Tag Archives: Jennings

Passing of the Pioneers

June Passing of the Pioneers features the obituaries of several former Councillors, Mayors and a Mayoress.  There are members of  well known pioneering families and a man who died with no other relatives in Australia.  There is also a Hamilton cricket champion who had the potential to play for Australia.

William RUTLEDGE – Died June 1, 1876 at Farnham.  William Rutledge, born in Ireland, arrived in Sydney in 1833 aged around 27.  After his marriage in 1839, he headed south to Queanbeyan, N.S.W. then Kilmore, Victoria in 1840.  A visit to Port Fairy in 1843 saw him buy the business of John Cox and he transformed it into William Rutledge & Co, importers.  He also selected a large amount of  land at Farnham near Koroit.  William also sat on the first Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1851.  The Christ Church Anglican church at  Warrnambool has a  memorial window dedicated to the memory of William.

DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM RUTLEDGE, OF FARNHAM. (1876, June 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5890095

DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM RUTLEDGE, OF FARNHAM. (1876, June 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5890095

A biography of William Rutledge (below) by Martha Rutledge in the Australian Dictionary of Biography tells of Edward Henty having referred to William as “Terrible Billy”.

WILLIAM RUTLEGE.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H5056/68

WILLIAM RUTLEGE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H5056/68

George OSBORNE – Died June 14,  1884 at Geelong.  George Osborne was born in Sydney around 1809, his father a member of the 45th Regiment of Foot.  George was a ship maker’s apprentice and worked on a whaling ship as ship’s carpenter.  George first arrived in Victoria  in 1840 at Portland.  He then went to Melbourne before returning to Portland where he remained with his family. While he had lived in Portland for 25 years, after his wife’s death, George moved amongst his family members until his death.  He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

Eliza PITTS – Died June 2, 1914 at Edenhope.  As an infant, Elizabeth Pitts travelled to Victoria with her parents aboard the “Severn” in 1846 and they settled at Wattle Hill, Portland.  In 1860, Elizabeth married Richard Guthridge.  They raised a family of six sons and six daughters.  Son Frederick has also been a Passing Pioneer.  In the early years of their marriage Richard and Eliza moved several times between Portland, Mt Gambier and Carapook before settling in the Edenhope district.  They were a well respected family, renown for their longevity.

Walter DISS – Died June 3, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Walter Diss died with no relatives in Australia.  He was born in London around 1851 and arrived in Victoria during the 1880s.  He ran bakery businesses in Port Fairy and for a time ran the Exchange Hotel at Sale, East Gippsland.  He returned to Port Fairy after the death of his wife, two years before his own passing.

Ellen MALONE – Died June 20, 1916 at Killarney.  Born in Queen’s County, Ireland around 1831, Ellen arrived at Portland in 1855 aboard the “Caringorm“.  In 1856, she married Thomas Shanley and they settled at Killarney and raised seven children.  At the time of her death, Ellen had 42 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Robert WOOD – Died June 27, 1917 at Warrnambool.  Robert Wood was born in Scotland in 1847 and arrived at Port Fairy, with his parents, aboard the “Athletae” in 1854.  He farmed around  Hopkins Point and Woodford before taking up a job as a storeman for R.H. Patterson of Warrnambool.  He had a strong association with the Warrnambool Fire Brigade, serving as a member for 42 years, 20 years of which he was the station keeper.

Agnetta VIGAR – Died June 24, 1917 at Ararat.  Agnetta Vigar was born on the island of Guernsey around 1831.  She arrived in Adelaide in 1852 and married William Aggett.  They moved to Ararat during the 1860s, settling on the Stawell Road.  She left one son, Thomas, serving in Europe at the time of her death.

John TWOMEY – Died June 30, 1918 at Lilydale.  John Twomey was born at ‘”Banmore” Penshurst, the son of John Twomey a pioneer squatter of the district.  John Jr entered in the stock and station business and lived at Warrnambool.  He was a member of several racing clubs and was a successful owner.  In the years before his death he moved to Melbourne then Lilydale where he passed.  He was buried at Warrnambool Cemetery.

John DOYLE – Died June 8, 1922 at Heywood.   John Doyle was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1842.  He arrived in Port Fairy about 1856 with his twin brother and they set up a carrying business.  John then bought land in Casterton before purchasing the Hamilton Inn at Hamilton.  Tired of life as a publican, John bought land at Cape Bridgewater and Heywood and  farmed dairy cows.   He served as a Councillor with the Portland Shire. After the death of his first wife in 1877, he remarried.  He left five sons and two daughters.  A sixth son predeceased him.  John’s twin brother died five weeks before at Hamilton.

James GOLDIE - Died June 4, 1924 at Port Fairy.  James Goldie’s death was tragic  but it should not take away from the contribution he made to Port Fairy.  James was born around 1860, the son of John Goldie of Port Fairy.  He was the first butter factory manager in Victoria, running a factory at Rosebrook.  He later managed a large butter factory in N.S.W.

James’ father, John Goldie tended his farm using the latest scientific practices.  A photo of his farm is below.  Taken in 1895, it shows trial crops of sugar beets.  After John died, James took up part of the farm and became a respected breeder of Ayrshire cattle.

SUGAR BEET GROWING AT PORT FAIRY ON THE FARM OF JOHN GOLDIE c1895.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

SUGAR BEET GROWING AT PORT FAIRY ON THE FARM OF JOHN GOLDIE c1895. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

James served on the Council of the Borough of Port Fairy with two terms as Mayor.  He was also a member of the Agriculture Society committee and he was one of the men that established the Glaxo Milk Company at Port Fairy.

Mary FLETCHER – Died June 19, 1942 at Sandringham.  Mary Fletcher was born in Scotland around 1847 and arrived in Victoria as a child.  Her parent settled at Goroke and in 1865 she married William Affleck.  William passed away in 1867 and in 1869 she married James Wooton Shevill.  James was a Warrnambool Councillor from 1875-1878, holding the Mayoral role in 1877-1878.  In later life the Shevills moved to Melbourne.

Peter DUSTING – Died June 30, 1946 at Melbourne.  As Peter Dusting was the last surviving member of the family of  John and Sally Dusting of South Portland, this obituary is more a Dusting family obituary rather than Peter’s.  In fact I was able to find little about Peter from it.  He was born in Portland around 1866 and followed his father and brothers into the fishing business.  Later he moved to Melbourne and remained there until his death.

Emma Watsford TERRILL –  Died June, 1948 at Hamilton.  Emma Terrill was born at Cape Bridgewater around 1880, the youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs George Terrill, pioneers of the district.  Emma married William Jennings in 1905.  William was the grandson of Cook Abraham Jennings and Hannah Birchall, also Cape Bridgewater pioneers.   Emma was an expert on poultry and was often sought after for advice.   After living all her life at Cape Bridgewater, two years before her death she moved into Portland.  Emma passed away in the Hamilton Hospital.

George KENNEDY – Died June 1950 at Hamilton.  When I think of Hamilton cricket, I think of Kennedy Oval.  George Kennedy is the man who the oval was named for.   An obituary for  George Kennedy  in the Portland Guardian of June 29, 1950, suggests a decision by Melbourne born George to leave the city for Hamilton as a young man in 1905, may have cost him the opportunity to compete at interstate or even at international level.  He played for the Grange club in Hamilton and excelled at both batting and bowling, the later his specialty.  His talent was on display in 1912, when a touring English team played at Hamilton and George’s bowling figures where 3/35.  After the match, the ball and a bat signed by the English team was presented by one his scalps, Sir Jack Hobbs, the most prolific scorer in first class cricket history.  George was 71 at the time of his death.


Trove Tuesday – Whispering Wedding Bells

An interesting piece for Trove Tuesday this week.  From February 4, 1882, The Portland Guardian reported on some hush-hush weddings in the district with the information provided by an “esteemed occasional contributor”.  The weddings were happening but the wedding bells were not ringing.  Not only that, one groom baked his own wedding cake.

An article such as this is most useful to the researcher.  It has names, place names, marriages and religious denomination

weddings1

weddings2

The Guardian. (1882, February 4). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNING.. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63403448

I think Father O’Donoghue might have been ready for a lie down.  All those weddings and he was doing his own housework after his housekeeper, Miss Lavery was also “united in the holy bond”.  In case you were wondering, Miss Lavery’s new husband, John Quinlivan, did not bake the wedding cake just because he fancied himself as a cook… he was a  baker.

PORTLAND PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS DIRECTORY. (1890, January 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63626245

PORTLAND PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS DIRECTORY. (1890, January 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63626245


Passing of the Pioneers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREED FAMILY GRAVE – OLD HAMILTON CEMETERY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Sultan of Shelly Beach

The Walk to Shelly Beach

This was going to be a post about our visit to Shelly Beach in January, a trip to rekindle childhood memories of visits there.  Along with photos and an article which described the beauty of the beach,  I had it covered.

However,  as is usually the case, I could not settle at that.  I had to search Trove for more information on Shelly Beach and what I found has given the post a twist.  You will still see photos and the article about the beach, but I will introduce you to a wonderful character who had a link to Shelly Beach in the 1930s.

Firstly, here is part of the article “Beautiful Shelly Beach” that was going to feature.

Beautiful Shelly Beach. (1939, March 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64392283

When I returned to Trove, I was keen to find a photo of Shelly Beach.   What I found was beyond my expectations.

No title. (1933, June 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4744401

The caption reads:  “These camels are employed in removing grit from Shelly Beach, near Portland.  Each carries two bags each weighing 2cwt. each and makes 15 trips daily over the sandhills.   The owner is over 70 years old and has four wives”.

On Shelly Beach looking toward Bridgewater

Well I couldn’t leave it there.  Back to the Portland Guardian I went to search “camels Shelly Beach”.  From that I discovered a lot more about the mysterious man with the camels.  Jumping ahead two years from the original picture I found the following “Letter to the Editor” from the man himself:

Camels at Portland. (1935, January 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287962

From one letter, so much is learnt.   Sultan Aziz, it seems, was giving rides to tourists on the North beach at Portland during the summer and carting shell grit at Shelly Beach during the winter.  He was working for Mr Vivian Jennings, a local carrier.  Why were the camels being used to cart the shell grit?  The next article explains:

CARTING SHELL GRIT. (1933, May 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72660392

Sultan Aziz appears to have been in Portland from at least 1933, but he did travel around the south-west and into South Australia.  In 1934, he and his camels were the star attraction of the Mt. Gambier Tourist Promotion Association parade on February 21, 1934.  Sultan Aziz arrived the day before after travelling along the coast from Portland.

T.P.A. CARNIVAL. (1934, February 20). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77960150

From this, we now know that the Sultan had a son, Abdul.

Mt. Gambier embraced Aziz, if the front page of the Border Watch on February 22, 1934 was any indication.  My favourite photo was that of the mayor, dressed in cameleers robes, riding one of  Sultan Aziz’s camels.

MAYOR LEADS CARNIVAL PROCESSION ASTRIDE CAMEL. (1934, February 22). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77960232

There were five photos on the front page that day, all of which included the camels!

Sultan Aziz  spent at least a month in South Australia selling camel rides at the Mt. Gambier Showgrounds.   It was not a profitable exercise as discussed at a meeting of the Mt. Gambier A & H Society in March 1934.

MOUNT GAMBIER A. & H. SOCIETY. (1934, March 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77960562

On his way back to Portland, Aziz called in at Allendale East, south of  Mt. Gambier.  The camels were once again a source of excitement.

REPORTS FROM RURAL CENTRES. (1934, March 20). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 19. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47544800

In October 1934, the Sultan applied to the Portland Council to have his camels on the South Beach over the summer, however it Council decided he should stay on the North Beach.

Borough Council. (1934, October 4). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286951

This takes us to the time of  the “Letter to the Editor” of January 1935.  The Sultan only stayed in Portland another six months, leaving just as another southern winter hit.  He returned home to Broken Hill.  It may well have been a combination of cold weather and the discontent over his camels he spoke of in his letter.  His trip to Portland made  news in Broken Hill’s “Barrier Miner”.

Long Trek On Camels. (1935, October 5). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 7 Edition: SPORTS EDITION. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46707350

An interesting part of this story is Sultan Aziz’s age.  The photo I found from 1933, gives his age as over 70.  Eight years later in 1941, he was claiming he was 112 which would have made him 104 when the photo on Shelly Beach was taken! I don’t know about that.

"God Is Good" Says Sultan Aziz. (1941, May 16). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 1 Edition: HOME EDITION. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48407504

A year later he was back in the news, claiming he, at 113 was the oldest person in the Commonwealth.

SULTAN AZIZ CLAIMS TO BE OLDEST MAN IN THE COMMONWEALTH; 113 YEARS AND IS STILL GOING STRONG. (1942, August 13). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48401748

Sadly, age did catch up with Sultan Aziz.  He passed away in 1950.  His age was given as 105.

AFGHAN DIES AT 105. (1950, August 16). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49578554

Summarizing Sultan Aziz’s life in Australia through the newspaper articles,  I found he was born in Afghanistan and arrived in Albany, Western Australia via India,  around 1885.  His memories from that time included organising a camel race for His Royal Highness, The Duke of York and Cornwall who would, in 1910, become King George V.

An article from the “Northern Times” , Carnarvan , Western Australia on March 23, 1912, sees Aziz still in W.A. However he was selling his camels and then sailing for South Australia to take camels back overland to Carnarvan.  I don’t think he made it all the way back as he ends up in Broken Hill with a carting contract  around that time. Many other cameleers from Afghanistan were camped at Broken Hill.  He carted goods into central Australia with his camels, working for Sir Sidney Kidman.  At one time he claims to have owned up to 200 camels.  In the 65 years he was in Australia, he must have racked up some miles on his camels.  The trip from Broken Hill to Portland alone was over 900 kilometres.

He had a least one son, Abdul Aziz, who accompanied his father on his trip to Victoria.  Abdul attended school while in Portland and went on to serve in WW2.

In his later years, Sultan Aziz was the caretaker of the mosque in Broken Hill and tended his fowls.

Of course, this is mostly information  provided by Sultan Aziz himself and is still to be supported by other sources.

I also did a search for marriages for Sultan Aziz, because I had to know if he did have up to four wives.  However, I did not find a harem, rather a marriage in 1923 to Bigham Kahn at Broken Hill.  This could be Abdul Aziz’s mother.  It is possible that Sultan Aziz had wives he left in Afganistan, which was not unusual for the cameleers.

It really is a great story of another colourful character to find his way into the Western District of Victoria.  I wonder if any of my relatives saw their first camel or paid a penny for a ride on the North Portland Beach.

Further Reading:

If you would like to learn more about the cameleers who helped explorers and pastoralists venture into inland Australia, the website Australia’s Muslim Cameleers is worth a visit.  There is so much information about the Muslim cameleers, including biographies. Yes, Sultan Aziz’s biography is among them.  One interesting fact is that at least 2000 cameleers arrived in Australia during the fifty years from 1870 to 1920 and 20,000 camels!  Most Australians would know Central Australia today has a lot of camels,but would have no idea how and why they are there.

There is also a book  by Phillip Jones and Anna Kenny, Australia’s Muslim Cameleers.  It includes a biographical listing of over 1200 cameleers.

The Age, on January 3, 2012, published an article entitled Afghans, cameleers and the massacre of Broken Hill.  It includes photos of cameleers and a mining registration form belonging to Sultan Aziz.  This was from 1939 and according to his own calculations at the time, he would have been around 110!  There is a photo, so see what you think.

I also located the WW2 service record of Abdul Aziz.  This was sad to read.  Abdul, born in 1923, enlisted in the Australian Military Service in 1942, aged 18 and later the A.I.F. in 1944.  He was sent to Bougainville in 1945 and after only four months, he received life threatening wounds to his leg, thanks to a shell.  He returned to Australia.

Further on in the service record,  I found a letter from 1958 of Thora Aziz’s application to buy a home with help from Legacy.  Her husband Abdul had died in 1951.  He would have been only 28.  Such a short life for the son of a centenarian.

Shelly Beach


Passing of the Pioneers

The final “Passing of the Pioneers” for 2011 sees another 13 Western District pioneers remembered.  That takes the number of obituaries recorded into the sixties.  The information in each listing is from the newspaper obituary which is a secondary source.  If I have found a pioneer interesting, I may include further information, for which there will be a reference available. All “Passing of the Pioneers” posts can be found under “Obituary” in the Category tab in the side bar.

“Passing of the Pioneers” will be back in 2012 and with more Western District newspapers available at Trove, there were will be even more obituaries to choose from. I have also updated the post “The Horsham Times goes Digital” to reflect the current additions at Trove.

Mrs Bridget Priscilla JENNINGS – Died December 1904 at Hamilton.  Bridget was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1834 and arrived in Australia in 1848.  She married John Jennings in Adelaide in 1849 and they moved to Hamilton in 1852 where she resided until her death.

Richard PRICE – Died December 15, 1904 at Milltown.  Richard Price arrived in Victoria in the late 1850s and settled at Digby.  He later went on to Heywood before making his final home at Milltown where he worked in the sawmilling trade.  He had eight sons and two daughters.

John PERMEWAN – Died December 23, 1904 at Ballarat.  Born around 1837, John Permewan gave his name to the well known stores of Victoria, Permewan Wright & Co. He was known around Australia in commercial circles.  Permewans still exists in Hamilton.  It has seen a couple of name and location changes, but I would often visit there with my parents in the 1970s and 80s for horse feed and saddlery, but it also stocked hardware and still does today.

Mrs Effie McLEOD – Died December 1914 at Romsey.  Effie McLeod is the oldest pioneer I have come across to date.  She died at aged 106.  Effie was from the Isle of Skye, Scotland and arrived in Australia in around 1852.

Mrs Margaret MULRANEY – Died December 16, 1914 at Nhill.  Margaret was the wife of Bernhardt Mulraney and they arrived in Australia from Ireland during the 1850s.  After spending time around Hamilton,Mt. Gambier and Goroke, they settled in the Mallee at Nhill.  Margaret was 80 at the time of her death.

John HARRIES – Died December 18, 1914 at Stawell.  John Harries was born at Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1843 and arrived in Stawell in 1875.  Like many with Welshmen, John could sing and was a member of Prout’s band at Ballarat and sang in the Presbyterian church choir.

John THORNTON – Died December 15, 1919 at Mount Myrtoon.  John was born in Yorkshire in 1835 and travelled to Australia at age 18.  He spent time in Melbourne and Gippsland before settling at Mount Myrtoon.  He set up a successful stock and station business with links to Dalgetys. He was an accomplished cricketer and played for Victoria in his younger days.  He was the Melbourne Cricket Club’s oldest member at the time of his death.

Mary D. McLEOD – Died December 1928 at Narracoorte.   Mary McLeod was born in the Isle of Skye in 1842.  After her mother died when she was 11, her father moved the family to Australia.  Mary took on the role of mother to her younger brothers.  After they arrived in Melbourne, they travelled to Portland and then Narracoorte, South Australia by bullock wagon.   She later married Angus MORRISON and they eight children while living around the Apsley area.

Mrs Benjamin LEAR – Died December 17, 1932 at Branxholme.  Mrs Lear was born in Edinburgh and having seen the boat the Julia Percy built in Scotland, she was offered passage to Australia by the ship’s directors, whom she knew.  Her husband worked on the Julia Percy, and continued to do so for some years after.  Mrs Lear would have been popular among Portland  children.  She was a confectioner, with a shop in Bentick Street, Portland for many years.

Annie PITTS – Died December 12, 1934 at Portland.  Annie Pitts was born in Somerset, England and travelled to Australia with her parents, James and Sarah when she was three.  She married John JENNINGS of Portland when she was 21 and they had 10 children.  Annie was 85 at the time of her death.

Louisa BROWN – Died December 26, 1937 at Camperdown.  Louisa was just a baby when her family arrived in Victoria from Westminster, England.  She married Henry SHARP, a stonemason, at Terang.  They had four daughters and five sons, with the sons forming a quarrying business, Sharp Bros.

OBITUARY. (1937, December 30). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28321980

Nicholas WHITE – Died December 17, 1942 at Portland.  Born in 1869 at Cape Bridgewater, Nicholas was a farmer but a keen sporting interest and was knowledgeable about all matters of  cricket and horse racing.  His wife had previously passed away and they had one married daughter, Ethel.

James Trotter KITTSON  – Died December 11, 1945 at Cape Bridgewater.  James was a member of the pioneering Kittson family.

OBITUARY. (1945, December 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64406262

James left a wife, son and daughter and was buried at the Bridgewater cemetery.


In the News – May 26, 1927

The Portland Guardian of May 26, 1927 reports the death of Mrs Hugh Kittson.  The obituary gives much information about Mrs Kittson’s early life including her arrival in Australia and her marriage.  She was 94 years old and had been in Victoria for 82 years and had many memories of those early times.  As I read her story, I wanted to know more about Mrs Hugh Kittson.  The obituary, as was often the way, did not mention her first or maiden names.  It did say she had travelled to Victoria on the “Intrinsic” with her parents and two brothers in 1840.

Obituary. (1927, May 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 3. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257291

 

After searching death records and Trove, I found that Mrs Kittson was Margaret Jennings, daughter of Cook Abraham Jennings and Hannah Birchall.  She was born in Manchester about 1833.  Her brothers were Samuel and Robert Jennings and the “Intrinsic” had in fact arrived in 1841.   I then discovered stories about two pioneering families of the south Western District I had not heard of before, the Jennings and the Kittsons who were both in the Portland and Bridgewater areas before 1850. I particular enjoyed a Letter to the Editor from the Portland Guardian of January 23, 1877 by Cook Jennings which painted a picture of the 1840s.

Cook Abraham Jennings’ letter gives an  insight into life in the early days of Western Victoria.  He refutes a claim by Thomas Fairburn to be the first person to find freestone at Mount Abrupt near Dunkeld suggesting it was he instead who made the first discovery.   He describes a journey from Portland to Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt almost 30 years earlier.  As a stonemason in Portland, he was keen to source some freestone and after a tip-off, headed to the southern end of the Grampians in 1848, his travelling companions son Robert and an indigenous boy raised by Jennings wife.

CORRESPONDENCE. (1877, January 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63337471

CORRESPONDENCE. (1877, January 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63337471

Jennings describes the return journey when “there was no Hamilton…save Mr Beath’s store and Phastock’s public house”.  After difficulty crossing the Grange and Violet Creek he eventually reached Portland and sold off the stone, which was still being used as grindstones 30 years later.

The letter also shows that overseas travel was not out of the question for those early pioneers.  Cook Jennings travelled to Richmond, Virginia in 1858 to lodge a claim on a relative’s will.  Although Cook did come across as somewhat of an opportunist!

Margaret Jennings’s husband Hugh Kittson was himself some sort of trailblazer.  The Irish-born son of James and Catherine Kittson, was reported as the first white person to ride overland from Portland to Melbourne.  Hugh and Margaret had seven children and surnames of their descendents include Johnson, White and Hodgetts.


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