Tag Archives: Learmonth

Passing of the Pioneers

When I started posting pioneer obituaries under the heading “Passing of the Pioneers” in July 2011, I never imagined that “Passing of the Pioneers” would still be going three years on.  (I didn’t think Western District Families would still be going).  Nor did I expect that I could announce this month marks the posting of the  500th pioneer obituary.  Over the three years, thanks to the stories of those 500 pioneers, the amount I have learnt about Western District history and the families who built that history has been invaluable.  However, the best aspect has been the number of people who have contacted me after finding their pioneering ancestor in the posts.  I hope what I have provided has gone a little way toward them learning more about their ancestors’ lives.

The precis I give for each pioneer summarises the obituary that appeared in the paper when the pioneer passed away.  I don’t check the facts written there, such as ships sailed on or years of arrival.  I do search for the maiden name of married women, simply because I prefer to list them with their maiden names and not Mrs A. Smith, for example.  Sometimes I will search for further information about a pioneer and  in the entry I include links to the sources I have found.  So basically, what I give you is an index to pioneer obituaries with a link to the original and from there you can make what you like of the information provided at the time of the pioneer’s death.  Obituaries are, after all, an inaccurate source as the information contained is second or third hand and rarely do you read of negative characteristics of a person or their failures in life.

Importantly, I must thank Trove Australia because without the digitised newspapers I would never have been able to find the 500 obituaries of some of the Western District’s great pioneers.

You can either search or browse the Passing of the Pioneers obituaries. Search a family name in the search box on the side bar of this page or select “Pioneer Obituaries” in the category box, also on the sidebar.  You can then browse through the 36 posts beginning with the most recent.  Simply click on the name of the pioneer to go to the newspaper obituary. If you find a family member, feel free to comment and give more information if you have any.  Leaving a comment increases your chance of finding someone else researching the same person.

 

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This month’s pioneers include two men who knew family members of mine with both men being important figures in their respective towns.  There is also a bricklayer, a publican and one of the men who discovered the Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.

 

Hugh MURRAY – Died July 28, 1869 at Colac.  Hugh Murray was born in Scotland about 1814 and arrived in Tasmania with his parents and siblings in 1823.  At the age of 23, Hugh left Tasmania for Victoria and settled on the banks of Lake Colac before there was a town and today is considered  Colac’s first white settler.  Hugh had pastoral interests but also sat as a Magistrate at the local Colac Magistrates Court.  Last month’s Passing of the Pioneers included the obituary of Elizabeth Young of Hobart who married Hugh Murray in 1841.

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

Hugh  knew my ggg grandparents Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry but not in the way one would like their ancestors to be acquainted with an outstanding citizen of Colac.  It started with Thomas Gamble, said to have been employed by Hugh Murray to make bricks for his new home at Lake Colac, thus prompting the Gambles to move from Geelong to Colac. Their relationship soon soured.  As early as 1851, Thomas’ wife Ellen faced Magistrate Murray in the Colac Court of Petty Sessions charged with drunkenness, one of dozens of charges she would face during her life and it certainly wasn’t her first.  On January 1853, Thomas Gamble faced court as the defendant in a case against Hugh Murray.  Although the hand writing in the original register of the Colac Court of Petty Sessions (p.83) is difficult to read, I can make out the words  –  “Thomas Gamble – Charged alleged arson in setting fire to Hugh Murray Esq.”.  Fortunately the case was  dismissed.

Peter LEARMONTH – Died July 19, 1893 at Hamilton.  Peter Learmonth was one of Hamilton’s most prominent citizens from the 1860s to the time of his death, contributing greatly to the growth of that town and the  villages surrounding it.  Born in Scotland in 1821, Peter travelled to Tasmania to meet up with his brother William who had already bought land in that colony.  Gold attracted Peter and he left for the Californian goldfields in the late 1840s.  With no success, he made his way to Victoria in the early 1850s and had good fortune on the Castlemaine goldfields. Getting out while ahead during the mid 1850s, he took up a manager’s job at “Merino Downs” station owned by Francis Henty, but not before marrying Mary Jarvey Pearson at Portland in 1854.  By 1859, Peter purchased “Prestonholme” on the banks of the Grange Burn near Hamilton from George Younger and proceeded to build the Grange Burn Flour Mill.  He later purchased mills at  Byaduk, Sandford and Penshurst.  The homestead at Prestonholme” and the mill still stand today on the Mill Road, Hamilton.

PETER LEARMONTH'S PRESTONHOLME MILL.  Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

PETER LEARMONTH’S GRANGE BURN MILL. Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

Not satisfied with his milling empire, Peter established P.Learmonth & Co Stock & Station agents in Gray Street, Hamilton.  Peter’s sons continued the business after his death.

P. LEARMONTH & CO. STOCK & STATION AGENTS. GARY STREET, HAMILTON, WILLIAM TIBBITS (c1896). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.253/1 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/67235

Peter Learmonth was a member of the Dundas Shire Council for nine years, serving as President for four successive terms, a record he still holds.  He was also one of the first councillors of the Borough of Hamilton.   Peter was one of the driving  forces behind the Hamilton & Western District Boys College and Alexandra Girls School, two schools that built Hamilton’s foundations as an education town.

 

HAMILTON COLLEGE.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection.  Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

HAMILTON COLLEGE. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection. Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

 

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 – 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

The Hamilton Hospital was another of Hamilton’s institutions that Peter Learmonth helped set up and was President of the Hospital for 18 years.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

 

Two of  Peter Learmonth’s  children married into families that were also influential in Hamilton ‘at the time.  Eldest son James Allan Learmonth married Annie Thomson, daughter of John Thomson of Monivae in 1886.  A daughter Mary, married the son of another prominent Hamilton man, David Laidlaw jnr, son of saddler and self-made man, David Laidlaw.  Mary’s obituary appeared in April 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Messrs. Learmonth, Laidlaw and Thomson were a force to be reckoned with and include Peter’s brother, Alex Learmonth,  also a man of much influence, and it is not surprising that they were able to grow Hamilton into one of Victoria’s most eminent towns.

Later in life, Peter purchased land in Mexico and gave his share to two of his sons.  He also purchased “Correa Estate” near Dunkeld and pursued pastoral interests with much success.

A supporter of the temperance movement, Peter was president of the Total Abstinence Society and the work of he and John Thomson, saw a Temperance Hall opened in Kennedy Street, Hamilton.  They obtained an existing building and converted it to suit the needs of the Society.

As I write my Harman family history and delve into the local histories of Byaduk and Hamilton, Peter Learmonth comes up time and again.  A Methodist, he knew my ggg grandfather James Harman and at one stage James was acting as an agent for farm machinery on Peter’s behalf.   James’ daughter Julia married George Holmes jnr, the son of George Holmes who was a manager of the Grange Burn mill before managing the Byaduk mill.  George Jnr worked at the Penshurst mill and took over the Sandford mill with his brothers.

Peter Learmonth passed away at his home at “Prestonholme” .  He was 74.

Sources:

Dundas Shire Centenary, 1863-1963. Hamilton Spectator for the Dundas Shire Council, [Hamilton, Vic.], 1963.

Garden, Donald S. (Donald Stuart) and Hamilton (Vic.). Council Hamilton, a Western District history. City of Hamilton in conjunction with Hargreen, North Melbourne, 1984.

Glenelg & Wannon Settlers (website)

Macdonald, Anita Mariposa : a story of the Learmonths of western Victoria and Mexico, 1834-1930. Heatherleigh Publishing, [Melbourne], 1982.

John SYMONS – Died July 10, 1914 at Hamilton.  Born in Cornwall around 1828, John Symons’ trade was ship’s carpenter and after his arrival at Portland in 1854, his skills were in demand with much building work required. From Portland, John moved to Balmoral before settling at the Wannon, near Hamilton.  John farmed but was also a contractor for the Roads Board and later the local Shires.  One of his most important works in the district was constructing the bridge over the Wannon River at Redruth, a necessity to enable travel from Hamilton to Coleraine and beyond.  Timber for the bridge was cut using pit saws and John did much of that work himself.  During his marriage, John and his wife raised 11 children with seven still living at the time of his death.

William DUNN – Died July 1, 1914 at Box Hill.  William Dunn arrived in Victoria in 1855 from Somersetshire aboard the “Raven’s Craig”.  After two years in Geelong, he rode by horseback to Hamilton, his home for the next 44 years.  As a bricklayer and builder he constructed the Victoria and Colonial banks in Hamilton with William Holden and  Budock Vean, a home in French Street, Hamilton still standing today.  A devout Methodist, he held various positions within the church.

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON.  Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image no.   H97.250/89 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/89
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

Jane DONNELLY  – Died July 1, 1914 at Hawkesdale.  Born in Ireland around 1834, Jane Jenkins arrived in Australia in the 1860s, settling at Myamyn.  She married William Walshe and they raised six children.  In the meantime,  Jane established the Foresters Hotel at Myamyn and ran a store to cater for the many carriers who used the town as a stopover on their travels.  After the death of her husband , Jane remarried to William Jenkins in 1883 and for a time ran the former Victoria Hotel at Portland.

John MUNRO – Died July 1914 at Hotspur.  John Munro was born in Scotland around 1833 and sailed to Hobsons Bay aboard the “Champion of the Seas” in 1854.  Gold must have been his primary reason for coming to Victoria as he spent time around the various diggings before travelling to New Zealand and the goldfields of Otago.  After two years he returned and took up residence at Portland and married in 1867.  For many years he was a storekeeper and post office operator.  He also engaged in farming pursuits and in the early 1890s took up land at Hotspur.  At the time of his death he left a widow and nine children.  He was buried at the Hotspur Cemetery.

Alexander John McLEAN – Died July 23, 1915 at Hamilton.  Alexander McLean was born in Scotland around 1836 and arrived in Sydney as a three-year old with his parents.  They later moved to Victoria, taking up residence at Tower Hill.  From there, Alexander went on to Myamyn and then Macarthur where he was a founding member of the Methodist Church.  Alexander enjoyed telling stories of the pioneer days, before bridges spanned creeks or railways traversed the countryside.  Alexander and his wife had nine children.

Sarah Ann FARNHAM – Died July 21, 1916 at Hamilton.  Born in Somersetshire, England around 1839, Sarah Ann Farnham arrived at Portland  in 1858.  She married Andrew Lockie at Portland in 1860 and by 1866 they had moved to Hamilton were Andrew ran a saddlery business.  Leaving a family of six children and her husband, Sarah Ann was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

Mary SAVIN – Died July 1918 at Muddy Creek.  Mary Savin was born in Oxfordshire and sailed to Victoria with her parents in 1853.  Around 1855, the family travelled north to Muddy Creek where they settled.  Two years later, Mary married John Addinsall and they had a family of 12 children.  Like many of the early settlers at Muddy Creek, Mary was a Methodist and it was in a crowded Muddy Creek Methodist Church where Mary was given her last farewell.

John HUXLEY – Died July 21, 1918 at Portland.  John Huxley was born in Portland around 1863.  During the 1890s, John travelled to Western Australia, lured by the discovery of gold, but unlike the other July pioneers who chose to seek their fortunes, John struck gold in a big way.  John and several other men discovered the rich Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.  Having made his fortune, John returned to Victoria and purchased the Straun Estate at Merino.  A keen racehorse owner, one of John’s big successes came less than a year before his death, when his horse the Ruralist, trained by James Agnew of Hamilton, won the Great Western Steeplechase at Hamilton in September 1917.  The horse was also a two-time Brierly Steeplechase winner at Warrnambool.  John passed away at his seaside home “Kenly” at Portland and was buried at the South Portland cemetery.

Christina Emily FORD – Died July 26, 1931 at Hamilton.  Christina Ford was born in Macarthur in 1880 into a well-known pioneering family.  In 1905, she married William Baker and they moved to Portland and  raised nine children.  Christina was a keen volunteer for the Portland Football Club and was a member of the Australian Women’s National League.

Charles HOLDER – Died July 21, 1922 at Warrnambool.  The story of Charles Holder’s life appeared in the Portland Guardian on September 28, 1931, nine years after his death and it gives a great account of Melbourne and Victoria in the 1840s.  Charles Holder was born in Bristol, England around 1838 and from the moment he set sail on the “Wardshipton” as a three-year old with his parent and siblings, his great pioneering life had begun.  The voyage in 1841, with almost 300 other immigrants was harsh with 24 deaths including 22 children.  Three of those children were Charles’ young sisters.  Arriving at Hobson’s Bay, Charles, his parents and two remaining siblings, took a steamer along the Yarra River to Melbourne.

MELBOURNE 1841.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria,  Image no. H6262/2  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

MELBOURNE 1841. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H6262/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

After spending time on stations around Melbourne, including Dandenong as a boy and young teenager, Charles made his way to the Western District, working at the “The Gums” between Caramut and  Penshurst.  By that time, it was the early 1850s, and Charles headed to the Bendigo diggings but like so many his luck was out and he returned to the west of the state, working at Grassmere near Warrnambool.  In the early 1860s, he selected his own land at Cooramook and remained there for the rest of his life.

An obituary in the The Register (Adelaide) on September 2, 1922 , published at the time of Charles’ death has further detail of his pioneering life.

Ellen OSBOURNE – Died July 15, 1934 at Hamilton.  Born at Portland, Ellen Osbourne married local builder Thomas Cruse and they continued to resided at Portland .  She raised a family and was a devoted member of the Church of England.   Prior to her death, Ellen had been ill for many weeks and as a consequence was admitted to Kia Ora Private Hospital at Hamilton.   Ellen needed a blood transfusion but unlike today when we take  for granted stocks of blood at hospitals,  in 1934 there wasn’t a Red Cross Blood Bank.  Therefore, Ellen’s son donated the blood required for the transfusion.  Unfortunately it was not enough to save his mother.

 


After Many Days

To really get a feel for a time in history, there is nothing better than a diary, letter, memoir or personal account.  Some of my favourite Western District history books are those from pioneer times, such as “The Diaries of Sarah Midgley and Richard Skilbeck” and James Bonwick’s educational tour of Western Victoria in 1857.  There is another on my list that I haven’t shared with you before, “After Many Day’s: being the reminisces of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh.  Even better, the book is available online. (See link at end of post)

Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, born in Ireland in 1837, published his memoir in 1918, when he was 81, written, he claims, after much prodding from his wife, Flora and friends particularly a friend from the later part of his life, writer Walter G. Henderson of Albury.   Much thanks must go to them, because their persuading resulted in a  414 page rollicking yarn, packed with places, names and stories from the first half of Cuthbert’s life.  And there are illustrations.

EARLY MEMORIES. (1925, June 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16211009

EARLY MEMORIES. (1925, June 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16211009

This is not just a story of the Western District, but of life in Ireland and Germany during Cuthbert’s childhood.  There is also a wonderful description of his passage on a second-class ticket to Melbourne aboard the “Sussex” in 1853.  Cuthbert spent some time in Melbourne before he went to  the Henty’s Muntham Station (p.90) in the Western District, and his account brings 1850s Melbourne  to life.

He outlines his friendship with Thomas Browne/Rolf Boldrewood author of “Robbery Under Arms “(p 40).  He includes the obituary of his father, Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, who spent time as a Police Magistrate at Hamilton (p.52).  During his time there, Cuthbert senior, resided at  Correagh at Strathkeller, just north of Hamilton.  (Today, Correagh is in excellent condition and was featured in an issue of Home Life magazine, available online)

There are stories of horse breaking, bushrangers, colonial racing and more.

Some of the Western District identities he met included members of the Henty family, Samuel Pratt Cooke, Acheson Ffrench and the Learmonths.  But there were also stockmen, horse breakers and crack riders.

He associated with Adam Lindsay Gordon (p.165), a person he admired for his riding skill and poetry, and there are several extracts of ALG’s verse.

Cuthbert devoted several pages to George Waines (p177) and the trial, that saw Waines convicted and sentenced to hang for the murders of Casterton couple Robert and Mary Hunt.

After Muntham, Cuthbert travelled to Queensland via Sydney.  On the way he dropped in at the Chirnside’s Mt William Station at the foot of the Grampians.  It is was there he saw the “western mare” Alice Hawthorne, in the days when she was beginning her Cinderella story, transforming from station hack to champion racehorse.

After lengthy reminisces of his time in Queensland, past Rockhampton, Cuthbert then focused on his life in N.S.W where he spent two years as an Anglican minister.  He died in Wellington, N.S.W. in 1925, aged 88, remembered as a pastoral leader.

What the critics said:

At the time of the book’s release, the Sydney Stock and Station Journal described the book as “pure Australian”

GOSSIP. (1918, April 12). The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 - 1924), p. 3. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124218838

GOSSIP. (1918, April 12). The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 – 1924), p. 3. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124218838

When Cuthbert died in 1925,  Walter Henderson wrote of his friend and the book he persuaded Cuthbert to write.

CUTHBERT FETHERSTONHAUGH. (1925, July 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16210414

CUTHBERT FETHERSTONHAUGH. (1925, July 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16210414

Read “After Many Days: being the reminiscences of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh” online


The Victorian Heritage Database

On May 5, I attended Day 2 of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisation (VAFHO) conference in Ballarat.  It was a great day with some wonderful speakers and I regret I couldn’t make the first day.

The first keynote speaker was Lisa Gervasoni, a town planner dedicated to Heritage conservation and a member of the Daylesford & District  Historical Society, among other things.  She gave a great talk about using Google Maps to help with family history research and then showed us the usefulness of the Victorian Heritage Database (VHD).  Timely, as I had considered a post about the VHD as I think it is a valuable resource for those researching families from Victoria.

The Victorian Heritage Database is a collection of Heritage places and precincts in Victoria including Heritage studies completed by local councils around the state.

While writing Passing of the Pioneer posts, if I see a property name in an obituary, I head straight to the VHD.  If the property is on the database, most times I can find more about the obit’s subject.  There is always a history of the building, property etc offering a wealth of information

In May Passing of the Pioneers, one obituary belonged to Mary Laidlaw (nee Learmonth).  She and her husband David lived at “Eildon” in Hamilton.  A search found information about the house, the architects Ussher and Kemp and the Napier Club that purchased the building in 1939, the year of Mary’s death.  Not only was I able to expand on the obituary, I learnt something of a house that it is a Hamilton landmark and has intrigued me since childhood.

"EILDON", HAMILTON

“EILDON”, HAMILTON

The VHD was useful when I researched The Parisian, the 1911 Melbourne Cup winner, because his owner John Kirby lived at “Mt Koroite Station” opposite Coleraine Racecourse .  On the VHD entry for “Mt Koroite” I found out more about John and even what he did with his winnings from the Melbourne Cup.

The VHD  is useful when researching a cemetery and I have used it for cemetery related posts.  There are photos of headstones and the Byaduk Cemetery entry even has a photo of Jonathon Harman’s headstone.  A short history of the town is given and a history of the cemetery, early burials and notable “residents” and more.

I have searched property names and  town names, but not surnames and Lisa’s talk made me realise I should.  Individuals may be listed as builders of a property or a labourer on a station.  My search of towns had found some references to my family members but I thought for the purpose of this post I would search specific family names.

None of my family were owners of large holdings or houses but the Diwell family were bricklayers and George Jelly was a builder, so maybe there was a chance.

When searching the VHD, use the “Advanced Search” form (below). It  will give you more results than the “Simple” search.

There are plenty of options to narrow down a search, but I only used the field “with all of the words“.

An entry on the database will include the location, statement of significance, history and description of the building or otherwise.  There is a Google Maps link with both the aerial view and Street View and most times there is a photo or photos.

Now for my results.  I did find entries I had seen before when searching towns,  but there were some new things.  What all the results show is the different ways your family members can be found at the Victorian Heritage Database.

HADDEN

My search started with the Haddens on my mother’s maternal line.  I had two relevant matches.  The first was about a Bills Horse Trough, in the Lions Park on the Glenelg Highway at Glenthompson installed in the 1920s.

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

While the horse trough had nothing to do with a Hadden, the entry has a history of the site, previously a blacksmith shop run by Donald Ross.  The other blacksmiths that operated in the town are named including the shop of  Harold James Hadden, my 2nd cousin 1 x removed.

Buggies outside blacksmith's shop.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria -  Elliot collection.  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42869

Buggies outside blacksmith’s shop. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Elliot collection. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42869

I knew Harold was a blacksmith and that he lived in Glenthompson during that time period, but I didn’t know he ran his own blacksmith shop.

Another entry under “Hadden” was found on a previous search of “Cavendish” and is about gg uncle William Hadden, son of William Hadden and Mary Mortimer.  In 1913, he purchased the Cavendish Cobb & Co Depot and Stables (below) and the adjacent property on the corner of the Hamilton Road and Scott Street, Cavendish.  The 1914 Electoral Roll lists William’s occupation as blacksmith, useful with a Cobb & Co depot.  However, in 1915, the train came to Cavendish taking passengers away from Cobb & Co.

By 1919, William was living at Kiata near Nhill in the Mallee, running the Kiata Hotel.  I am not sure if he had sold the Cobb & Co depot by that time but he never returned to Cavendish and died in Geelong in 1927.

HARMAN

A “Harman” search brought up not a building but a roadside Memorial plantation at Byaduk, sadly in poor condition.  The trees, planted in memory of the Byaduk soldiers that served during WW2, have not been maintained over the years.  My 1st cousin 3 x removed and grandson of James and Susan Harman, Leonard Roy Harman, was killed during the war as was another Byaduk man A.R.McNair.   The Southern Grampians Shire Heritage study on this site reported that much of the significance and integrity of the site had been lost.

The Memorial planting was the only “Harman” reference found until I did a “Byaduk” search.  Then I discovered that a search of “Harman” did not bring up any references to “Harman’s”.  This was after I read the report about the Byaduk General Store ruins.  The general store is thought to have opened around 1863 when another early shop opened,  Joseph Harman’s, bootmaking shop.

DIWELL

I then turned to Mum’s paternal side and searched the Diwells.

Surprisingly the result took me back to Cavendish, a town I never thought they had links to.  However, I found my gg uncle William Diwell, a bricklayer, was the contractor that built the Cavendish Memorial Hall in 1920.

It was no surprise William Diwell was a bricklayer.  The following entries are about his father and grandfathers, all bricklayers or builders.

Firstly, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Merino.  Builders Northcott and Diwell built the church in 1868.  That would be ggg grandfather William Diwell and I am assuming Northcott is George Northcott of Merino.  George owned Merino’s Commercial Hotel (below) and the Cobb & Co Station.  From the VHD I  discovered they received  £126/15/- for the job and that they had also built the Merino Free Library and the Mechanics Institute.

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

The next Diwell match was for the Sandford Mechanics Hall (below).  I knew from a transcript of the booklet, Back to Sandford Centenary: 1957  on the Glenelg and Wannon Pioneers site, William Diwell senior had a link to the building of the Mechanics Hall but only that he suggested that it be made of brick and not wood.  The VHD shed a little more light on a conversation that took place between William and the committee secretary J.S. Anderson in 1864, but in doing so, it leaves me questioning the entry

From the Back to Sandford booklet ,I knew that William ran into Mr Anderson on the Casterton Road.  Anderson told William of the plans to call for a tender for the building of a wooden hall.  William suggested a brick building and that Mr Anderson should take the idea to the committee before advertising.  The committee thought it was a great idea and they called for tenders for a brick hall.

Turning to the VHD, the report continues on from the above story but cites rate book entries from 1863 that Richard Diwell of Casterton was a brickmaker or bricklayer.  Richard was my gg grandfather and he was nine in 1863 . It continued with the story that William suggested Anderson go back to the committee, but added that William had a proposal , maybe an offer of funding.  The committee agreed to the unknown proposal and the tender process began.   The tender was won by James McCormack.

The thing is, the hall was not built until 1885, 19 years after William Diwell met Mr Anderson on the Casterton Road.  William had been dead 14 years.  So he could hardly be credited for a brick hall,  surely.  Also, why is Richard Diwell mentioned?  Did they mean William or was Richard involved later when the hall was built when, as a 30-year-old bricklayer, it was more realistic?

JELLY

I found entries for George Jelly, my ggg grandfather, and father-in-law of Richard Diwell.  George built the Anglican Rectory in Henty Street Casterton in 1887.

What particularly interested me came from a spontaneous search I did for “George Jellie”.  It brought up the Coleraine Anglican Church.  The history of the church referred to the original structure built in 1853 by Casterton contractor, George Jellie.  My George Jelly did not arrive in Victoria until 1855 aboard the Athelate with his wife Jane and daughter, Mary.  According to his obituary, they first went to Murndal at Tahara, run by Samuel Pratt Winter and then on to Casterton.  George and Jane’s first born child in Australia was my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Jelly at Casterton in 1856.

That beggars the questions, was there a George Jellie, contractor of Casterton in 1853 or did the first building at the Coleraine Anglican Church not get constructed until around 1856 by which time George Jelly had arrived in the town?  More research is needed on that one.

George’s obituary credits him for building the Casterton Mechanics Institute also, however that building is not on the VHD.

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While the Victorian Heritage Database is full of useful information, I do wrestle with it on occasions as it takes on a mind of its own.  I use a Firefox browser and I think it doesn’t agree with the database. I have tested Chrome and it seems a lot happier.  Another problem I occasionally have is when clicking on a link to VHD from Google or Western District Families.  I get a message that my session has ended.  If that happens, page back and click again and it will come up.

More on Lisa Gervasoni.  Lisa  has over 300,000 photos on Flickr and they are also found with a Trove search.  Lisa’s photos of landmarks and war memorials, often come up in my searches of Western Victorian towns.  When I have wanted to see what something in the Western District looks like, Lisa’s great photos have been there.  Thank you Lisa.

More on the VAFHO conference.  It was great to finally meet in person, Liz Pidgeon from the Yarra Plenty Regional Library and Infolass blog, who I have known on social media for some time.   I also met Craige from the Mortlake Historical Society.  You should check out the great Facebook page he is running for the society.


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.


Passing of the Pioneers

February Passing of the Pioneers has obituaries from some of the Western District’s early colonists.  They include Fanny Fisher and John Kelly, both born in Tasmania. They each lived in Victoria for 79 years by the time of their deaths.

Alexander LEARMONTH:  Died February 8, 1874 at Hamilton.  The Learmonths were one of Hamilton’s most noted families.  Alexander was the eldest of four brothers to immigrate to Australia and in time their paths led to  Hamilton.  Alexander arrived in 1857 and immediately took an interest in the town’s affairs.  He  founded the Hamilton municipality and was the first Mayor of the Borough, holding the office for six years.  The contribution Alex Learmonth made to Hamilton in those early days was immense.

OBITUARY. (1874, February 24). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 6 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64743791

OBITUARY. (1874, February 24). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 6 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64743791

Alexander was a trustee of the Hamilton Mechanics Institute.  After his death, funds raised built an extra room named the Learmonth Memorial Hall.  He also served as a territorial Magistrate, Coroner, Government Auditor and many other offices, too many to list, but all are in his full obituary.

 

HAMILTON MECHANICS INSTITUTE

HAMILTON MECHANICS INSTITUTE

John KELLY:  Died February 7, 1914 at St Helens.  John Kelly, born in Tasmania, was one of the oldest residents in the Port Fairy and Yambuk district when he died in 1914.  He had been in Victoria for 79 years, having arrived aged three.  He first resided at Casterton, then near Port Fairy and later he ran a general store at Yambuk.  His wife passed away 41 years before him and he left seven children.

John Wishart GIBSON:  Died February 10, 1914 at Colac.  John Gibson was a Geelong importer before purchasing a large amount of land in and around Colac.  He was a keen golfer and enjoyed playing the Port Fairy Golf Links on his summer holidays.  John’s wife Grace signed the 1891  Women’s Suffrage Petition at Highton.  They had five children.

Fanny Mercer FISHER:  Died February 25, 1914 at Dobie.  Fanny Richardson was the oldest resident in the Ararat district at the time of her death, aged 81.  She had been in Victoria for 79 years and that was also thought to qualify her as the oldest lady colonist in the state.  Apparently she shared the title with a Mrs Pearman and Mrs Creswick until they both passed away.  Fanny, born in Tasmania, was the daughter of David Fisher.  He took up the position of manager for the Derwent Company bringing him, and later his family, to Geelong in 1837.  A letter from David appears in Letters from Victorian Pioneers.  In 1850, Fanny married James Richardson.

Mr John Henry JACKSON:  Died February 2, 1915 at Casterton.  John Jackson was born in Longford, Tasmania in 1829.  At 14 years, he travelled to Victoria to work for his uncles Samuel and William Jackson near Sunbury,  When his uncles purchased “Sandford Estate” from John Henty in 1847, John rode from Sunbury to Sandford by himself aged 18.  He remained there for the rest of his life.  John married Marianne Bowtell in 1855 and they had two sons and three daughters.  John was one of the earliest J.P.s in the area and was a Honourary Magistrate.

John HOWELL:  Died February 17, 1915 at Orford.  John Howell was born in the Port Fairy district around 1843 to Irish parents.  He selected land at Orford in 1867 and remained there until his death.  He never married, and thanks to his thrift was a donor to many worthy causes.  He left three brothers and five sisters.

Reverend Mother Josephine:  Died February, 1915 at Ireland.  The Reverend Mother Josephine was one of the founding members of the Brigidine Convent in Ararat, arriving around 1888 from Ireland. With  guidance from the much admired Mother Josephine, the convent school, was highly regarded.  Marian College still operates today. Sadly, after a trip home to Ireland, Mother Josephine passed away on the ship during the return voyage.

Jane O’MAY:  Died February 17, 1916 at Buckley Swamp.  Referring to my Family Tree Maker program, I found Jane O’May defined as the “Paternal grandmother of husband of 1st cousin 4 x removed” of me.  Jane was the wife of William Kirkwood.  Their grandson William married my 1st cousin 4 x removed, Sarah Ann Reed in 1903.  Sarah was a niece of James Harman and Susan Reed.

First Issue, August 20 1842. (1916, February 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 22, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64013668

First Issue, August 20 1842. (1916, February 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 22, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64013668

 

Hugh CAMERON:  Died February 1934 at Drumborg.  Born in Portland around 1855, Hugh Cameron moved around the Western District for several years,  finally settling at Drumborg.  He lived at Condah, Willaura, Telangatuk and Branxholme.  He married Mary Cameron of Toorak and they had five boys and two girls.

Mrs Ellen HICKEY:  Died February 4, 1937 at Portland.  Ellen Hickey lived in Portland for most of her 76 years, but moved to Moonee Ponds for the last 13 years of her life.  During her time in Portland, where her husband Thomas Hickey ran a livery stable, Ellen attended All Saints Church.  After the move to Melbourne, Ellen enjoyed returning to Portland for her annual holiday.  She left Thomas, five sons and two daughters.  A son John, a veteran of the Boer War, predeceased her.

Samuel ARTIS:  Died February 1938 at Port Fairy.  Samuel Artis was born around 1858 and worked for the Belfast and Koroit Steam Navigation Company  for many years and was at one time, foreman of the wharf.  Samuel was also an expert on the history of Port Fairy.

Mr Frederick H. BEST:  Died February 29, 1940 at Winslow.  Frederick was born in England in 1849 and arrived in Portland with his parents, in 1852.  He began work as a tanner at 15 and work around Australia and New Zealand for the following 10 years.  He married Louise Cardinal at Woolsthorpe in 1875 and set up a tannery business at Winslow.  It became the biggest tannery outside the larger cities.

William McKENZIE:  Died February 2, 1949 at Newfields.  Born at Carranballac Station in 1868, William McKenzie was the youngest of 13 children.  He worked as a shearer through the Western District and N.S.W. before taking up dairy farming around the turn of the century.  William married Augusta Schmidt in 1896.


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.


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