Tag Archives: Johnstone

Passing of the Pioneers

What an interesting group of pioneers December brings us.  Some were well-known in the Western District while others toiled quietly to build their lives.  Obituaries come from a chemist, a cricketer, a former Portland Mayor, a pastoralist, a Monsignor, mothers and two pioneers of the newspaper industry in Western Victoria.

James TRANGMAR:  Died December 16 at Portland.  James Trangmar was a resident and a former Mayor of Portland, but he acquired land throughout the Western District.

James Trangmar, photographer Thomas Fostor Chuck -1872.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17715

James Trangmar, photographer Thomas Foster Chuck -1872. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17715

After working as a manager of a grocers in Tasmania, he arrived in Portland in 1844.  He worked in that  field before turning to sheep farming.  He bought  properties including “Bochara”, “Violet Creek” and “Morgiana“.  James had connections to the Portland Hospital and the  Portland Free Library and was also a Justice of the Peace.  He was buried in the North Portland Cemetery

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Headstone of James Trangmar & family. North Portland Cemetery.

William NICHOLAS:  Died December 17, 1890 at Colac.  Arriving in the Colac area around 1841, William Nicholas was an early pioneer of the district.  He came first to shear for three local squatters,then he worked in the forests before purchasing a bullock wagon.  He carted produce to Geelong and Ballarat, returning with stores.  His obituary, by Mr B.N. Butcher of Colac, was written with emotion.

MEMOIR OF A DEPARTED COLONIST. (1891, January 2). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87728049

MEMOIR OF A DEPARTED COLONIST. (1891, January 2). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87728049

John HARRIES: Died December 18, 1914 at Stawell.  John Harries was born in Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1843 and arrived in Stawell in 1875.  A true Welshmen, he was a great singer and was a member of the Presbyterian church choir and Prouts Band of Ballarat.  He married and had eight children.  His brother, Reverend David Harries had joined him Australia, but he had passed away a few years earlier.

Ann WALTON: Died December 31, 1914 at Mount Arapiles.  Ann Walton is one of my favourite pioneers and I am familiar with her as she was the mother-in-law of Jonathan Harman Jnr and mother in-law to the nephews of the Oliver sisters that married Harman brothers.  Also, I know the area around Natimuk and Mount Arapiles in the Wimmera where she and her husband James Keyte pioneered and it can be harsh country.

Ann, born in Scotland, arrived in Portland aboard the “Indian Ocean” in 1854 as a four-year old.  Her parents, David Walton and Margaret Tennant went to Mount Gambier and that is where she married James Keyte.  James and Ann selected land in the Natimuk district in 1872 and remained until 1892 when the bought land in New South Wales.  She later returned to Mount Arapiles when her health began to fail.

Oliver YOUNGMAN:  Died December 17, 1915 at Port Fairy.  Oliver was born in Norwich, England in 1847 and arrived to Port Fairy with his parents in 1849.  His father, Arthur Youngman was an owner of the “Port Fairy Gazette” and later the “Alpine Observer” at Bright and Oliver was involved with both newspapers.  He was the ledger keeper for grazier Sir William Clarke for 29 years and later his for his son Sir Rupert Clarke.  Oliver held high office in the Methodist Church and was a member for 50 years.  Leaving a daughter to mourn him, he was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

Mrs Catherine McKENZIE:  Died December 14, 1916 at Ararat.  Catherine McKenzie was born in Scotland and arrived in Australia with her parents around 1853.  She was married Alexander McKenzie at Trawalla Station near Beaufort where Alexander was manager.  They spent time at De Cameron Station near St Arnaud before settling at Ararat.  Catherine and Alexander had nine children.

Mrs Florence DOW:  Died December 16, 1917 at Ararat.  Florence was born in Scotland and arrived  in Victoria aboard the “Lady Peel” as a 16-year-old in 1853.  She married John Dow at Skipton before they took up land at Tatyoon under the Duffy Land Act of 1862.  After John died, Florence lived at the Burrumbeep Homestead, before moving into Ararat.

Alfred Bussell CLEMES:  Died December 26, 1917 at Stawell. Born in Cornwall, Alfred Clemes trained as a chemist in Bristol before travelling to Victoria in 1852.  He opened a business in Melbourne until 1854 when he and his wife opened businesses at the various goldfields.  They arrived in Stawell in 1858 where he remained.  He became Shire secretary in 1870 and held the role for 44 years, only retiring four years before his death.  He was a co-founder of the Stawell Hospital and the Mechanics Institute.

Bernard CONLAN:  Died December 12, 1918 at Dixie.  Bernard Conlan, born in County Down, Ireland, should have bought himself a lottery ticket after a twist of fate saved him from death from a cauldron of molten iron at the Clyde shipyards in Scotland and he survived a bout of typhoid fever on the voyage to Australia, despite given little chance of survival.  He worked first in South Australia before moving to Victoria, living at Garvoc and Wangoom before buying land at Dixie, near Warrnambool.  Despite being burnt out in bush fires in 1887 and losing much of his stock during drought time, with Bernard’s hard work and perseverance he raised a family that had much respect for him.

John THORNTON:  Died December 16, 1919 at Mount Myrtoon

Late Mr. John Thornton. (1919, December 18). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25362137

Late Mr. John Thornton. (1919, December 18). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25362137

And so begins the obituary of Yorkshire born, John Thornton.  At age 18, with his brother, he left England aboard the “Great Britain” for Melbourne.  He spent time in Gippsland before buying land at Mount Myrtoon, where he lived for the next 50 years.  He also opened a stock and station agents that he built into a successful business with transactions from Hamilton to Geelong.  John was a talented cricketer and represented Victoria in 1859 and 1860 and made a great contribution to the Camperdown Cricket Club.

James Park Dawson LAURIE:  Died December 2, 1928 at Naracoorte, South Australia.  James Laurie was a son of Reverend Alexander Laurie and was born at Kongatong station, near Warrnambool, in 1846,  After his schooling, mostly at Portland, he pursued his journalistic aspirations and started the Mount Gambier newspaper “The Border Watch, along with his brother Andrew Frederick Laurie.  In 1868 he travelled to America and Europe and on his return, having sold his share in the newspaper, he moved into pastoral pursuits.  In 1870, he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly.  He married Dora Kean, daughter of Thomas Kean, in 1882 at Portland.  James Kean, Dora’s brother, established the “Portland Mirror“.

Right Reverend Monsignor SHANAHAN:  Died December 6, 1931 at Hamilton.  Monsignor Shanahan was well-known among the Roman Catholic community in the Western District.  Ordained in his home country, Ireland in 1864 he then travelled to Melbourne.  He took up the parish at Carisbrook and later the Inglewood parish overseeing churches in towns such as Clunes, Creswick and Talbot.  In 1878 he became assistant pastor at Warrnambool, then parish priest at Hamilton in 1886 and was there for the completion of the St Mary’s Church.  In 1916 he was appointed Dean of Ballarat.  During his time in Hamilton, Monsignor Shanahan was president of the hospital for 22 years.  Money raised and presented to him went towards completing the well-known spire of  Hamilton’s St Marys Church.

Louisa SEALEY:  Died December 4, 1934 at Casterton.  Louisa Sealey was born around 1861 and arrived in Casterton with her parents when it consisted of only two houses.  She married John Black and they lived in Miller Street, Casterton.  After her husband’s death she resided with her son on his soldier settlement property at Nangeela.  Another son, Gordon was killed at Passchendaele, France during WW1.  Four sons and four daughters survived at the time of Louisa’s death and she still had eight surviving siblings.

Thomas PHILIP:  Died December, 1937 at Hamilton.  Thomas Philip was born in Scotland and came to Victoria as a child after his father, Captain John Philip, gave up the high seas and took over Lagoon Station near Cavendish.  John then purchased Miga Lake Station and St Mary’s Lake Station, which his sons, trading as Philip Bros.  ran after his death.  Thomas married Margaret Laidlaw in 1883 and they had one son and three daughters.

Thomas died at his home “Kenmure” in Ballarat Road, Hamilton.  “Kenmure” is one of my favourite homes in Hamilton and one that I went  past almost daily for around 15 years.  It has recently been sold and is now, probably for a short time only, on a Hamilton Real Estate agent’s site, with some great photos too.

Mary Ann JOHNSTONE:  Died December 22, 1951 at Portland.  Mary Ann was born in Portland around 1856, the daughter of James Johnstone and Dorothy Hall.  Her brother was John Johnstone and her sister-in-law, Mrs Hannah Johnstone.  Mary Ann married Mark Kerr in 1876 and they resided at Drik Drik before moving to Swan Lake about 25 kms away.  Mary Ann was considered an excellent horsewoman, equal to any man.


Passing of the Pioneers

The Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918) is now available at Trove and October Passing of the Pioneers highlights some obituaries from that area.  They show the lure of gold drawing people to Victoria with some of them, such as Mr and Mrs George Stock and Elizabeth Williams, being more like “gold rush chasers” moving from town to town as a rush occurred.

If you hoped your ancestor may have been a gold seeker and you haven’t found them at Bendigo or Ballarat, maybe they were at towns like Pleasant Creek (Stawell), Ararat, Landsborough or Ampitheatre.  I thought I had no gold miners until I found that James Bishop was a miner at Mount Ararat when my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Bishop, was born.

Other pioneers featured include one of my family members, Edward Gamble,  Mrs Hannah Johnstone who would never have starved if she had a gun at hand and two friends of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  I have noticed reading  obituaries that Adam Lindsay Gordon had a lot of friends, maybe even more than he thought himself!

James STARRIT: Died October 3, 1889 at Portland. It could be easy for those like James Starrit to be forgotten forever.  I have come across similar obituaries of men and women, unmarried and with few living relatives.  James Starrit, his two brothers, two sisters and elderly father arrived at Portland from Garry Gort, County Donegal, Ireland on August 18, 1852.  James and his two sisters never married and lived together on a farm, earning enough from the farm to allow them to live their simple life.  Prior to farming, James had been a policeman at Portland.

Edward GAMBLE: Died October 1897 at Colac.  Edward was my ggg uncle, and the son of Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry.  He was only 47 at the time of his death from cancer.  His obituary alludes to its cause being his work canning rabbits,  a job he had for 21 years.  There was a preserving factory in Colac and surrounding towns.  Born in Geelong in 1847, Edward married Martha Hodgins in 1873.  They had 10 known children.  Almost 100 Oddfellows attended Edward’s funeral, dressed in their full regalia as a tribute to their fellow lodge member.

John McKAY:  Died October, 1907 at Richmond.  At the time of his death at age 84, John McKay was living with his son-in-law.  Prior to that he resided in Portland where he made his name as a blacksmith and wheelwright.  He arrived in Victoria in 1853 and Portland in 1854.

Mrs Martha FRENCH: Died October 30, 1908 at Portland.  Martha French died at the home of her grandson Charles French, just three months short of her 99th birthday.  Martha raised Charles and his siblings after the death of their father and as the obituary puts it so well “…the love and care she gave the three little ones was not relaxed as years advanced, and in return she in her declining years reaped the full reward by equally as loving care and devotion”.  Martha arrived in Victoria around 1858, spent a few years in Hamilton before moving to Portland.  She had two children living at the time of her death.

Mrs Mary MOULDEN:  Died October 1910 at Stawell.  Mary Moulden was born in Yorkshire on October 23, 1836 and at 13 she travelled to Adelaide, South Australia.  She married Mr Moulden and around 1875, they moved their family to the Wimmera in Victoria.  They later moved close to Stawell where she remained until her death.

Mrs Mahala LITTLE:  Died October 14, 1915 at Malvern.  Born in Cornwall in 1824, Mahala came to South Australia with her parents in 1840.  Mahala and her gold seeking parents moved to Victoria around 1852.  She married John Little at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1857 aged 33 and they lived in the Ararat district throughout their married lives.  Just weeks before her death, Mahala moved to Malvern to live with her daughter.  Mahala lived through the reign of five monarchs and was 91 at the time of her death.

Thomas Christopher COATES:  Died October 26, 1915 at Buninyong.  Thomas Coates was one of the founding members of the Ballarat Stock Exchange and served as the secretary of the Ballarat Benevolent Society for 26 years.  He was born in Westmorland, England and arrived in Australia in 1853.  He settled at Creswick in 1854.  He died at the home of his son.

Mrs Agnes STEELE: Died October 11, 1916 at Rosebrook.

Obituary. (1916, October 19). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 22, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88009495

Mrs Elizabeth PRESNELL:  Died October 30, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Elizabeth Presnell was born in Parramatta, New South Wales.  When she was 11, she spent six weeks on a voyage to Port Fairy with her parents.  She married William Presnell, a farmer, known for having one of the first threshing machines in the Port Fairy district.  Elizabeth and William had 13 children, six sons and seven daughters.

William ARMSTRONG:  Died October 5, 1917 at Colac.  William was born in Belfast, Ireland the son of a Presbyterian Chaplin.  He arrived in Victoria in the 1860s, first spending time with his uncle at West Cloven Hills before setting up is own dairy farm at Darlington.  His community interests included the Darlington Presbyterian Church, the Mechanics Institute and he was the Darlington correspondent for the “Camperdown Chronicle”.  He left a widow and nine children.

Mrs Elizabeth STOCK: Died October 1917  at Ararat.  Born in 1823 in Somersetshire, England. Elizabeth married George Stock around 1852.  Not long after they married they sailed for Geelong arriving in October 1852.  In 1853, the moved to Ballarat then Stawell when gold was discovered in 1856 at “Forty Foot Hill” and then on to Ararat for the “Commissioners Hill” rush.  George was obviously following gold as they then went on to the rushes at Amphitheatre, Barkly and Landsborough.  Finally, in 1867, they settled at Ararat.  Elizabeth and George had 11 children, with seven still alive at the time of her death.  Like Mahala Little (above), Elizabeth’s obituary mentioned that she had lived through the reign of five monarchs.

Mrs Elizabeth WILLIAMS: Died October 10, 1918 at Ararat.   Elizabeth Williams was an early resident of Ararat.  She was born in Essex, England around 1824 and sailed for Sydney in 1852 aboard the “Earl of Elgin“.  While in Sydney she married J. Green.  After a year and with the lure of gold, she arrived in Bendigo, Victoria and followed the rushes until she ended up in Ararat.  She re-married to Robert Williams and they had three daughters.

Mary BARRETT:  Died October 19, 1918 at Ararat.  Mary Barrett was born in Ireland and arrived in Ararat in the 1860s.  Her uncle, Reverend Father Barrett was a pioneer Roman Catholic priest in the Ararat district and Mary resided with him.  Mary never married and when her health was failing, she moved to the Brigidine Convent in Ararat where she passed away aged 70 years.

James R. KEAN:  Died October 11, 1926 at Ararat.  Born in Portland in 1858, James Kean started working as a printer at aged 20.  Two years later, he became a journalist and produced the “Portland Mirror”.  The paper started out small, but within a year the subscribers increased and the paper was already thought of as “an influential and up to date journal”  In 1885, James purchased the “Portland Guardian” a paper established in 1842.  In the same year he married Jane Robertson,  daughter of Angus Robertson of Straun station near Merino.  James was  a member of the St Stephens Church choir, a member of the Portland racing club and the Masonic Lodge.

St Stephens Church Portland

John JOHNSTONE:  Died October 1930 at Portland.  John Johnstone was a very early arrival in Portland, in 1841, as a baby with his parents James and Dorothy Johnstone.  James was a blacksmith and wheelwright but he eventually purchased land at Kentbruck and built the Emu Flat Hotel or as known by travellers,” Mrs Johnstone’s”.  After his parent’s deaths, John took over the running of the hotel for a short time before selling it and taking up farming.  More commonly known as “Jack”, he was an expert bushman and rider and was a friend of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  He married Elizabeth Angus and they had three daughters and two sons.

John Richard MALLINSON:  Died October 14, 1934 at Pomborneit.  Born in Portland, John spent time in Merino and Hamilton as a child and young man.  He completed an apprenticeship as a blacksmith and wheelwright and opened a business in Coleraine.  After eight years, he moved to Timboon and then Camperdown in 1894 where he again ran a blacksmith’s shop.

Having lived in a number of towns and with his work as a blacksmith he had many friends with horse interests including Cobb and Co drivers of renown and like John Johnstone (above) Adam Lindsay Gordon.

OBITUARY. (1934, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27395509

Frederick WRIGHT:  Died October 14, 1934 at Camperdown.  Frederick Wright was born in Cambridgeshire, England around 1842 and arrived at Corio Bay, Victoria aboard the “Omega” aged 14.  He worked as a nurseryman in the Geelong district before learning to drive bullocks.  At 18 years of age, he took a load of flour to the goldfields at Stawell, the first bullock wagon driven into that area and he only had bush tracks to follow.  He moved to Camperdown in 1871 and ran a dairy farm and a chaff mill and later a butcher shop.  He was an original member of the Camperdown Turf Club.  He had 35 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren at the time of his death.

Mrs Hannah JOHNSTONE:  Died October 1937 at Portland.  Hannah was born in Adelaide in the late 1840s  and moved to Kentbruck, near Portland aged 18.  She married Thomas Charles Johnstone, brother of John Johnstone (above).  Hannah was a woman not afraid to open and close gates and was handy with a gun.  She was known around Portland for sharing ducks or other game she had hunted.  Hannah and Thomas had 10 children.

John A. RIPPON:  Died October 13, 1938 at Camperdown

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

John Rippon carted the first load of timber into Purrumbete Estate  owned by the Manifold brothers  at age 18.  He liked it there and stayed for 10 years.  He then spent another 10 years with William Irving Winter-Irving at Tirrengower near Colac.  He then returned to work for William Thomas Chirnside splitting timber.  But John yearned for his bullock driving days and he began his own carrying business.

VICTORIA’S OLDEST “BULLOCKY”. (1938, October 20). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22995091

Rachel BLACK: Died October 27, 1941 at Kongorgong.  Rachel Black was born in the mid 1850s at Bridgewater.  Her father was Joshua Black, a pioneer of that area.  When Rachel married James Lightbody, the union brought three Bridgewater pioneering families together as James Lightbody was the son of Rebecca Kittson also from a pioneering family of Bridgewater,

Colins CATHELS:  Died October 26, 1952 at Hamilton.  Although he died at  Hamilton, Colin Cathels was a Portland identity.  Old aged forced him to leave the town he loved and he was not happy in his last days.  Born in the 1850s, Colin knew much of  Portland history and enjoyed reminiscing about picnics at the Henty’s home.   He was the Portland manager of the Belfast and Koroit Steamship Navigation Company.  Colin married a Robertson girl, from the well-known local family.


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