Tag Archives: Kittson

Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers includes members of some of Western Victoria’s well-known pioneering families including Bell, Learmonth, Trigger, Kittson and Coulson.  There is also the great character of Thomas Tattersall of Ararat, a train driving pioneer.

Edwin CUMMINGS:  Died April 2, 1892 at Portland.  Edwin Cummings, originally from Tasmania, had only been in Portland around 16 years but in that time he worked hard to improve his lot.  On his arrival in Portland he ran a successful saw-milling/cabinet making business.  Edwin then moved to farming pursuits.  Using modern farming methods, he was able to improve his holding.  Edwin also lost several adult children to consumption.

Thomas TATTERSALL:  Died April 24, 1894 at Ararat.  Lancashire born Thomas Tattersall died from fish poisoning on his birthday.  He was a pioneering engine driver and his death was recognised by the  Governor of Victoria who sent a telegram of condolence to the Ararat railway station.  Thomas drove the first train from Melbourne to Bendigo and was one of the first drivers to Portland.  He had also driven the train for many dignitaries including the Governor and the Premier of Victoria.

Thomas BROWN:  Died April 1903 at Hamilton.  Thomas Brown went to Hamilton with his parents, after their arrival in Victoria from Scotland in 1852.   Thomas was an elder of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church and a long time member of the Sons of Temperance and was also involved with other temperance movements.  Active in many charities, his obituary noted that the poor of Hamilton had lost a friend in Thomas Brown.

Alfred COWLAND:  Died April 27, 1908 at Casterton.  Alfred Cowland was born in Kent, England and arrived in Victoria around 1858 aged 22.  He travelled with his parents, and Alfred and his father began farming at Greenwalde.  Alfred married the widow of Fred Spencer, but they did not have any children.

Mrs W.H. OSMOND:  Died April 8, 1915 at Port Fairy.  Mrs Osmond’s husband Harry was a partner in Osmond Bros., hotel keepers and butchers.  Mrs Osmond was hostess at the Market Hotel, Port Fairy, and considered  a most popular landlady in the Western District and if the races where on, she was there.

Thomas Ferry PEARSON:  Died April 24, 1915 at Port Fairy.  Thomas Pearson was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England and arrived in Portland in 1852.  He married Jane Strachan there before moving to Port Fairy in 1855.  He went to work on the pilot boats under Captain Mills and then for 13 years was keeper of the Griffiths Island lighthouse.

Francis Stubbs COULSON:  Died April 10, 1916 at Hamilton.  Francis Coulson was the husband of my gg aunt Harriet Martha Diwell.  He was the son of Christopher Coulson and Mary Frances Stubbs and was born in Yorkshire, England in 1842.  He married Harriet in 1873 and they had 13 children.  Francis ran a carrying business between Portland and the inland towns.  He also farmed at “Rosebank” Dwyers Creek and hard work saw him turn it into a “nice property”.

Mrs DIGBY:  Died April 23, 1918 at Port Fairy.  Mrs Digby was born in Somersetshire, England and arrived in Victoria in 1852.  Soon after she married Joseph Digby.  They had a large family of nine sons and daughters.  She was 88 at the time of her death.

Kate CUE:  Died April 23, 1917 at Port Fairy.  Kate Cue was from the Casterton district.  Her brother  Tom Cue, a miner, had the town Cue, Western Australia named after him.  She married William Sutherland McPherson of “Nangeela” station, Casterton.  They took up residence in Port Fairy and had seven children.

James MAHONEY:  Died April 27, 1918 at Port Fairy.  James Mahoney of Killarny was a member of one of the oldest families in the district.  He was the son of Mrs Quirk and had three brothers and a sister living at the time of his death aged 69.  James had travelled extensively throughout Australia and never married.

James BELL:  Died April 1923 at Mt. Eckersley.   James Bell was a member of the well known Bell family of Mt Eckersley near Heywood.  James, his parents and siblings arrived in Victoria in 1841 and they settled at Mt Eckersley.  James was the last surviving member of the original family known for their longevity.  James was 97 at the time of his death and his father John Bell lived to 101.

Jonathan HARMAN:  Died April 1930 at Heywood.  Jonathan Harman, my ggg uncle was also from a family known for longevity. He died at the home of his daughter, Amelia, wife of the nephew of James Bell (above).  Jonathan was 92 years old and a colonist of 76 years.

Kate Isabella HILL:  Died April 1934 at Wodonga.  Kate Hill was the daughter of John and Isabella Hill of West Portland.  She was better known as “Kitty Hill” and her and sister Lizzie were household names in their early days.  John Hill was a local school teacher.  Kitty married William Smith of Wodonga and was 75 years old when she died.

Alexander MOTT:  Died April 12, 1934 at Casterton.  Alexander was born in Millicent, South Australia and went to the Casterton district in the early 1900s.  He farmed at Carapook and Bahgallah before settling in the Casterton township.  His wife predeceased him and he left seven sons and daughters.

Mary Simpson LEARMONTH:  Died April 2, 1939 at Hamilton.  Mary Learmonth was from one well-known Hamilton family and married into another when she wed David Laidlaw.  Mary was the daughter of Peter Learmonth of “Prestonholme” Hamilton.   David’s father was David Laidlaw, a saddler who arrived in Hamilton with no money and become one of the town’s most prominent citizens.

Mary was quite the sportswoman and was 17 times female champion of the Hamilton Golf Club.  This was according to her obituary in the Portland Guardian however her obituary in The Argus of April 4, 1939 states she was club champion 39 times.   She was also a talented tennis and croquet player.  Other than sport, Mary was president of the Australian  Women’s National League prior to her death and was a member of the Hamilton Horticulture Society.

Mary died at her home “Eildon” on the corner of Thompson and French Street Hamilton.  Everyone who has lived in Hamilton will know the Laidlaw’s former home, just on the edge of the CBD and overlooking the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.  The house, designed by Ussher and Kemp, was sold after Mary’s death to the Napier Club, a club formed by the female counterparts of the Hamilton Club.  The club, formed around 1931, still occupies “Eildon” today.

"Eildon", Hamilton

“Eildon”, Hamilton

Alice M. WYATT:  Died April 23, 1940 at Hamilton.  Alice Wyatt, the daughter of Mr and Mrs T.L. Wyatt, spent her childhood in Portland before moving to Hamilton around 1878 when she was 20.  She did spend some time in Melbourne working for Sir Edward Miller and his wife Lady Mary Miller.  Sir Edward was a politician who made his money in finance and pastoral pursuits.  Alice spent the last 25 years of her life in Hamilton.

Irwin BELL:  Died April 1940 at Hamilton.  Irwin Bell of Dartmoor was a son of James Bell (above).  Irwin was born in Portland around 1874 and lived at Mt Eckersley until the Bell family property was sold.  He married Ann Letts of Heywood and together they led a life dedicated to the Church of England.  They established the first Sunday School at Dartmoor and prepared parishioners for their first communion.  Irwin also worked for the Department of Forestry and in later years was a Justice of the Peace.  He died at KiaOra Hospital in Hamilton and was buried at Heywood cemetery.

James TRIGGER:  Died April 25, 1945 at Macarthur. James Trigger was the son of Samuel and Eliza Trigger of Warrabkook near Macarthur.  Born in 1859, James selected land at Mt Eccles at a young age and he farmed there for the duration of his life.

OBITUARY. (1945, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404393

OBITUARY. (1945, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64404393

James was interested in horse racing and was an owner of a number of horses.  He left a widow and a son and daughter.

Mr R.S. KITTSON:  Died April 8, 1948 at Lower Cape Bridgewater.  Stephen Kittson was the son of James Kittson and Catherine Trotter and the last surviving member of the first family of Kittsons to arrive at Cape Bridgewater.  A deeply religious man, he was involved in many church activities.  Having had two sons serve in WW1, Stephen showed an interest in returned servicemen and with his passing “ex-servicemen have lost a loyal friend”

Mary Ann ALLSOP:  Died April 10, 1953 at Port Campbell.  Mary Ann was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Samuel Allsop, pioneers of the Port Campbell district.  She married Thomas Wiggens at Purrumbete.  After the death of Thomas, Mary Ann moved to Camperdown.  She left one son and three daughters and was buried at the Camperdown cemetery.


Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored  for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of  Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

There are  the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on a letter she wrote on Christmas Day, 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry, comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women.  Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible.  This is where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also  listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed.   This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognized separately,  include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as a Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.


Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On

PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1927, November 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259147

On July 22, 2011, I posted the first Passing of the Pioneers and 12 months on I am preparing to post the 13th edition.

There are now over 180 links to Western Victorian pioneer obituaries at Western District Families and the 13th edition will see the total go over 200.

Reading all those obituaries has been a privilege and has taken me on a wonderful journey, not only through the history of the Western District, but to place such as game parks in Africa and the silver mines of South America.  The lives I have glimpsed into range from that of gentry to general hand, but all have shared in making Western Victoria the place it is today.

Some of the pioneers were born during the early days of Victoria,  while others dared their lives aboard immigrant ships in the hope of a better life.  Many travelled from the ports to the Western District by bullock wagon on rough tracks, while enduring unfamiliar conditions.  They built houses on land that would one day see towns such as Penshurst, Hamilton and Balmoral grow around them.

The women from the pioneering era deserve recognition.   Some were alone among men, left to bear and raise children and turn their canvas tents or slab huts into homes.  Many endured loneliness, but as towns grew some became involved with community activities such as the church.   Despite their hardships, many of these women’s obituaries noted that even in old age they would reminisce about those times.

Obituaries came after the pioneer “crossed the Great Divide”, penned by someone who too had heard the stories but may not have had all the facts.  That is my warning to you while you read obituaries and in the July 2012 Passing of the Pioneers I will show this with an obituary from my family.

Having said that,  it is the snippets of information within them that make obituaries a worthwhile family history resource.  Names of children and their married names, places of residence, occupations and immigration details are just some of those snippets which you can then test against the relevant records.

Many of the obituaries I have read have moved me, inspired me and led me to further research.   I have listed just some of those, not so much for the achievements of the subject but the stories they tell.  Click on the pioneer’s name to go to their original newspaper obituary or the date to go to the Passing of the Pioneers post where the obituary appeared:

Frederick William BILSTON (August 2011)

Mrs Agnes CHEQUER (November 2011)

Thomas Denton CLARKE (October 2011)

Elizabeth COLE (March 2012)

James DAWSON (April 2012)

Alfred Irvine HOGAN (February 2012)

KITTSON family – James (May 2012), James Trotter (December 2011),  Rebecca (January 2012),  Susannah (June 2012) and Mrs Margaret Kittson (May 2012)

MALSEED family – Fanny Ann (February 2012),  Robert J. (May 2012) ,  Mrs E.A. MALSEED (August 2011) and Mary HEDDITCH  (Mrs James MALSEED) (July 2011)

Finlay McPherson PATON (September 2011)

Joseph Bell PEARSON (July 2011)


Passing of the Pioneers

It is never ceases to amaze me how the branches of my family tree reach out through the Western District and entwine with the branches of other family trees.  The roots of each tree are different but the branches come together by way of marriage.  In this month’s Passing of the Pioneers, two of the families represented have links to two of my own families.

This month also sees Mr and Mrs George Excell who sadly passed away within hours of each other.  There is also a member of the Kittson family of Bridgewater and a dentist born in the same area.  There is Mrs Jukes, educated in Belgium and John Gorman, an Irish policeman.

William LUXTON – Died June 4, 1903 at North Hamilton.  William Luxton was born in Devonshire, England about 1819.  He arrived in South Australia around 1846 before moving to Macarthur, Victoria in the 1850s where he remained until his death.  He had four daughters still alive at the time of his death including Mrs T.R. Oliver (Margaret Luxton) who was the sister-in-law of Elizabeth Oliver (wife of Reuben Harman) and Mary Oliver (wife of Jonathan Harman).

Robert ISBEL – Died June 1908 at Ararat.  Robert Isbel’s father came to Victoria from Adelaide in search of gold, with Robert and his mother joining him at Great Western in 1862.  Robert settled at Concongelia.

Francis MATTHEWS – Died June 6, 1915 at Landsborough.  Francis Matthews was a native of Ireland and had worked in the Dublin Customs Department before coming to Australia.  He eventually settled at Joel Joel and worked hard on the land.  He only had two relatives in Australia at the time of his death, a brother and a cousin.

Mrs Sarah Elizabeth REECE – Died June 8, 1915 at Hamilton.  Originally from Blackwood, Victoria, Sarah married James Reece from Purdeet, near Penshurst.  She saw Penshurst grow from nothing to a permanent town.  Sarah and James had three sons and four daughters.

Mrs Duncan McKENZIE – Died June 13, 1915 at Rhymney.  Mr and Mrs Duncan McKenzie arrived in Victoria from Scotland in the early 1850s.  Duncan obtained a job at Allanvale Estate a large sheep station near Great Western.  Mrs Duncan died at the home of her daughter, Mrs Foley, and was buried at Ararat Cemetery.

Mrs A.M. JUKES – Died June 27, 1915 at Warrnambool.  Mrs Jukes arrived in Melbourne from Scotland in 1852 to marry Alfred M. Jukes.  After time living in Richmond, they moved to Warrnambool where Alfred took up a post of solicitor, one of the first in the town.  He was also Town Clerk for a time.  Alfred died in 1872.  Mrs Jukes was a member of the Christ Church Ladies Guild and when World War 1 broke out she was particularly interested in the fate of Belgium and its residents.  As a girl, she was educated in Malines, Belgium a town later destroyed by the Germans.

George EXCELL – Died June 11, 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  George Excell was a successful breeder of dairy cattle, draught horses and sheep.  He began his time in Victoria when he landed in Geelong aged around 27 during the 1850s.  He went to Ballarat and was there at the time of Eureka, before residing at Swan Bay near Queenscliffe for forty years.  He later moved to Stockyard Hill, east of Ararat where he remained until his death.

Mrs George EXCELL – Died June 11, 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  Mrs Excell was the wife of George, mentioned above.  There union was so great that Mrs Excell died only hours after hearing of George’s passing.

Alexander McBEAN – Died June 13, 1917 at Casterton.  Alexander was a blacksmith, who learnt his trade as a teenager, fresh from the boat.  His first boss was known as “Terrible Billy” Thomson.  He was then apprenticed to Mr. W. Handley at Sandford before moving to the Ballarat district.  He later moved to Edenhope and then Casterton where he had a blacksmith’s business behind Cawker’s Mart.  He again moved, this time to Harrow, before once again moving back to Casterton and opening another blacksmith business which he ran until his death.

John Henry Morris BILSTON – Died June 17, 1917 at Penola, South Australia.  John Bilston was the son of  Thomas Bilston, an early settler of Melbourne and brother of Frederick William Bilston,  from August Passing of the Pioneers.  John was born in Heywood around 1846 and his first job was an apprentice saddler which he did for five years.  Finding that rather sedate, he became a gun shearer and a buckjump rider.  After some time farming, he took up saddlery again in his later years.  John married  Mary Mingoue, the daughter of Simon Minogue of Portland.

William MULLEN - Died June 13, 1917 at Drik Drik.  Born in Ireland, William Mullen arrived in Victoria in 1862 aged 18.  He married Emma Holmes of Lower Cape Bridgewater and they  celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just prior to William’s death.  They had a family of nine children.

Mr T G HENRY – Died June 16, 1920 at Portland.  The lure of gold brought T.G. Henry to Australia from Ireland but his life soon went from that of a miner to teacher.  He taught at the Heywood school from 1870 to 1876 and the Mumbanner school from 1876 to 1888 after which he retired.  He then farmed until he moved to Portland in 1906.  His wife was Miss Tatham of Doncaster, Melbourne and they had five children.

Luke BYRNE – Died June 18, 1920 at Ballarat.  This is obituary which tells a great pioneering story.  Irishman Luke Byrne began in his time in Australia at Ballarat and his life ended in Ballarat.  Luke originally carted goods from Ballarat through to Horsham and the stations beyond.  At the time, the only residents of Horsham were all male except for one woman.

Obituary. (1920, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73193445

Luke was one of the first to select land in the Wimmera in an area which became known as Byrneville.  The early years were very difficult and at times Luke had to leave his selection and take up jobs to suppliment his income.  By the time he retired, Luke had increased his holding to 3,000 acres of the best wheat growing land which he was able to pass on to his three sons.  Luke and his wife had a total of 12 children.

John GORMAN – Died June 18, 1922 at Geelong.  As a policeman of 34 years, John Gorman worked in towns throughout Western Victoria.  John joined the police force shortly after arriving in Victoria from Ireland in 1863.  In his retirement, he lived in Geelong.  He left a wife and five children.

Susannah KITTSON – Died June 3, 1926 at Portland.  Susannah Kittson came to Victoria from Ireland as a six-year-old in 1841.  She was a member of the pioneering Kittson family of Bridgewater.  On arrival at Geelong, her family “trekked” to Colac, then Tahara and then on to Bridgewater.

Susannah married John Harcoan and they settled at Minyip in the Wimmera.  Three months before her death, Susannah returned to live at Portland where she found “peace at last” in the place of her childhood.  She left five children.

William OSBOURNE – Died 19, 1930 at Portland.   Born in Portland, William with his brothers, followed his father into the butchering business.  Osbournes Butchers were known as giving  “full value and a square deal to all”.  William was also a foundation member of the Portland P & A Society and was a vestryman at St Stephens Church.

St Stephens Church Portland

Caroline HUMPHRIES – Died June 8, 1931 at Casterton.  Born at Portland around 1860, Caroline was the daughter of Charles Humphries and Caroline Sampson.  Within a few years of her birth, Caroline’s family moved to Henty, between Merino and Casterton.  She later married James Lane and they settled at Dunrobin, north of Casterton where they raised a large family.  I have a link to Caroline Humphries through my Diwell line.  Caroline’s niece  Margaret Ley Humphries, married my1st cousin 3 x removed ,William Ralph Francis Coulson a grandson of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.

Peter GAMBETTA – Died June 5, 1931 at Stawell.  Peter Gambetta came to Stawell from his home in Ticiano which lies in Italy but is a state of Switzerland.  Gold was the lure but after the boom, he started a vineyard “St Bernards” near Stawell.

Joseph Henry PORTER – Died June 22, 1931 at Portland.  Born in England around 1840, Joseph Porter arrived in Portland around 1854.  Taking on the trade of cabinet maker, he was known for his fine craftsmanship.  His wife was Sarah Herbertson, a member of a well-known family from Portland West.  They had no children.

Dr. James Thompson TUNNOCK – Died June 16, 1933 at Hamilton.  Despite moving away at a young age, Dr. Tunnock had strong links to the early pioneers of south-west Victoria.  James was the son of Jonathon Carrick More Tunnock and Jane Kennedy and was born at Cape Bridgwater in 1853.  Being bright at school and having no interest in farming, James took himself off to Melbourne to study dentistry.  Maybe I should not have put the prefix of Dr. in front of James’ name as in 1913, he was fined £5 for using the title Dr. on signage,breaching the Dentists Act 1910.

Advertising. (1908, September 5). Independent (Footscray, Vic. : 1883 – 1922), p. 1. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73259572

I don’t think I would fancy visiting a Dental Parlor.  It sounds too much like Funeral Parlor!

Ann BEGLEN – Died June 7, 1940 at Portland.  Miss Ann Beglen’s Irish parents John and Margaret, arrived at Williamstown in 1841 before travelling on the “Frances Henty” to Portland.  On arrival, John set up a butcher shop.  Ann was born in 1848 and educated at Miss Dunbar’s private school at Portland.  In her later years Ann could still remember playing as a child around the foundations of the then under construction”Burswood” built by Edward Henty.  At the time of her death, Ann was living with her nieces at “Pioneer Cottage” the home where she was born.

Nonogenarian’s Birthday. (1938, July 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64279644


Passing of the Pioneers

If some of the pioneers from May Passing of the Pioneers could be gathered in one room, the stories would be flowing.  Many of them enjoyed telling stories from the past and had great recollections of the early days.  Subjects would include Queen Victoria, the Henty brothers, the Eureka Stockade, lands sales and gold.  I’m sure they would have all agreed with  fellow pioneer John Waters’ philosophy to “paddle your own canoe”.

Agnes PATERSON: Died May 29, 1901 at Portland.  Agnes was the was the daughter of a Tasmanian solicitor, Alex Paterson.  She married John Norman McLEOD and they first arrived in the Portland district around 1850.  John built “Maretimo” before purchasing “Castlemaddie“, a property at Tyrendarra.  Between 1851 and 1856, John McLeod was the MLA for Portland.  Agnes was 75 at the time of her death and left three sons.

James KITTSON:  Died May 20, 1911 at Melbourne.  James Kittson was one of the original pioneers of the  Bridgewater area.  He was the father of Rebecca Kittson and James Trotter Kittson both of whom have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.  James was a Councillor with Portland Shire Council.

John GILLIES:  Died May 1914 at Moonee Ponds.  John Gillies was a farming pioneer around the Ararat district.  He was a member of the Farmers’ Co-operative Company and the Ararat Agriculture Society.

Emily Julia BENNETT:  Died May 1914 at Stawell.  Emily Bennett was a Stawell pioneer.  Originally from London, she arrived in Victoria around 1860 with her parents Dr. Edwin Bennett and Mrs. Bennett.  The settled around Stawell around 1865.  Gold was the main focus in Stawell at the time and the town consisted mostly of tents.   Dr Bennett took up a position as hospital doctor which he held for many years.  Emily married Mr R.Z. DAVIES  at the Stawell West Anglican church.  Mr Davies was the headmaster at the Stawell State School.

William B. BRADSHAW:  Died May 26, 1915 at Ballarat.  Born in Cambridgeshire, England, William Bradshaw arrived in Adelaide as an 11 year old in 1837.  One of the last events he attended in London before his departure was the ceremony for the Proclamation of the accession of Queen Victoria.  Once in South Australia, his father established one of the first bakeries in Adelaide.  William was lured to the goldfields of Victoria in 1851.  He had reached Ballarat by 1854 the time of the Eureka Stockade.  He was one of the first Justices of the Peace appointed in Victoria.

John WATERS:  Died May 4, 1917 at Nareen.  John Waters was born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland in 1830.  He and his wife arrived at Portland aboard the “General Hewitt” in 1856 and headed towards the Casterton district.  After some moving around he finally settled at “Rock View” at Nareen in 1867 where he remained until his death.  John’s pioneering story is similar to so many others of his time:

Obituary. (1917, May 7). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74489225

If John was concerned about “coddling legislation” almost 100 years ago, what would he think of our society today?

John CHRISTIE:  Died May 15, 1918 at Byaduk.  Born at Garvard, Haddington, Scotland in 1834 and arrived at Portland in 1851.  He settled at Byaduk, naming his property “Garvard Vale“.  With his brother they breed find Lincoln sheep.  A further obituary can be read at Obituaries Australia

Mrs Margaret KITTSON Died May 19, 1927 at Heywood.  Although she was only eight at the time, Margaret Kittson retained memories of her voyage to Melbourne in 1840.  She also recalled the early days of Portland, the Hentys, William Dutton, Black Thursday of 1851 and the wreck of the steamer “Admella”.  She married Hugh Kittson and they settled at Bridgewater Lakes.  In her later years she retained her wit and loved the company of children.  She was a contributor to the Red Cross during WW1.

William Primrose ANDERSON:  Died May 26, 1927 at Portland.  William Anderson was a well known resident of Portland and was known around the town as “W.P.”.  He was born in 1845 in Melbourne and arrived in Portland with his parents around 1857.  His first job was working in a grocery and hardware store in Portland.  By the age of 28 he had taken over the business.  He set up an wool export business and had many other business interests around the town.  His obituary is lengthy and is worth reading to learn more, not only about “W.P’s” life but also the early days of Portland.  William Anderson demonstrated the qualities shown by many other pioneers:

Obituary. (1927, May 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257336

William McINTYRE:  Died May 23, 1936 at Hamilton.  William McIntyre arrived at Portland in 1852 with his parents aboard the “John Davis“.  He was born in Inverness, Scotland only three years earlier.  By 1855, the McIntyres arrived at Muddy Creek near Hamilton via Strathdownie and South Australia.  William was a gun shearer, with his record being 209 sheep in one day.  He also was a good athlete, winning many prizes at sports days from Penshurst to Branxholme.

Mary MUMFORD:  Died May 5, 1940 at Camperdown.  Mary Mumford was born in England in 1845, and arrived in Australia with her parents in the late 1840s.  She married Frederick TILL in 1863 and lived in Cobden.  Frederick was killed in an accident, leaving Mary with four children.  She married John PETER and they had a further five girls.  It is not mentioned what happened to Mr Peter, but Mary left Cobden for Cowley’s Creek where she resided for 25 years.  Later in life she married Mr NELSON.  At the time of her death she had one son, six daughters, 44 grandchildren, 55 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.  Her son William Till played a part in the rescue of the two survivors of the “Loch Ard

Mary LOUREY:  Died May 3, 1941 at Glenormiston.  Mary Lourey was the last surviving child of Thomas and Johanna Lourey.  She was born at Kirkstall around 1858.  Twenty-two years later she married Thomas KELLY and they eventually settled at Glenormiston.  Thomas was behind the construction of the Glenormiston butter factory.  At Mary’s funeral at the Noorat Catholic Church, the children from St Joseph’s School formed a guard of honour.  The cortege was said to stretch from Noorat to Terang where Mary was buried.

Henry C. WILLIAMSON:  Died May 25, 1948 at Portland.  Henry Williamson was a pioneer of the fruit growing industry in the Gorae district.  He and his brother grew apples and later built cool stores at Gorae which were a profitable ongoing concern.  Henry retired into Portland and was a prominent member of the Wesley Church and the Portland P & A Society,

Robert J. MALSEED Died May 1950 at Portland.  Robert Malseed was the youngest son of Irish immigrants, Stewart and Margaret Malseed.  Robert was born at Portland in 1860 and married Elizabeth Ann TRENEAR in 1888.  Robert and Elizabeth lived all their married lives at 88 Garden Street, Portland where Robert had an orchard.  One of his proudest moments was representing the Malseed family at the 100th anniversary reunion of the arrival of his parents.  He was the oldest surviving member of the Portland Oddfellows Lodge.


Passing of the Pioneers

Seventeen more obituaries of Western District pioneers join the collection this month, and what a group they are.  I must say I had to pass a lot over, but it will ensure Passing with the Pioneers will be going to at least January 2014!  New papers at Trove has guaranteed that.  Obituaries came from the “Portland Guardian“, “Horsham Times” and “Ballarat Courier“.

There are a couple of special ones, those of  James HENTY and Rebecca KITTSON and I highly recommend that you read the obituary in full.  I actually found Rebecca’s obituary rather moving and after driving through the Bridgewater area recently, I have great respect for her family and others that settled there.  To read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name and the obituary will open in a new tab.  Some are a little hard to read, but magnifying the page helps.

I have also included a “young” pioneer who has a family link to me.  Thank you to Rachael Boatwright for allowing me to include a photo of her family member.

James HENTY – Died January 12, 1882, Richmond, Victoria.  I thought trash magazines today told all, but the obituary of the Honourable James HENTY M.L.C. shared every detail of the last 24 hours or so his life.  How can I possible give a summary of the life of James HENTY, one of the famous pioneering HENTY clan?  Instead,  read the obituary, it is great!  Sadly I think James’ life may have ended prematurely, if that is possible at 82, due to a collision with a Newfoundland dog the week before.

Hugh MCDONALD – Died January 30, 1899, Portland.  This is a timely obituary coming so soon after my Portland trip.  While there,  I learnt something of the wreck of the steamer “Admella” in 1859 and the Portland life boat crew that went to her aid.  Hugh McDONALD was one of the brave men on board the life boat during that daring rescue.

William GARDINER – Died January 17, 1904, Warracknabeal.  William GARDINER, another pioneer with an interesting life.  He arrived in Victoria in 1849 aboard the barque “Saxon” and spent time in Melbourne, Geelong and the goldfields, before heading to New Zealand.  On his return to Australia, he lived in Port Fairy and Hamilton, working as a journalist, before moving to the Wimmera as a correspondent for the “Belfast Gazette”.  He like it so much, he decided to select land at Warracknabeal.  He also worked as a correspondent for the “Horsham Times” and built houses!

Jean MccCLINTOCK  – Died January 19, 1904, Melbourne.  While only 40 at the time of her death and not an “old pioneer”, I have included Jean as she was the sister-in-law of  Alfred Winslow HARMAN.  Jean married William MILLER and they resided at Rupanyup.  After some illness, Jean travelled to Melbourne for an operation, but she died as a result.

Jean McClintock & William Eaton Miller. Photo courtesy of Rachael Boatwright & family.

I must say William is sporting a fine moustache and would have been a contender for Inside History Magazine’s Movember fundraiser  Hairy Mancestors.

Joseph JELBART – Died January 17, 1904, Carapook.  Joseph worked as the mail contractor between Carapook and Casterton up until his death.  Prior to that he had worked as a blacksmith and a wheelwright at Chetwynd, Merino and Natimuk.  Interesting coincidence, just as Joseph did, his father and brother both died on a Sunday morning in the same house.

Rachel Forward READ – Died January 15, 1904, Lower Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel Forward READ and her husband Richard Charlton HEDDITCH arrived in Adelaide in 1838 and settled at Cape Bridgewater from 1845 after a stint teaching at the Portland Church of England school.  They resided at the Lal Lal Homestead.  The  Victorian Heritage Database listing for Lal Lal includes a letter home by Rachel after their arrival at Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel was buried at the Cape Bridgewater cemetery rather than the Hedditch family cemetery at Lal Lal.

Donald McRAE – Died January 12, 1914, Tooan.  Donald McRAE was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1842 and travelled with his parents to Portland.  In 1865, he moved to Muntham near Hamilton to farm with brother.  The pair eventually selected 320 acres of land each at Natimuk.  Donald was a member of the Horsham Caledonian Society.

Samuel WALKER – Died January 24, 1914,  Ballarat.  Samuel WALKER was born in Cheshire, England around 1828 and travelled to Australia in 1852.   After his arrival on the goldfields of Ballarat, he set up a soda water factory which proved profitable for him.  He then became a partner in Evans and Walkers and worked as an accountant.  He was also the registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at Ballarat from 1872.

Mrs Selina HARRIOTT – Died January, 1917,  Wickliffe.  Selina HARRIOTT had resided at Wickliffe for almost 60 years.  She was twice married.  Her first husband was Mr HAGUE and her second, George HARRIOTT.

Phillip ORMSBY – Died January 12, 1918 at Ellerslie.  Phillip ORMSBY was born in County Cork and attended the Dublin University as a young man to study medicine.  The lure of Australia was too great, and he abandoned his studies to sail to Australia on the “Champion of the Seas” in the early 1850s.  After three years on the Ballarat goldfields, he selected land on the banks of the Hopkins River at Ellerslie.  He was one of the founding members, and chairman for eight years of the Framlingham and Ellerslie Cheese and Buttery Factory.  Phillip was also president of the Shire of Mortlake for two years.  Only months before his death, one of Phillip’s sons was killed in France.

Mrs HARDINGHAM – Died January 3, 1919,  Horsham.  Mrs HARDINGHAM was born in Norwich, England around 1831 and travelled to Australia with her husband, Mathias HARDINGHAM in the mid 1850s.  From Geelong they travelled to the Horsham area and were two of the first pioneers in that district.  Mathias ran the Horsham Hotel for some time.

Mrs Christine SANDERS – Died January 8, 1921, Vectis.  Christine SANDERS was born in Yorkshire, England around 1835.  As a teenager, she travelled to South Australia with her parents.  She married Robert SANDERS who had also travelled with his parents on the same immigrant ship.

John W. DAVIS – Died January 24, 1928,  Horsham.  John or “Jack” as he was known, arrived in Australia as a three old, living in Williamstown and then Stawell.  He played with the Temperance Union Band in Stawell and then moved to Horsham in 1877 to play with one of two brass bands in the town.  Known throughout the northwest for his ability as an euphonium player, Jack was also a bandmaster at Natimuk and Noradjuha.

Rebecca KITTSON – Died January4, 1929, Portland.  What a grand old pioneer Rebecca KITTSON was.  A colonist of 88 years, she was a month from her 102nd birthday.  Arriving in Melbourne from Ireland aged 11,  she spent the next year in Melbourne, before joining her family at Cape Bridgewater where her father James Kittson had settled.  She married Reverend William LIGHTBODY, a Wesleyan minister in 1852.  This obituary is a “must read”.  Mrs LIGHTBODY, as she was known for most of her life, was the last surviving member of her family and the obituary gives a glimpse at how the KITTSON’S came to be in Australia.

Obituary. (1929, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64268096

Adrian ANDERSON – Died January 16, 1932, Horsham.  This is a first for Passing of the Pioneers.  Adrian ANDERSON was an immigrant from the United States.  Wisconsin to be precise.  He arrived aged four, with his parents and resided in Western Australia until he was 10.  The family moved to Victoria, where he remained.  He ran a shop in Jeparit before his death in the Horsham Base Hospital.

Agnes Sarah COOK - Died January 18, 1942, Casterton.  This obituary begins “Born in a small house on the banks of the  Glenelg River at Casterton 79 years ago…”.  Agnes was a lady that like the past and the future, knowledgeable about the history of Casterton, she also liked to predict the future.  Agnes married  Robert SYLVESTER and they had four children.

Helen GULL  – Died January 18, 1942, Casterton.  Helen was born on the ship “Helen” during her parents’ voyage to Australia in 1852.  The GULL family became respected pioneers throughout the Western District.  Helen married Frederick PERRY in 1876 and they resided at well known Western District properties, Rifle Downs at Digby and Runnymeade at Sandford.  Frederick later ran the Digby Hotel.


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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