “Border Watch“, I discovered that in 1877, ggg grandfather James Bishop was nabbed for horse theft and remanded pending trial.

I suppose the find was more exciting than surprising.   Why wasn’t I surprised?  Well, Jim was a drover and the article revealed he was also a dealer.  Many horses would have passed through his hands, probably unbranded. Being a drover/stockman I would doubt bookkeeping was a strong suit and after reading many Pound Notices in the newspapers of the time, a lot of horses were wandering the countryside.  Mix ups could easily happen.

SUMMARY OF NEWS. (1877, October 27). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77048847

I was, however, very excited with this new discovery. Enough to tweet about it!  To find some “dirt” is always exciting.  Why is it that we always get the most satisfaction from finding a record of an ancestor’s misfortune?  Criminal records, wills and obituaries are favourites of mine, but don’t forget inquests and asylum records.  Obviously some of the excitement is just because we have found something, anything, but it also makes the family member more interesting.  These finds give them character.  An extra dimension.

On the point of character, I would have assumed Jim’s was nothing but respectable.  A Harman/Bishop marriage (that of my gg grandparents) took place in the same year as the arrest with another in the years following. With the Harmans being self-respecting church people, I am sure neither would have occurred if there was any doubts about Jim.

I had to find the outcome of the matter.  I had thought of going to the Ballarat Archives Centre (PROV) where the Branxholme court registers are held (Series VPRS 4892 Court of Petty Sessions Registers).  This however was not going to shed much more light on the trial itself.  Surely there was more than one newspaper report.  Country newspapers reported on even the smallest of stories, and the fact James was remanded made it newsworthy.  Now that I had the date of the court case, I could narrow a Trove search down.  Believe me, this is a great help when searching a name like Bishop where a match to the Bishop of Ballarat is more likely than any members of the my Bishop family.

I narrowed down a search of “Bishop Branxholme” to 1877 and bingo, the top two matches were about James.  One, I had already found, but the other from the “Portland Guardian“, reported on Jim’s trial in November 1877 after his first court appearance.  While I had searched the same paper for the Bishops, I had not found this article.  The value of dates!  Oh and some knowledge too.  If I had of found the article earlier I may have picked up it was one of my Bishops but I would have been unsure which one.

The barter system was alive and well in the Western District in the 1870s with James trading a horse and £5 for a buggy.  The question was where did the horse come from and was it one of Mr Officer’s of Harton Hills Station

Upon questioning on this matter, Jim replied he did not know how he came to have the horse. Not a good start.

Evidence then moved to that of Constable Foster who arrested Jim in a plain clothes operation.  Who would have thought?  Jim didn’t .  When asked by the plain clothed Constable at Lower Byaduk, prior to his arrest, if he had sold mares at Branxholme lately, Jim said “…no, he had none to sell”  but added that Mr Madison had sold two colts for him at Branxholme.  As two of the four missing horses were colts, Foster arrested Jim and sent him to the lockup.

While incarcerated, Jim had plenty of time to think over his recent conversations and must have realised he said the wrong thing to Foster and raised it with him.  Jim told Foster he had thought he was “…one of Chalico’s men come to look after some of my horses, and this is why I told you I sold no mares at Branxholme.”

Then it became clear Jim was not a good bookkeeper, with him stating at the time of sale he did not get a receipt from Ted Lee the postman from whom he had bought the horse.  Then Ted was hurt, so Jim went to Belfast (Port Fairy) to get a receipt from Ted, but he was too sick.  Oh dear, things were not looking good.

At last, a savior.  Witness Samuel Taylor took the stand.  He had seen Jim and Ted Lee together with four horses.  Ted told Samuel he had sold the horses to Jim.  The horses were then agisted at Taylor’s property for the next fortnight.  Phew.  Case dismissed and Jim was off the hook.

BRANXHOLME. (1877, November 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63339852

So Jim didn’t go to jail, but if it wasn’t for Samuel Taylor’s evidence, he may have. I hope he had Ted Lee lined up as a witness.

Now the excitement has subsided and I can continue to consider Jim Bishop an honest man.  But deep down inside, a small part of me is crying…I could have searched prisoner records!  Sorry Jim!


From Stone Country to High Country

If I wasn’t the ggg granddaughter of James Harman, I would be just as happy to be the ggg granddaughter of his brother, Walter.  He broke away from Byaduk farm life to pioneer in the High Country of Victoria at Ensay.

There are many things to like about  researching Walt.  He and wife Lydia Poynton chose beautiful names for their children. They also liked to be photographed and I have been lucky enough to view some of those wonderful snaps. Also, Walt’s obituary was rich with history and is the kind I wish I could find from James Harman’s death.

Walter was born in December 1845 at Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England to Joseph and Sarah Harman.  It would be unlikely he remembered a time when older brother James, 15 years his senior, lived in the family home.  While in England he would not have had much to do with any of his older brothers as by the time he was 8, four of them had left for Australia.

In 1854,  Walter sailed with his parents, Joseph and Sarah, sister Sarah and younger brother Alfred for Sydney aboard the “Queen of England“.  We now know the family went to Western Victoria and were in Byaduk by 1863.

In 1872, aged 27, Walter married Lydia Poynton, daughter of John Poynton and Lydia Walton. Immigrants from Lincolnshire, England, the Poyntons lived in the Macarthur area. The following year Walter applied to the Lands Board for a license on 300 acres near Macarthur.

LOCAL LAND BOARD. (1873, February 24). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 5 Edition: EVENINGS. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65429471

In 1879, he applied for the land next door to the earlier allotment, a further 44 acres.

LOCAL LAND BOARD. (1879, June 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNINGS.. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63398356

Walter and Lydia started their family without haste, with Eunice Walton Harman born the year after their marriage.  Another nine children followed over the next 15 years.

Eunice Walton:  Birth:  1873 at Byaduk; Marriage: 1893 to  Benjamin Miller Lucas;  Death: 1954 at Heathcote Junction, Victoria.

Susannah Nash:  Birth:  1875 at Byaduk; Marriage:  1898 to William Condon;  Death:  1957 at Bairnsdale, Victoria.

Nathan:  Birth: 1878 at  Byaduk; Death:  1892 at Omeo.

Henry: Birth:  1880 at  Byaduk; Marriage:  1922 to  Eva Gertrude Jamison; Death: 1954 at  Bairnsdale, Victoria.

Louisa Mulberry:  Birth:  1881 at Byaduk; Marriage: 1900 to John Phiddian; Death: 1946 at Kyneton, Victoria.

Julia Georgina:  Birth:  1882 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  1915  to  Arthur Frances Lousada;  Death:  1929 at  Malvern, Victoria.

Selina Victoria:   Birth: 1884 at  Byaduk;  Death:  1977 at  Kew, Victoria.

Seth Livingstone:  Birth:  1884 at  Byaduk;  Death: 1892 at Omeo.

Golder Alberta Arlettie:  Birth:  1886 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  1923 to Solomon Kerrison; Death:  1963 at Melbourne.

John Joseph Stanley:  Birth: 1888 at Omeo;  Marriage:  1916 to Daisy Edith Masters;  Death: 1959 at Bairnsdale, Victoria.

This brings us to the wonderful names of the children of Walter and Lydia.  Eunice Walton takes her second name from her maternal grandmother Lydia Walton.  Susannah Nash was named after her maternal aunt Susannah Poynton.  Susannah married John Nash in 1869 but she died in 1875 aged just 34.  That was the same year Susannah Nash Harman was born. Lydia’s other sister Mary, also named her daughter Susannah Adeline Skipworth in the same year as her sister’s death.

My favourite name is Julia Georgina.  Julia is such a beautiful name and it may have come from her older cousin Julia Harman, daughter of James.  Selina Victoria is another of my favourite names.  Louisa Mulberry takes her second name from her paternal grandmother, Sarah Mulberry and John Joseph Stanley was named after his grandfathers, Joseph Harman and John Poynton.  I have absolutely no idea where the name Golder Alberta Arlettie may have come from!

The art of child naming carried on to the next generation, with grandchildren of Walter and Lydia having given names such as Stella Camilla Ina May, Edison Winslow, Harold Ornamen Tennnesyn, Cyril Montrose, Aldith Lorraine, Alban Harcourt, Beryl Maitland, Rodney Raeburn, Wilbur Henry, Athol Elwyn, Winton Harman, Jewel Victoria, Molly Lousada and Gloria Felicity Cambridge.

Just when it seemed Walter was settling into a life in the Western District, around 1888  Walter Harman packed up the family and made the long trip to Ensay in East Gippsland, Victoria’s High Country.  It is the move which  interests me, both the reason for travelling to the other side of the state and how they made the trip of over 600 kilometres, including the route they travelled.  The Ensay district did sound enticing as this article from 1888 suggests:

In Gippsland. (1888, April 7). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 44. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71096208

In 1843, Ensay Station consisted of 38,400 acres.  An article from the Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle in 1917 cites the total acreage at Ensay Station at that time as 11,000 acres.  Over time land was sold off to the likes of Walter Harman.

When I started researching the Harmans and I found the first references to Omeo, about 40kms north-west of Ensay, I imagined that Walt and his family went alone.  As my research continued I discovered the Condon family from the marriage record of Susannah Nash Harman and William Condon in 1898.  William was born in Portland in 1870, the son of William Charles Condon and Susan Baker.

(1888, April 28). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 33. Retrieved February 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5096395

Later, thanks to newspaper reports of  Henry HARMAN’s court appearances in the trial of Ronald Griggs, I found John Henry CONDON, father of Lottie Condon.  While John was born in Omeo, he was the cousin of William Condon, Susannah Harman’s husband.  Not only that,  John Condon’s wife, Frances Ethel HUGGINS was born at Mount Eccles, near Macarthur in the Western District.  Frances’ mother was a SKIPWORTH, from Macarthur and her grandmother was a POYNTON, sister of Lydia Poynton, Walter Harman’s wife.  That sister, Mary, was also in the area with her husband, Thomas Skipworth. Phew!

Confusing maybe, but it shows five families living in the Omeo/Ensay area all with links to Byaduk/Macarthur and all connected through marriages over three generations.  Oh yes, Mary Poynton’s daughter Lydia Skipworth took along her new husband Andrew BAULCH from Tower Hill, near Warrnambool.  By 1890, his parent James Baulch and Ann Hulm were living at Bairnsdale.

So, the next question was who was the trailblazer that made the first big move to the High Country, or was there a convoy of families making the move at the same time?

Using the years the children were born as a guide, the first family to make the move appears to be Henry Condon, older brother of William Condon with his wife Agnes Huggins, aunt of Frances Ethel Huggins.  Married in 1885, their first child was born at Omeo in 1886.  Agnes’ brother James Huggins and wife Elizabeth Skipworth had a child in Macarthur in 1886 with the next child, Thomas Leslie born in 1888 at Omeo.  This is also the same year John Joseph Stanley Harman was born at Omeo.

The obituary of John Tomlin Poynton, nephew of Lydia, talks of his move to the High Country in 1888 with his brother Edward with yet another family tie in, this time to the Skipworths.

PASSED AWAY. (1943, July 19). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved February 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63255330

From 1886 to 1888 a  stream of Condons, Poyntons, Huggins, Skipworths and Harmans left the stone country for the high country.

Walter, with help from Lydia, worked quickly to establish a Sunday school at Ensay and they were a major force behind a State school being opened in the town.  In1890, Walter was one of the first trustees of the Ensay Public Cemetery.  The name of the Harman property at Ensay was “Systonholme”.  This name paid  tribute to Lydia’s birth place, Syston, Lincolnshire, England.

Like his brother James, Walter was a lay preacher for the Methodist Church and would travel by horseback spreading the word of John Wesley.

In 1892, tragedy struck the Harmans in quick succession.  Seth died in July aged 7 and Nathan passed away in August aged 13.  The boys were buried at the Omeo cemetery.  Their death certificates are just another two on my long list of “must get” certificates, to see how the boys died so close together, although one would assume it was illness.

I love this photo of  Walt and Lydia.  Despite the stiffness and lack of emotion of early photographs, there is a warmth here with the two seeming very comfortable in each others company.  They were a team and this is clear from the photo.  I would like to thank Linda Thatcher for allowing me to use this wonderful photograph.

Walt and Lydia Harman (photo courtesy of Linda Thatcher)

In Walter and Lydia’s later years, they moved into “town”, taking up residence in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern.  In 1923, they were living at 11 Jordan Street with their house named “Systonholme” , a reminder of Ensay. Daughter Selina was living with them and Julia and her husband Arthur Lousada moved from their home in Toorak to 113 Tooronga Road Malvern, only two streets from her parents.

In 1926, Lydia passed away at the age of 79.  Walter had lost his beloved wife, the woman with whom he had  pioneered and raised 10 children.  A  family notice was placed in “The Argus” at the time of her death:

Family Notices. (1926, September 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 17. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3808510

In 1928, two years after Lydia’s death, Walter and daughter Selina placed an “In Memoriam” notice in “The Argus” and the pain was still clear.

Family Notices. (1928, September 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 13. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3957034

Faced with life without Lydia, Walter  returned to live at Ensay, his other great love.  On October 22, 1936 Walter passed away at “Systonholme” Ensay.

Family Notices. (1936, October 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11928521

His obituary from the “Gippsland Times” is a fitting tribute to such a wonderful pioneer who gave so much to his local community, while ensuring a comfortable life for his family.

PASSING OF AN EARLY PIONEER. (1936, November 5). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62986267

As yet I have not found an obituary for James Harman but the words written of Walter may give a clue to James himself…”his sterling Christian character, his genial personality, and his extreme kindness to all whom he met”.  There are many similarities between James and Walter, despite their age difference and the fact the lived on opposite sides of Victoria including their devotion to the Methodist Church and their community involvement.  Both brothers played a role in establishing schools in their respective towns.  The obituary also reconfirmed the Harman’s journey from N.S.W. on arrival in Australia to Port Fairy and then Byaduk.

While Walter Harman is  remembered as an Ensay pioneer, he also lived in Byaduk and district for 25 years from the age of 18 to 43, which one could describe as his “formative years”. There was plenty of time for the characteristics, passions and wisdom of his brothers to rub off.


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