Tag Archives: Kirby

Port Fairy Cemetery – Part 1

If you find yourself travelling along Victoria’s south-west coast, don’t miss the Port Fairy Cemetery.

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Last summer, I revisited the cemetery with the aim of photographing as many headstones as possible.  During our four days in Port Fairy, the weather was hot and our days were spent at the beach.  My only chance was to head off early to beat the heat.   I took the dogs, and after a stop at the beach for a run, them not me, we arrived at the cemetery around 7.30am.

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Taking photos and holding two dogs on leads, is not an easy task.  I’m glad they didn’t see the rabbits sitting among the graves but I didn’t count on the burrs.  Soon the dogs were stopping periodically to pick burrs from their paws.  I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked but I have captured some of the older and more interesting headstones.  I will post the photos in two parts.

On one of my past visits to the Port Fairy Cemetery, I joined a tour run by the Port Fairy Genealogical Society.  It was fantastic and I wished I had our knowledgeable guide Maria Cameron on this visit as I tried to remember the stories behind the graves.

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As sealers and whalers, Charles Mills and his older brother John, first saw Port Fairy in 1826, eight years before the Henty brothers arrived at Portland.  However, their whaling camps were not considered permanent in comparison to the Henty settlement, thus the Hentys take the title of first European settlers in Victoria in most discussions on the topic.  Launceston born Charles Mills passed away in 1855 aged 43 and John in 1877 aged 66.   The biography of the brothers is on this link – John and Charles Mills 

 

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HEADSTONE OF BROTHERS CHARLES AND JOHN MILLS

 

 

"BELFAST." The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 21 Nov 1855: 6. .

“BELFAST.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 21 Nov 1855: 6. .

 

"Family Notices." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 24 Sep 1877: .news-article5938525>.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 24 Sep 1877: .news-article5938525>.

 

This was the home of John Mills in Gipps Street, Port Fairy just across the road from the port where he was harbour master.

 

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FORMER HOUSE OF JOHN B. MILLS, GIPPS STREET, PORT FAIRY.

 

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Port Fairy Harbour

PORT FAIRY HARBOUR

 

An obituary for John Mills, published September 28, 1877 in the Portland Guardian:

 

"BELFAST." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 28 Sep 1877:.

“BELFAST.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 28 Sep 1877:.

 

The Portland Guardian published an interesting article about the Mills Brothers on September 21, 1933.  It included their life stories and that of their father Peter Mills who served as secretary to Governor Bligh  – Early Settlers

 

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GRAVE OF BROTHERS CHARLES AND JOHN MILLS (Foreground)

 

William and Agnes Laidlaw were early pioneers of the Port Fairy district, arriving from Scotland with their family around 1841.  William was born on January 20, 1785 and died on April 6, 1870 and Agnes was born on September 20, 1790 and died  on February 12, 1867.

 

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HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM AND AGNES LAIDLAW

"Family Notices." Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 - 1875) 23 Apr 1870 .

“Family Notices.” Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875) 23 Apr 1870 .

 

At least two of their children had great success.  David Laidlaw went on to serve five times as Mayor of Hamilton and was also a leading businessman in that town.   Robert became well-known in the Heidleberg area as a land owner and sheep breeder.  The following is a family photograph taken at Robert’s 90th birthday.  Robert is at the front with the white beard and brother David to his right.

 

"A Nonagenarian Birthday Party." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 23 May 1907: .

“A Nonagenarian Birthday Party.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 23 May 1907: .

 

James Andrews (1780-1855) and Elizabeth Andrews (1811-1870) nee O’Brien and their two sons, Michael and Patrick lie in the following grave.

 

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HEADSTONE OF JAMES AND ELIZABETH ANDREWS AND THEIR SONS MICHAEL AND PATRICK.

 

The headstone is difficult to read from the photo, so I have transcribed it:

Sacred to the Memory of 

James Andrews

Formally of Ratoath County Meath

Ireland

Died January 1855 aged 55 years

Elizabeth Andrews

His Beloved Wife

Died 26 August 1870, aged 59

Also their two sons

Michael

Died 3rd May 1854 aged 15 years

Patrick

Died 15 March 1863, Aged 23 years

There was little information around about the Andrews family but I thought I would check shipping records.  An Andrews family arrived at Portland during October 1853 aboard the Oithona.  They were from Meath, Ireland, matching the headstone.  The family consisted of James, aged 56, Elizabeth aged 45, Patrick aged 12, Fanny aged 10, James aged nine and Therese aged 2.  On arrival James snr and the family went on to Port Fairy of their own account.  If this is the same Andrews family, James was in Victoria only two years before he died.

 

After sorting my photos I’m really disappointed with myself.  The following Goldie family grave is one I remember well from the cemetery tour.  Maria pointed out the top of the grave purposely broken off to signify a life cut short. Firstly, I didn’t get a photo of the top of the grave and secondly I didn’t get a photo of the reverse side of the grave

Instead I got the following photo showing John and Elizabeth Goldie epitaphs.

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GOLDIE FAMILY GRAVE

 

If I had a photo of the reserve side, you would also see three babies. It was their the lives cut short:

Catherine Goldie
Died in Scotland Feb 1859
Aged 21 Months

Margaret
Died Sep 1862 Aged 19 Months

John
Died May 1864 Aged 17 Months

John Goldie and Elizabeth Clarke arrived in Melbourne aboard the Greyhound in 1862.  With them were their children, Elizabeth aged 11, James aged 2 and Margaret aged 1.  John was born in 1862 at Port Fairy and Margaret barely survived the voyage, dying in 1862.

John Goldie snr was a pioneer of the agricultural industry, working with the Agricultural Department planting experimental crops.  Photos of one of his experimental sugar beet crops is below.

 

JOHN GOLDIE'S SUGAR BEET CROP TRIALS.   Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IAN01/10/95/20  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

JOHN GOLDIE’S SUGAR BEET CROP TRIALS. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

 

John died in 1901 after a cow knocked him down.  Elizabeth had passed away 29 years earlier aged 45.

 

"OBITUARY." The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954) 3 Sep 1901: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73029026>.

“OBITUARY.” The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954) 3 Sep 1901: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73029026>.

 

Son of John and Elizabeth, James Goldie. who was two when he arrived at Port Fairy. was a previous Passing Pioneer – James Goldie obituary

 

The grave of William Kerby goes back to the earliest years of the cemetery.  William was buried in 1847 in a grave with headstone and footstone arranged by his wife Mary.

 

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GRAVE OF WILLIAM KERBY

 

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HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM KERBY

 

Look a little closer at the next headstone and a sad story begins to emerge.  A check of the marriage record of Robert and Annie Grosert sees the story turn sadder still.  Robert Grosert, the son of  a Port Fairy butcher and himself in the trade was born in 1852.  He married Irish immigrant Annie Greer in 1877.  By November 14 of that year Robert was dead and by December 4, so was Annie.

 

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GROSERT FAMILY GRAVE

 

George Best was born in Port Fairy in 1853, a son of  George Best and Lucy Weston.  He married Emilie Melina Jenkins in 1877 at Wagga Wagga, NSW and they settled at Port Fairy.  George enjoyed sailing and it was while competing in a regatta on the Moyne River at Port Fairy in March, 1891, he was knocked overboard and drowned.

 

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BEST FAMILY GRAVE

 

 

A diver recovered George’s body from the river floor.  A team of townspeople worked on George for two hours trying to revive him.  An  account of the drowning appeared in the Portland Guardian on March 13, 1891 and described the incident and the preparations of the diver which makes interesting reading.

An inquest was held into the accident.

 

"THE BOATING FATALITY AT PORT FAIRY." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 10 Mar 1891: 5. Web..

“THE BOATING FATALITY AT PORT FAIRY.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 10 Mar 1891: 5. Web.<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8482214&gt;.

 

Coincidentally, George’s father, George Best snr a Port Fairy saddler, drowned in almost the same place 30 years before.  His body was never located.

 

"THE EDUCATION DIFFICULTY SOLVED." The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 23 Apr 1861: .

“THE EDUCATION DIFFICULTY SOLVED.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 23 Apr 1861: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154888852&gt;.

 

George and Emilie’s daughter, Elsie May Best was buried with her parents.  She died on October 10 1897 at Port Fairy aged 20 years and 10 months.

 

"Family Notices." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 23 Oct 1897: 55.  .

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 23 Oct 1897: 55. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138629574&gt;.

 

George’s wife  Emilie Melina Jenkins died in a private hospital “Somerset House” in East Melbourne on April 10, 1924.

 

"Family Notices." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 12 Apr 1924:  .

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 Apr 1924: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1903476&gt;.

 

When you walk through a country cemetery and see dozens of unfamiliar names, then later research those names, it’s amazing what you can dig up, so to speak.  Francis Alexander Corbett is one such name. Francis born in 1818, was buried in the Port Fairy cemetery with his wife Ellen Louisa Lane.

 

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GRAVE OF FRANCIS ALEXANDER CORBETT AND HIS WIFE ELLEN LOUISA LANE

 

After searching Trove newspapers, I discovered that Francis arrived in Australia in search of gold and after some time on the diggings went to Melbourne and worked as a reporter for the Argus. Not fond of the work, he moved to the Census Commission conducting the 1854, 1857 and 1861 census as Census Secretary.  He was also a life member of the Royal Society of Victoria.

 

corbett1

 

In 1857 he wrote a book Railway Economy in Victoria and in the same year married Ellen Louise Lane born c1829.  During the 1860s, Francis and Ellen moved to Port Fairy and Francis managed the estate of James Atkinson.  They later moved to Kirkstall near Warrnambool.  In 1889, the following article appeared about Francis Corbett in the Australian Town and Country Journal:

 

"Western Seaports of Victoria." Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907) 5 Jan 1889 .

“Western Seaports of Victoria.” Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907) 5 Jan 1889 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71113608&gt;.

 

Francis was visiting Port Fairy when he died suddenly at the Commercial Hotel (now Royal Oak Hotel) on June 10, 1893.

 

ROYAL OAK HOTEL, PORT FAIRY (FORMALLY THE COMMERCIAL HOTEL)

ROYAL OAK HOTEL, PORT FAIRY (FORMALLY THE COMMERCIAL HOTEL)

"Family Notices." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 17 Jun 1893: 42.  .

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 17 Jun 1893: 42. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138656519&gt;.

 

An obituary appeared in the Argus:

 

"COUNTRY NEWS." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 12 Jun 1893: .

“COUNTRY NEWS.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 Jun 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8563251&gt;.

 

The information contained in Francis’ will was even more enlightening especially that about his brother John Corbett.

 

"Wills and Bequests." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 28 Jul 1893:  .

“Wills and Bequests.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 28 Jul 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145711319&gt;.

 

I tracked down John Corbett or rather,  Admiral Sir John Corbett born 1822 and died 1893, five months after Francis.

 

"[No heading]." South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1895) 16 Dec 1893: 4. .

“[No heading].” South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1895) 16 Dec 1893: 4. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8442835&gt;.

 

On December 4, 1904, 11 years after Francis, Ellen passed away at St Kilda.

 

"Family Notices." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 5 Dec 1908:   .

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 5 Dec 1908: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10188785&gt;.

 

Five members of the Finn family lie in the following grave.  The first to pass was John Finn in 1879.  John was the owner of the Belfast Brewery and the Belfast Inn with his licence issued in 1841. He was also one of the trustees of the old cemetery which possibly refers to the Sandhills Cemetery although the Port Fairy cemetery website says. at times both cemeteries were referred to as the “old cemetery.”

 

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FINN FAMILY GRAVE

 

The next death in the Finn, family was John’s daughter-in-law Ellen, wife of Laurence Finn.  In 1896, Laurence and Ellen’s youngest son, George passed away aged 25.

 

"Family Notices." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 21 Mar 1896: 45. .

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 21 Mar 1896: 45. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139723181&gt;.

 

Another son, William Henry passed away in 1902.  That left just Laurence who died on May 24, 1914 aged 81 years.  His obituary appeared in the May 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Laurence died a wealthy man having inherited land from his father, however his will was contested.  A hearing in 1916 saw many witnesses called to assess the soundness of Laurence’s mind when his will was drawn up.  The article is available on the following link – http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73880024

 

Just a handful of graves, yet so many interesting characters and stories.

 

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For more information about the Port Fairy Cemetery, check out the website –  Port Fairy Public Cemetery.   Also ABC Local Radio did a great story on the cemetery including an interview with Maria Cameron and you too can listen to Maria talk passionately about the cemetery.  There are also photos with the story which are so much better than mine.  It is available on the following link  – Radio Interview.  The Find A Grave entry for Port Fairy has had some great work done on it with hundreds of headstones photographed.

 


A Western District Melbourne Cup

As John Finn Kirby led his 3yo colt from the Mt Gambier show ring, victor in the 1908 Best 10 stone Hack, most would not have considered the same horse would be led in as the winner of the Melbourne Cup three years later, almost to the day.  But John Kirby had a dream, and his 10 stone hack, The Parisian, was one of several new horses that had the potential to complete the task.

John Finn Kirby was born at his father’s Springbank station, near Casterton in 1858.  His father, Edmund Kirby, was born in Northamptonshire and was one of the early settlers at Casterton as was John’s Irish-born mother Mary Finn.  John and his sister Ellen each received their mother’s surname as their middle name.  As was the way for the sons of  the early pastoralists, John was sent away to school, Ballarat College the choice.  He then spent seven years working for stock and station agents in Ballarat.

At age 24 he went to work for Smallpage’s stock and station agents in Coleraine and after a year he bought the business. By 1883 he was the secretary of the Coleraine Racing Club. In June 1885, John married South Australian girl Elizabeth Crowe, daughter of   the late Edmund Crowe and Johanna Crowe, owners of  Mingbool Station near Mt Gambier. The wedding was a social highlight in the town and created much interest.

The Border Watch. (1885, July 1). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77062640

In 1888, John purchased Mt Koroite Estate near the Coleraine racecourse.

COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE. (1888, September 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6902423

In August 1889, Johanna Crowe passed away, resulting in an interesting battle over her will which ended in the Adelaide Supreme Court.  The estate, worth £80,000, was settled with embattled son John receiving £10000 and daughter Elizabeth, Mrs Kirby, receiving half of the balance.  Her children received the other half of the estate.

John began to spend time between Mt Koroite and Mingbool.  He’d  been  breeding and racing horses for a couple of years but with the use of  Mingbool,  his interests grew and in 1890 he established the “Mingbool Stud”, primarily breeding sheep but also horses and cattle.  An article from the Border Watch on February 18, 1903, reported that Mingbool ran 19,000 sheep, 500 head of cattle and 100 horses.

From the same article:

THE MINGBOOL ESTATE. (1903, February 18). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77157688

By the middle of 1908, John Kirby had acquired three promising young thoroughbreds, Halloween, Benderay and The Parisian.  Benderay was the pick of the trio, brought by Kirby in Dublin, Ireland. Kirby eventually sold the out of form horse in 1912.  Halloween showed a little more promise and picked up a few races for Kirby, but he sold him at auction in 1911.  That left The Parisian, bought by Kirby in 1907 at the Melbourne Yearling Sales.  His sire was Bobadil, winner of the 1899 Australian Cup and Champion Stakes and his dam was The Parisienne.

BOBADILL, SIRE OF THE PARISIAN
(1911, March 18). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 23. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38825171

After his victory in the show ring in 1908, The Parisian had gone into full-time work by January 1909 with Ernie Hartwell.

On and Off the Racecourse. (1923, June 23). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63442639

One of his early races, if not his first, was a six furlong Maiden Plate at Sandown Park on April 7, 1909, where he ran fourth, beaten by over 10 lengths.

The Parisian scored his first victory on April 19 at the Mentone Races and backed up an hour later to attempt a double.  An undecided outcome in the second race led to a third race at the end of the meet.

SPORTING INTELLIGENCE. (1909, April 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10691394

Despite his breeding,  he was only raced over shorter distances with little success. The Parisian was put up for auction.  The great Bobby Lewis, in later years, recalled that time.

£76,000 PLUNGE THAT MISSED. (1933, December 13). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 6 Edition: LATE CITY. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.ne

Passed in, he was then sent to James Agnew, a Hamilton trainer, joining the stable on January 1, 1910.  Agnew soon realised that The Parisian was a stayer and increased his distances with success. The Parisian won the 1910 Warrnambool and Hamilton Cups under Agnew.

James Agnew’s wins with The Parisian were not enough for him to stay in his stables.  The Parisian, along with Halloween were leased to Charlie  Wheeler of Caulfield in June 1910.

Wheeler took the lead of James Agnew and placed The Parisian over longer journeys and both he and Halloween were nominated for the 1910 Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup not long after their arrival in the Wheeler stable.

On October 1, The Argus newspaper’s ongoing summary of the Cup candidates featured The Parisian.  With ordinary lead in form, it looked unlikely The Parisian would line up in the Caulfield Cup, with the Melbourne Cup a more likely option.  It was also noted that in his last race he had struck himself and was given a few days off work.

CUP CANDIDATES. (1910, October 1). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 17. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10465357

The Parisian did not recover fully from his injury, a cracked heel, in time for the 1910 Melbourne Cup and was scratched.

The Parisian’s first win of any note was the 1911 Australian Cup.  The lead up to the race was eventful.  Scheduled to run on March 7, heavy rain leading up to the race saw the meeting postponed and rescheduled for March 9, however the rain had not let up and it was again rescheduled for Saturday March 11.

Considered a weak field, there were only 14 runners and  The Parisian was sent out second favourite.  As the field turned into the Flemington straight The Parisian drew clear and won by six lengths, easing up.

V.R.C. AUTUMN MEETING. (1911, March 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 8. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10885768

(1911, March 28). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), p. 20. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33388818

V.R.C. AUTUMN MEETING. (1911, March 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 8. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10885768

The Parisian then went off to the Sydney Cup, but he was not fully sound and struggled into 12th.

SPORTING. (1911, April 15). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45127765

The next big race for The Parisian would be the 1911 Melbourne Cup.

CUP CANDIDATES. (1911, October 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11621080

In the week leading up to the Cup, The Parisian again had heel problems and could not put his hoof to the ground.  It once again looked like he would be scratched.  Charlie Wheeler, put him out in a small paddock, full of cape weed,  next to the stables.  The move paid off for Wheeler and on the morning of the race, The Parisian was galloping madly around his paddock trying to avoid capture.

A record crowd of 115,000 people headed to Flemington for the 51st running of the Melbourne Cup.

THE 51st MELBOURNE CUP—THE PARISIAN’S EASY WIN FROM FLAVIAN AND DIDUS. (1911, November 18). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 23. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38837876

Trafalgar was favourite and The Parisian ridden by Thomas Ronald Cameron, second favourite, in a strong field.

The 33 horse field jumped and went fast early and as the they passed the judge’s box for the first time, the field was well strung out.  The Parisian began to make his move coming into the straight for the last time, but Cameron waited, not giving the horse his head until the last.  There was no doubt though as The Parisian overtook the leaders and won by two lengths, although many thought it was more.  The win was later described as “hollow” and “soft”

THE 51st MELBOURNE CUP—THE PARISIAN’S EASY WIN FROM FLAVIAN AND DIDUS. (1911, November 18). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 23. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38837876

THE 51st MELBOURNE CUP—THE PARISIAN’S EASY WIN FROM FLAVIAN AND DIDUS. (1911, November 18). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 23. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3883787

After weighing in,  Thomas Cameron was mobbed by stable boys and other jockeys.  Meanwhile, out in the birdcage, John Finn Kirby’s dream had come true, he was the owner of a Melbourne Cup winner and his delight was clear.

THE RECORD CUP. (1911, November 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 13. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11630312

Reflecting 20 years later, Charlie Wheeler, revealed the key to training The Parisian for the Cup.

CHARLIE WHEELER’S MEMORIES. (1932, October 29). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59832043

CHARLIE WHEELER’S MEMORIES. (1932, October 29). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59832043

In the days after the Cup, The Parisian was sent to Bacchus Marsh for a spell, while John Kirby collected his winnings on “Settling Day” at the Victorian Club.  His winnings from the bookmakers thought to be around  £40,000.  The stakes from the Cup another £7000, although Wheeler, as the lessee, would have received the bulk of that.  The Victorian Heritage Database notes that at around that time,  Mt Koroite Homestead received extensive renovations and extensions presumably from Kirby’s winnings.  He had a manager and many staff including a resident Chinese gardener and a chauffeur, Archie Gunning, who drove one of the first cars in the district.

(1911, November 21). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), p. 25. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33400021

THE NOBLE ART. (1911, November 12). Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 – 1954), p. 15. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57722192

An Autumn 1912 preparation was on the agenda for The Parisian including a chance to repeat his win in the Australian Cup for which he was favourite.  Unfortunately, his cracked heel again gave him trouble and he was sent to the paddock, missing all engagements.

Brought back for the Spring Carnival, The Parisian ran in the Memsie Handicap first up, but was needing the run.  He returned in the Rupertswood Handicap where he showed more, but was tender after the race.  During the following week, The Parisian pulled up lame after trackwork and the decision was made to end his Spring campaign,

Autumn Carnival 1913, and once again The Australian Cup was set down for The Parisian.  Punters were wary though, given the ongoing query about the horse’s soundness.  That caution paid off, as The Parisian’s cracked heel again saw him turned out.

It would have seemed unlikely that The Parisian would return for the Spring Carnival, 1913, but as a gelding he did not have a stud career to retire to, so he returned again.  There were reports in early October that he had gone amiss, however he still ran in the Caulfield Cup on October 18.  There were rumours that the horse had problems and would be scratched, however Charlie Wheeler insisted the horse was fine and ran him.  The Parisian ran a creditable 4th but  pulled up lame.

Wheeler’s patience were wearing thin and advised Mr Kirby the horse should be scratched for the rest of the Spring.  Eventually in early November , Wheeler returned the horse to Kirby and The Parisian looked set to retire.

Sporting. (1913, October 29). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77650783

However, in January it was reported that The Parisian would return to racing in the Western District but not before he raced in the Australian Cup in March.

WORLD OF SPORT. (By “Wakeful.”) THE TURF. (1914, January 17). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45268231

Plans changed again as Charlie Wheeler began an Autumn 1914 preparation with The Parisian.  After a few starts, Wheeler finally gave up and once and for all returned The Parisian to Coleraine.

The Turf. (1914, May 7). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 8 Edition: THIRD EDITION. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79921650

At last , the retirement  a Melbourne Cup winner deserves, looked likely.  Nothing of  The Parisian racing appears in the newspaper racing pages until March 1917.   On St Patrick’s Day, 1917, The Parisian returned to racing at the Coleraine Racecourse, across from Mt Koroite Homestead.  With a hefty weight of 14 stone 9 lbs, the heaviest ever carried at Coleraine, and ridden by none other the John Kirby’s chauffeur, Archie Gunning, The Parisian broke down again.

COLERAINE RACES. (1917, March 19). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88021248

There was little doubt that The Parisian had run his last race and around two months later, the sad news came through that The Parisian had been destroyed.  Reports stated it was due to a start at a picnic meeting in the Western District.  With no reports of the horse racing between March 17 and May, it would have to be assumed that his injuries were due to the unreasonable task given to him on St Patrick’s Day at Coleraine, when he is only purpose in racing, it seems, was to attract a crowd.

SPORTING. (1917, May 17). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 10. Retrieved November 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1618494

This snippet from the Barrier Miner newspaper from Broken Hill, four years before The Parisian’s death, foresaw what was to come.  Two further unsuccessful preparations and three years presumably in the paddock, he seemingly needed to earn more oats.  One would have thought he had earned more than a life time’s supply.

WORLD OF SPORT. (1913, March 8). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved November 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45222242

A sad end for a brave horse.

And what of  John Finn Kirby?  He passed away at Portland on April 7, 1942 aged 84.   Elizabeth had passed away 21 years earlier at the Kirby home “Koroite” in Kew, Melbourne.  History shows that The Parisian was the best horse Kirby owned, save for Napier, a winner of the Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank and the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool.

OBITUARY. (1942, April 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64379650

Wondering what my tip is for the 2012 Melbourne Cup?  Well I can’t go past the French theme which has been profitable for me the past two years.

SOURCES:

Trove Australia – List – The Parisian

Victorian Heritage Database


Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers reminds me how much can be learnt about Western Victorian history from reading  pioneer obituaries.  This month sees some prominent men of 19th century Western Victoria, James Dawson, James Thomson and John Kirby.

I am also learning more about the wonderful homesteads dotted throughout the Western District.  The Monivae, Longerenong and Mt. Koroite Homesteads are all mentioned this month.  If you click on the homestead name in the obituary, the link will take you through to the Victorian Heritage Database and relevant homestead’s listing.  I am finding the links to this site, even from Google, a little temperamental lately.  If it does not go directly to the homestead, just click the link again and you will have success.

James DAWSON:  Died April 19, 1900 at Camperdown.  James Dawson was born at Linlithgow, Scotland in 1806.  His mother, Johannah Park, was a niece of explorer Mungo Park.  James left Scotland in 1840, bound for Victoria.  He initially purchased a property on the Upper Yarra at Melbourne, but later bought a property at Port Fairy.  He erected a house he had brought  in pieces from Scotland.  The property was known as Kangatong Estate.  While there, he commissioned artist Eugene von Guerard to paint nearby Tower Hill.

He sold the property and moved to Keilor then Camperdown.  After two years away in Scotland, James returned and was appointed Protector of Aboriginals,  a role that saw his greatest contribution  to Victorian history.  He was also an honourary superintendent of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and amateur taxidermist.   A large collection of his taxidermy was presented to the Museum connected to the Melbourne Mechanics Institute.

William BAILEY:  Died April 25, 1906 at Ballarat.  Born in about 1828, William arrived in Victoria in 1848.  He went to Ballarat during the gold rush and remained there until his death.  The Ballarat papers were speculating at the time of his death the value of his estate, thought to be £400,000 thanks to mining and squatting.  He had a number of children who had been successful including Stephen who was a station owner at Orange N.S.W.  The boys were also good cricketers.

Mrs LEVETT:  Died April 22, 1909 at Portland.  The wife of Mr F.F. Levett, Mrs Levett was 85 years old at the time of her death.  She had been in Victoria since her early teens.  She had many stories about the early days of the Portland district.

James ALGIE: Died April 17, 1910 at Stawell. Jame Algie was a veteran of the Crimean War.  He was born in Glasgow around 1832 and joined the 71st Highland Light Infantry from Glasgow in 1849 and served in Greece and India.  He had lived in Stawell for 40 years.

Thomas CLOHESY:  Died April 24, 1910 at Hamilton.  Thomas Clohesy had been in Victoria since in 1871.  He made the journey from Ireland with his father and brother, but sadly his father passed away on the voyage.  He at one time worked at the estates of the Chirnside brothers.

James THOMSON:  Died April 25, 1910 at Hamilton.  James Thomson was born in Balnachole, Scotland in 1823.  He and his wife travelled to Australia in 1852.  With him he brought sheep farming experience which he tried,  first at Edenhope in a partnership and later at Hamilton at the well known Monivae estate.  James purchased “Monivae” in 1870 from the estate of Police Magistrate Acheson Ffrench.  The property was 18,000 acres and James ran Angus cattle and Lincoln sheep.  The Victorian Heritage Database  lists he also bred rare Scottish ponies, collie dogs and goats.

I have an interest in the history of the Monivae property and it’s homestead as I attended Monivae College in Hamilton which, for a short time in the 1950s, ran the school from the homestead before moving to the current site. The school retained the Monivae name.  At school we learnt a lot about Acheson Ffrench, the original owner, but I knew nothing of James Thomson’s links to the homestead.  Ffrench named “Monivae” after Monivaea Castle, his father’s castle in Galway, Ireland.

I discovered, thanks to the Victorian Heritage Database, that James Thomson built the existing Monivae homestead, known as “Old Monivae”, rather than Ffrench.  Ffrench had lived in another home on the property and it was later left empty by Thomson.  The bluestone for the new homestead was taken from a quarry on the property.   James also donated bluestone for St. Andrew’s  Presbyterian Church, which stands with the Hamilton Anglican Church on Hamilton’s “Church Hill” .  Their spires are landmarks on the Hamilton skyline.  Nana and several other Haddens were married at the Presbyterian Church.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton

James INGLIS:  Died April 12, 1914 at Ballarat.  James Inglis ran the Ballarat coachbuilding business of J. & J. Inglis. with his brother John.  His father started the business in 1860 after he took his family from Melbourne to Ballarat.  James was just three at that time.  The original business was at Market Square but  later moved to nearby Creswick Road.

Robert DALGLEISH: Died April 12, 1914 at Learmonth.  Robert Dalgliesh arrived in Ballarat around 1850 from his native Roxboroughshire, Scotland.  He tried his luck on the diggings, brought property with his brothers, then returned home to Scotland in 1856.  In 1860 he was back and brought a property at Learmonth, “Salwick Hall”,  from his brother.  It was there that he died in 1914.

William UREN:  Died April 19, 1914 at Berringa.  Before travelling to South Australia with his wife during the 1860s, Cornish born William spent time in Chile, South America.  He and his father worked in silver mines.  While in South Australia he worked in the copper mines before moving to Ballarat.  He was a shift boss at the Midas and Lone Hand mines.

Agnes LUNDY:  Died April 16, 1916 at Horsham.  Agnes came to Australia from Scotland during the 1860s and worked for Sir Samuel Wilson at Longerenong near Horsham.  That is where she met her future husband, William McClintock.  William was a cousin of Sir Samuel and worked as an overseer at Longerenong.  They remained at Longerenong for some time, before William bought land and bred find woolled sheep and thoroughbred horses.

Sybil GAIN:  Died April 28, 1921 at Horsham.  Sybil Gain was 90 years old at the time of her death and was one of the Horsham district’s oldest pioneers.  She arrived in Victoria from Scotland during the 1850s.  She married three times.  Her husbands were  John Morrison who she married at 19, William Knipe and John Gillies.  Gillies was a pioneer of the  flour milling industry at Horsham while Sybil was a foundation member of the Horsham Presbyterian Church.

John RUNDELL:  Died April 19, 1925 at Condah.  Born in Cornwall around 1840, John Rundell was a well known member of the Condah community.  He arrived as a child aboard the “Birmingham” with his parents and spent time with his father at the Ararat goldfields.  He married Matilda Hardy upon his return.  Matilda later died and John married Agnes Willling.  John was a road contractor and spent many years building roads between Portland and Hamilton for the Shire.

Mrs James Henry BALL:  Died April 12, 1929 at Hamilton.  Mrs Ball was an early pioneer of the Portland district, having arrived in Adelaide around 1856 from Donegal, Ireland.  It was in Adelaide that she married her husband, James Ball.  They then journeyed to Portland where James farmed.  After the death of James Ball, Mrs Ball moved to Hamilton.

Mrs Hannah BARR:  Died April 13, 1934 at Lyons.  Hannah Barr would have had some great pioneering stories to tell.  She and her husband ran the first and apparently only hotel in the Lyons/Greenwald area.

Obituary. (1934, April 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285471

Mrs John MOLLOY: Died April 1934 at Hamilton.  Mrs Molloy was born in England and travelled to Portland with her parents aboard the “Flora McDonald” .  While in Portland she knew Stephen, Edward and John Henty and had many stories to tell about them.  She moved with her parents to Coleraine and after her marriage she moved to Hamilton.  She was a devout Roman Catholic and crocheted an alter cloth for the St. Marys Church, Hamilton.

Eliza CALLAWAY:  Died April 3, 1942.  Eliza was the daughter of Charles and Anne Callaway and was born in Amherst, Victoria in the mid 1860s.  During the 1870s, the Callaways moved to the Heytesbury Forest near Timboon where Charles selected 240 acres.  He cleared the land and grew hops until red spider began destroying the crops .

Obituary. (1942, April 10). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26091893

John Finn KIRBY:  Died April 7, 1942 at Portland.  John Kirby was quite a man.  Born at “Springbank” Casterton in 1858, he completed his schooling at Ballarat College.  He then worked for seven years as a stock and station agent in Ballarat, before returning closer to home in 1882 to work as a stock and station agent at Coleraine.  He eventually bought the business.

Among his many positions around the district, he was both a Councillor and three time president of the Wannon shire.  He was a chairman of directors of the Western District Butter Factory Ltd. and a Justice of the Peace.

John was a talented sportsman and excelled as footballer, including a stint in the metropolitan league.  Probably his greatest sporting achievement was as a racehorse owner.  His horse The Parisian won the 1911 Melbourne Cup.  He also had success with a steeplechaser, Napier which won the Great Eastern Steeple at Oakbank, South Australia and the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool.

John Kirby married Elizabeth Crowe in 1885.  They resided in the Mt. Koroite homestead overlooking the Coleraine racecourse.  The Victorian Heritage Database mentions extensive renovations to the homestead after Parisian’s success in the Cup.

Robert Arthur LIGHTBODY: Died April 1949 at Drik Drik.  Robert Lightbody was the third son of the wonderful Rebecca Kitson remembered in the January Passing of the Pioneers.   Robert had fine clerical skills and was a Justice of the Peace, secretary of the Drik Drik Butter factory,  Drik Drik P & A Society, Drik Drik school, Drik Drik Repatriation commitee and the Drik Drik cricket club.  As if wasn’t busy enough, he was also a local preacher of the Methodist church for 65 years.  His wife, Ellen Jones, must never have seen him.  All that activity must have contributed to him living to the ripe old age of 93.


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