Tag Archives: Laurie

Passing of the Pioneers

Welcome to July 2013 Passing of the Pioneers, the second birthday of  Western District Families monthly feature.  Including this month’s obituaries, there are now 372 pioneer obituaries recorded here.  You can view all of them on this link – Pioneer Obituaries – or search family names using the search box on the side bar.

I didn’t expect Passing of the Pioneers would continue this long.  In July 2011 I didn’t even think I would be blogging this long.  Also, I have had a few desperate moments when I thought I would run out of obituaries.  I started using only the Portland Guardian and the Camperdown Chronicle  and then the Horsham Times but thankfully papers like the Port Fairy Gazette (1914-1918) and the Ararat Advertiser (1914-1918) came online.  Now with the likes of the Hamilton Spectator(1914-1918) and the Coleraine Albion (1914-1918) coming online I’m reassured that Passing of the Pioneers should see at least a third birthday.

As it is birthday month it is only appropriate that one of the obituaries belongs to one of the great pioneering women of the Western District  who left a legacy that is still around today and has a link to Trove, a source I’m totally dependent on for the obituaries in Passing of the Pioneers.  .

Janet NICOL – Died July 1903 at Bridgewater.  After reading two obituaries and an entry in the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance, I have concluded that Janet Nicol was an intelligent woman and one of the most significant pioneers to appear in two years of Passing of the Pioneers.

No title. (1936, May 5). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77987617

No title. (1936, May 5). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77987617

Janet Nicol was born in Lankashire, Scotland in 1822, the daughter of Professor Andrew Nicol a linguist, University lecturer and head of a boys college.  Janet, one of eight daughters, attended boarding school and like her father could speak several languages.  In 1841, she married the Reverend Alexander Laurie and shortly after they sailed to Port Phillip aboard the William Nicol, appropriately, arriving in February 1842.  After a short time in Melbourne they sailed for Portland Bay.

On arrival at Portland, Janet was carried ashore on a chair by the crew through the surf.  It is unclear whether it was before or after her disembarkation , but on that same day, she gave birth to her first child,  Alexander.  The Lauries couldn’t stay at any hotels when they first arrived because of quarantine restrictions and instead camped under a shelter near the flour mill.  The  draughts left Janet with a severe cold and a lifetime of deafness.

Alexander had been appointed minster for the Portland Bay Presbyterian ministry and went about setting up a church.  In  he then took an interest in newspapers and became involved with the Portland Herald.  After his death in 1854, Janet took over the running of the Herald.  By that time she had four children.  Interestingly the first child, Alexander was not one of those children.  I can find his birth record from 1842, but in 1854 Janet gave birth to another Alexander.  Therefore I would assume the first Alexander passed away some time before 1854, however I can’t find his death record.  He may have been a victim of that cold introduction to the world.

That is the glossy story so far taken from the Pioneer Women’s book and the obituaries, however I found another side of the story that I can support with articles found at Trove.  The Pioneers of Port Phillip Inc website includes articles from the group’s newsletters.  One of those entitled “Portland – The truth, the whole truth and anything but the truth” submitted by Jan Hanslow reveals research by Ann Grant about stories passed down over the years and the facts behind them.  The Reverend Laurie and Janet are mentioned.

The first revelation is the cause of Janet’s deafness.  It was not the cold draughts on the first night in Portland, rather a blow allegedly inflicted by Alexander for which Janet had him charged for assault, as recorded in Police records.  This and various other incidents  saw him removed from the church.  A report of his falling out with the church appeared in the Geelong Advertiser of July 11, 1848.  That is how he really came to be at the Portland Herald, not a voluntary swing from God to journalism.

THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN PORTLAND. (1850, April 16). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), p. 3 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93135253

THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN PORTLAND. (1850, April 16). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 – 1851), p. 3 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93135253

The next revelation from Ann Grant was that Alexander got himself into trouble with the paper and Janet had to take over.  The following articles support that claim.

LOCAL. (1851, July 12). The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880), p. 436. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65576481

LOCAL. (1851, July 12). The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880), p. 436. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65576481

Alexander died in 1854 and after a short break, the Portland Herald resumed publication every Friday with a promise that the paper would be “renewed in strength and efficiency”.

Advertising. (1854, November 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571179

Advertising. (1854, November 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571179

ESCORT. (1854, December 1). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91858365

ESCORT. (1854, December 1). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 – 1856), p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved July 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91858365

Janet finished up the Portland Herald in 1860 and she and the children went to Mt, Gambier where she assisted two of her sons in setting up the Border Watch, a paper still published today.  The first edition was published on April 26, 1861 and is online at Trove.  The eldest son was only 17 then, so Janet must have been the main force behind the paper’s establishment.  The name was definitely her idea as there was a Border Watch newspaper on the border of Scotland and England.  Given the close proximity of Mt Gambier  to the South Australian/Victorian border, she though the name appropriate.

(1861, April 26). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page7596636

(1861, April 26). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page7596636

Also in 1861, Janet married widower Joshua Black of Cork Hill, Bridgewater.  Joshua was father to seven children and Janet must have had a busy time running a paper in Mt. Gambier and the duties of matrimony at Bridgewater.   Janet and Joshua had three children together, the first in 1862 when Janet was 40.   By 1865 there were 15 children from the combined marriages, aged from 22 to newborn.  One would hope by this time Janet was leaving the running of the newspapers to her sons.

Janet was buried in the North Portland Cemetery  in the same grave as Alexander Laurie .  The Portland Guardian of July 29, 1903 reported that “the funeral procession was one of the largest, if not the largest seen in Portland”.

The Glenelg Shire have completed a Heritage study of Cork Hill and there is a good history of the Black and Laurie families  http://www.glenelg.vic.gov.au/files/52757_CORK_HILL_HO184.pdf

The State Library of South Australia website includes a history of the Border Watch http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=2585

The entry for Janet in the “Book of Remembrance of the pioneer women of the Portland Bay district”  including a photograph is found here  http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/vicpamphlets/1/4/4/doc/vp1442-007-0000.shtml

Janet’s obituary from the Border Watch, July 29, 1903 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77160512   and from the Portland Guardian http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/63998138

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BRIDGEWATER BEACH

Henry DOWN – Died July 4, 1914 at Port Fairy.  Henry Down arrived in Victoria around 1856 aged 21 and his first employment was at Yambuk,  He was then appointed manager of St Helen’s were he displayed successful farming practices.  He purchased his own land at Coddrington and continued his success.  Henry married twice.  His first wife, Susan Dawe was the mother of all of Henry’s six children.  She passed away in 1893 and Henry married the widow of Mr William Cain.   Henry returned twice to the north of England to visit his two brothers, both coal miners.

James FRY – Died July 26, 1914 at Broadwater.  James Fry was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1830.  He married Sarah Brown in 1853, in Gloucestershire.  They left England in 1857 aboard “Chance” bound for Port Fairy.  He set up a business as a plasterer in the town and was deeply involved in the Oddfellows and the Farmers Rest Lodge.  He even built a lodge room at Broadwater for the Farmers Rest masons, at his own expense.  James and Sarah had 11 children and Sarah predeceased James in 1907.

Silias SMITH – Died July 5, 1915 at Hamilton.  Silias Smith was born in Somerset, England in 1824.  He arrived in Hobart in 1855 and then in 1857, sailed for Portland, settling in the Narrawong area.  Silias worked in the horticultural field and had great knowledge in both this and general agriculture.  In later life, he lived with his married daughter in Heywood and later in Hamilton.

Mrs Bridget O’BRIEN - Died July 16, 1916 at Crossley.  Born in Ireland around 1835, Mrs Bridget O’Brien arrived in Victoria in the mid 1850s. Bridget and her husband lived at Crossley for many years before leasing their land and moving to Port Fairy North.  The O’Brien’s had four children, but lost three of them at a young age.  They had one son to survive them, John,

Francis McSORLEY – Died July 16, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Francis McSorley was born in Ireland around 1826 and arrived in Victoria in the early 1860s aboard the Mindora, along with his wife and two sons.  Francis was an expert on the Crimean War and the early history of Victoria.  He worked on the railways for many years before retiring to Rosebrook.  He left six sons and one daughter.  Another son Patrick, a jockey was killed in a race fall in Adelaide.

Thomas SHANLEY – Died July 12, 1917 at Killarney.  Thomas Shanley took up residence at Killarney in 1856.  He married Ellen Malone, a Passing Pioneer last month, in the same year.  Thomas was the road overseer for the Belfast shire for 22 years.

John WILLIAMS – Died July 26, 1917 at Port Fairy.  John Williams was born in Hobart in 1834 and arrived in Victoria as a 14-year-old in 1848.  He worked on stations doing stock work and around the time of the discovery of gold, he was droving stock to Ballarat and Bendigo.  He tried his luck while at each of these goldfields  with no success and returned to station life and marriage in 1855.  He later went to Port Fairy were he remained for 49 years.  During that time he worked at Guinn’s Brewery and at the harbour.  John and his wife raised 13 children.

Kate St George McCANN – Died July 27, 1929 at Coleraine.   Kate McCann was already well travelled by the time she reached Melbourne in 1866 aboard the “Great Britain“.  She was born on a ship just off shore of San Fransisco in 1849.  Her birth certificate would have stated she was born in Stepney, London as all children born at sea under the British flag were allocated to the Parish of Stepney.  Kate grew up playing on her mother’s ranch in the Rocky Mountains, California.  After her mother’s death she travelled to England with her sister, living with her aunt, Emma Crouch in London.  It was with Emma that Kate and her brother and sister sailed on the “Great Britain“.  They caught the steamer “Edina” to Portland.

In 1876, Kate married James Trangmar.  They moved from Portland to Coleraine and ran a family store.  The store was run by members of the Trangmar family until 1969.  Kate and James had eight children, six surviving at the time of Kate’s death.

Lottie McKEAND – Died July 11, 1942 at Casterton.  Lottie was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Andrew McKeand of Penola and she was born there in 1875.  She married James Carmichael of Argyle Station at Lake Mundi near Casterton and they moved to their own property Argyle after their marriage.  James passed away and Lottie moved to Melbourne with her three sons to enable them to finish their education.  She later married James Mitchell of Moredun Hills, Casterton, however he predeceased her.  Lottie was keen on dogs and horses and will still riding only a few years before her death.  At the time of her passing,  her three sons were serving with the A.I.F, with Thomas missing in Malaya.


Passing of the Pioneers

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

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

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

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

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

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Headstone of James Trangmar & family. North Portland Cemetery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John THORNTON:  Died December 16, 1919 at Mount Myrtoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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