Tag Archives: Miller

Passing of the Pioneers

This September’s Passing of the Pioneers includes some early colonists, many offering up some interesting extra tidbits.

The images I have used in this post, show how Trove can help illustrate your family stories.  Simply pick a landmark, ship or even a theme (thinking of the recent post Stretching my Genealogy Muscles), and then do a Trove search.  I find many “out of copyright” images from both the State Library of Victoria and the State Library of South Australia.  As long as you cite the image correctly, you are free to use that image.  Other repositories require that “out of copyright” images be used for personal use only, except with permission from the institution.  For the purposes of my blog, that’s not practical as I’m usually searching on a whim, but would not be problem if writing an article or book.

John MOFFATT – Died September 5, 1871 .  The story of John Moffatt is a something of a rags to riches story and easily could have ended in rags again.  Moffatt was born in Scotland around 1817. He arrived in Victoria around 1839 and began work as a shepherd at “Hopkins Hills” Estate, then run by the Clyde Company.  He then went to “The Grange” at Hamilton owned by Captain William Lonsdale.

In 1854, prophesies of financial doom were directed at the squatters. The Clyde Company got cold feet and sold Hopkins Hill.   John Moffatt was able to buy the property where he worked as a shepherd, 15 years before, presumably at a reasonable price.  In the late 1850s he built “Chatsworth House” for around £20,000 and given his small freehold, many thought such a lavish investment  would lead to his demise.  By the time of his death, however, he was earning £35,000 per annum from rental on his properties.

HOPKINS HILL HOMESTEAD.  Engraving by Grosse, Frederick, d 1828-1894, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/4 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237805

HOPKINS HILL HOMESTEAD. Engraving by Grosse, Frederick, d 1828-1894,
Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/4 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237805

John Moffat sat as a member of Villiers and Heytesbury from November 1864 to December 1865 in the Victorian Parliament.  He also imported horses with some of the finest bloodlines seen in the colony.  His greatest triumph was hosting Prince Alfred in 1867 as depicted in the sketch below by Nicholas Chevalier.  An extensive report of the visit, including Chevalier’s sketch were published in the Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne: 1867-1875) on February 4, 1868.  Unfortunately the Prince was keen hunter and was able to indulge in his “sport” at Hopkins Hill which sadly involved a yard of kangaroos.  That incident too, was reported on at length.

THE ENTRANCE HALL, HOPKINS HILL. - Nicholas Chevalier. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/1  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237840

THE ENTRANCE HALL, HOPKINS HILL. – Nicholas Chevalier. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN04/02/68/SUPP/1
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/237840

John Moffatt travelled to England around 1869 .  In 1871, he decided to return to Australia, taking an overland route,  but died during the course of the trip and was buried at Galle, Sri Lanka.  He never married.  A line at the end of the obituary gives some insight into John’s character.  His brother, Robert Moffatt, was described as “even more eccentric” than John.

Thomas MUST – Died September 2, 1905 at Portland.  Thomas Must was born in London in 1815 and arrived in Sydney in 1832 aboard the Guardian.  He worked for general merchants and shipping agents, Marsden and Flower and in 1842 he married Ann Wilcox.  Marsden and Flower sent Thomas to Victoria in 1846 and he established an agency at Portland.   Horace Flower joined him and they formed the partnership, Flower, Must & Co., traders.  A large warehouse was built in Bentick Street.

After seven years, Must bought out Flower’s share in the company.  Thomas later set up a branch at Port McDonnell, South Australia. He operated his business for a further 27 years, but in the meantime he served on local government and sat on the Victorian Legislative Assemble and saw some shaky financial times.  Thomas had the family home Prospect built in 1855, and from there he and Ann raised eight daughters and four sons.

"Prospect" Portland circa 1962-1966. Photographer:  John T. Collins.  J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H98.250/2022 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233117

“Prospect” Portland circa 1962-1966. Photographer: John T. Collins. J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H98.250/2022 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/233117

Angus McDOUGALL – Died September 4, 1914 at Hamilton.   Angus McDougall, a Scot,  arrived at Portland around 1854 aged 17, aboard the Edward Johnstone.  He started working as a carrier between Portland and Hamilton, but eventually took up land at Buckley’s Swamp.  He married, but he and his wife never had children.  Eight of his siblings were still alive at the time of his death and the funeral was one of the largest seen in the district, with around 60 vehicles and many on horseback.

Sarah Ann BURNETT – Died September 7, 1914 at Warrnambool.   Sarah Ann Burnett arrived at Port Fairy aboard the Persian in 1852 with her husband William Miller and three of their children.  They lived first between Port Fairy and Tower Hill, then settled on the Merri River at Cassidy’s Bridge.  Sarah and William raised seven children.  Her obituary states there were two grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren at the time of her death.  Reverse that I think…or, maybe, her two grandchildren were just prolific breeders,

Sarah and her fellow Methodist church goer, Henry Beardsley (below), died a day apart and were both remembered at a service at the Warrnambool Methodist Church led by Reverend Harris.

WARRNAMBOOL METHODIST CHURCH.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. H32492/2746 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63534

WARRNAMBOOL METHODIST CHURCH. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H32492/2746 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63534

Fortunately, the Warrnambool Standard documented the service.  Reverend Harris reminded the congregation of the great contribution pioneer women made to the colony, a fact often forgotten.

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

Henry BEARDSLEY – Died September 9, 1914 at Russell’s Creek.  Henry Beardsley, born in Derbyshire on Christmas Day, 1842, arrived in Hobsons Bay, Victoria, 1852 aboard the Marco Polo.  He accompanied his parents, John and Elizabeth, and four siblings.  That information is from the PROV Index to Assisted British Immigration (1839-1871), something the writer of Henry Beardleys’ obituary did not have access to.  If he did, he would have known that the Marco Polo didn’t land at Geelong in 1850.

Henry first went to Ararat with his family, then on to Warrnambool where he took a job at “Spring Gardens” nursery.  After nine years he took a managerial role at the nursery of Mr R. S. Harris.  He remained there for another nine  years.  After 18 years in the industry he started his own nursery at Russell’s Creek.

At the Warrnambool Methodist Church memorial service, Henry, a Sunday School teacher,  was remembered as the children’s friend,

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METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

METHODIST CHURCH. (1914, September 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73581774

Margaret BISSETT – Died September 14, 1914 at Richmond.  Margaret Bissett was born in Scotland and came to Victoria around the 1850s.  She went to Dunmore Station (below), between Port Fairy and Macarthur, owned by  Charles MacKnight.  It was there she met her future husband, Michael Horan, a worker at the property.

DUNMORE c1866. Photographer Joseph Henry Sodden. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H1736 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/74132

After Charles and Margaret’s marriage, they moved to Orford, near Warrnambool,  and purchased the Horse and Jockey Hotel which they ran for several years  Margaret also ran the Post Office.  Margaret passed away at her daughter’s home in Richmond and she was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

James PAPLEY – Died September 18, 1914 at Port Fairy.   In 1852, James Papley from Orkney Island, Scotland, his wife Jessie and two babies and a female relative, presumably his sister, left Birkenhead for Port Phillip aboard the  Ticonderoga on what was to become a hellish voyage with 170 passengers dying during the passage. 

MELBOURNE SHIPPING. (1852, November 15). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60132168

MELBOURNE SHIPPING. (1852, November 15). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60132168

There is an excellent website Ticonderoga that documents the voyage, the passengers and related articles.  It is well worth a look.

James and Jessie began work as the master and matron of the Port Fairy Hospital and remained there many years before turning to farm life at Narrawong, their home for 43 years.

FORMER PORT FAIRY HOSPITAL c1958.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

FORMER PORT FAIRY HOSPITAL c1958. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

Letitia WALL – Died September 8, 1915 at Toorak.  Letitia Wall was born in the Wynard Barracks, Sydney in 1824, her father Colonel Charles William Wall led the 3rd Regiment (The Buffs).  She married Robert Henry Woodward in 1846 at Moreton Bay and they went to the Port Fairy district soon after.  In her later years Letitia took up residence at “Kilmaron” Toorak Road, Toorak where she passed away.

Margaret SEFTON – Died September 1915 at Coleraine.  Margaret Sefton, born in County Down, Ireland in 1823, travelled to Port Phillip with her father and siblings,  She married William Brown in 1847 at St. James Church,  Melbourne,  The couple spent some time in Melbourne and Hamilton before settling at Coleraine.  They had 13 children and by the time of Margaret and William’s Diamond Wedding anniversary,  there were 81 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren to  join the celebrations.  William passed away in 1908.

The  Australia Marriage Index records Margaret and William’s marriage as 1847, as does the site “Came to Port Phillip by 1849″, however Margaret’s obituary refers to their marriage in 1846, their Golden anniversary as 1896 and Diamond anniversary as 1906.  Maybe Margaret and William forgot the year they married?

Michael CASEY – Died September 8, 1918 at Macarthur.  Born in Limerick, Ireland around 1835, Michael Casey arrived at Geelong aboard the “Great Australia“, possibly on her 1862 voyage.

GREAT AUSTRALIA, Image Courtesy of the  John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.  Image no. 77078 http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/36910375?q=%22great+australia%22&c=picture&versionId=47922188

GREAT AUSTRALIA, Image Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image no. 77078 http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/36910375?q=%22great+australia%22&c=picture&versionId=47922188

He obtained Municipal contracts for work and he also married, but the newlyweds left Geelong for Sydney when Michael obtained work as a stone mason on the new St Mary’s Cathedral.

ST MARY'S CATHEDRAL, SYDNEY.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H92.200/429  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/22531

ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL, SYDNEY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H92.200/429 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/22531

After Sydney, Michael and his family moved to Colac, then the Wimmera and finally Macarthur

George Elias BUTLER – Died September 15, 1918 at Hamilton.  A son of a doctor, George Butler was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1844.  At the age of 25 he travelled to Australia aboard the Great Britain”.

GREAT BRITAIN.  Image courtesy of the Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H99.220/4119 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/14669

GREAT BRITAIN. Image courtesy of the Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Image No. H99.220/4119 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/14669

He married at Ballarat in 1875 to Catherine Abbott.  George spent time working at “Blumesbury” Muntham before leasing “Glengleeson” near Macarthur.  In his later years, George moved to Hamilton and was known as a respected citizen with many friends throughout the district.

Edward SIMMONS – Died September 20, 1918 at Melbourne.  Edward Simmons found his fortune  but it seems he didn’t set out to do it the way he did, unlike many other that tried.   Edward started out selling stock in the Moonambel district before moving to Stawell and running a butcher shop with his brother William.

Fortunately, they obtained shares in Stawell’s Orient Mine, one of the town’s most profitable, as history would show.  Healthy dividends saw them increase their interests in other mines in the town.  Edward was able to buy “Oban” ,now the Stawell RSL.  He also purchased pastoral properties including “Yarram” and “Drung” .  In his later years, he moved to Melbourne and lived with his daughter at “Shanghai” on St, Kilda Road.

 


Alfred Winslow Harman – Stepping out of the Shadows

Imagine the family tree of the Harmans of Byaduk, with its long branches sweeping far and wide, lush and prosperous.  That is except for one.  Near the top of the tree sits a small, stunted branch, a mere twig.  It is the branch of Alfred Winslow Harman.

To me, Alfred Harman is like a shadowy figure standing at the rear of the imaginary Harman family photo.   I know little of him and there are no living descendants.

Born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1852, Alfred was  a baby when he sailed to Australia with his parents Joseph and Sarah, sister Sarah and brother Walter.  He was too young to remember life in England, the arduous journey and the early settlement of the family.

Alfred was seven years younger than Walter Harman, his immediate older sibling and 22 years younger than oldest brother James.  He probably had more in common with the elder children of his brothers than his brothers themselves.  For example, James Harman’s son Reuben James Harman, my gg grandfather was only two years younger than his Uncle Alfred.

In his 20s, Alfred headed north to the Wimmera.  It was there that he met Alice Jane Miller, daughter of Scots Joseph Bass Miller and Rose Jane Church of Warracknabeal, formerly of South Australia.  Alfred and Alice married in 1878 and their only son was born in 1879 at Murtoa.

Let’s stop right there…

If I keep going on like this, the post will be over in an other paragraph.  All I have to say further is  that Alfred went to Western Australia, suffered a loss, returned home and passed away! There must be more to add to this branch to give it some life.

For the purpose of this post, I decided to search for Alfred again at Trove.  With newly digitised papers added regularly, it is  worth checking back.  This time I directed my search to the surname “Harman” and the places I knew Alfred lived.  Starting with “Harman Murtoa”, as I gathered leads I moved to “Harman Rupanyup” and then “Harman Hopetoun”.  I searched the decades 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.

I then turned my attention to Western Australia where I knew Alfred had lived.  I tried “Harman Gwalia”, “Harman Perth”, “Harman Malcolm Street”, “Harman The Crescent” between the years 1900-1930.

Thanks to a  number of other leads on Alfred and his wife Alice, the story of Alfred Winslow Harman is looking  better.

Let’s pick up the story again in 1878 with Alfred’s marriage to Alice.

Alice Jane Miller was born at Pancharpoo, South Australia in 1859.  The Millers moved to Warracknabeal sometime after 1868.  Alice’s father, Joseph Bass Miller, was an upstanding citizen and the local Justice of the Peace. I have found that while Joseph spelt his name as Miller, some of his children spelt it Millar. In case you are wondering further on in the post.

After Alfred and Alice married in 1878, they soon started their family.  Herbert Winslow Harman was born at Murtoa in 1879.  I am not sure if they were living  there or at Rupanyup as newspaper articles found refer to them at both places.  There is only 16 kilometres between the two towns.

The first newspaper reference I have for the Harmans is from 1883 in a “Horsham Times” report of the Rupanyup and Dunmunkle Society Show.   Alice won Best Ironed Gent’s Shirt and Collar.

Subsequent articles show Alfred had something of a talent for rifle shooting.  Alfred entered many competitions and was a member of the Rupanyup Company of Rangers.  In 1886, he and four team mates secured the coveted Sargood Shield, so prized a banquet was held in their honour.

COMPLIMENTARY BANQUET TO THE WINNERS OF THE SARGOOD SHIELD. (1886, December 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72957471

The team went on to repeat their success in the following two years, as remembered at a dinner at Horsham in 1913.  Samuel Miller, Alice’s brother, also a member of the famous Rupanyup team, was present on the night

The Rifle. (1913, March 7). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73134863

.

In 1890, the team competed at Mount Gambier, hometown of the Miller boys.  It was there they suffered one of their few defeats.

RIFLE MATCH. (1890, August 30). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77491178

By 1897, Alfred Harman was shooting with the Hopetoun club, over 100 kilometres north of Rupanyup.  The Hopetoun Rifle club were more than happy with their new acquisition,

RIFLE SHOOTING. (1897, February 9). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73118794

Alfred and his family could not have stayed at Hopetoun long, as I found him on the 1903  Electoral Roll at Gwalia, Western Australia. Gwalia was a gold mining town situated over 800 kilometres east of Perth and north of Kalgoorlie.  Gold was first mined there in 1897, so the town was in its beginnings when Alfred was there.

Today, Gwalia is described as a ghost town but has been preserved so the town’s history is not lost.  The Gwalia & Hoover House Historic Precinct website has some great photos of some of the buildings in the town

How the Harmans came to be in Western Australia, especially in the middle of nowhere at Gwalia, I can only guess.  Two of Alice’s brothers, Joseph and Josiah Miller also turned up in Western Australia, so there may have been some motivation there.

In both 1903 and 1906 on the Gwalia Electoral Roll, Alfred listed his occupation as agent, however in 1906, he is also on the electoral roll for Midland Junction, Perth (commercial traveller) and Francis Street, Perth (traveller).  Who knows where he and Alice were actually living at the time?  Especially Alice, as she was on the 1903 Electoral Roll at Warracknabeal, the home town of her parents.  Did Alfred go ahead or did Alice just fail to change her details?

When Alfred and Alice went to the West, their son Herbert, who also went along,  was around 20.  After only a few years he was working as the manager of the Canada Cycle and Motor Company at Kalgoorlie.  In November 1904, tragedy struck when Herbert (Bert) was stricken with Typhoid fever.  He passed away in the Perth Hospital on November 20.  Alfred and Alice had lost their only child.

Family Notices. (1904, November 29). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32744043

I noted Warracknabeal was given as the home of Alfred and Alice. As mentioned, Alice’s address was Warracknabeal in 1903, but did Alfred also live there at some time?.

The death of Bert also hit the Miller side of the family hard.

Family Notices. (1904, November 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25367642

Joseph Bass Miller Jnr, Alice’s brother was a Health Inspector in Perth. The funeral left his home at The Crescent, Midland Junction.  This is just one of the addresses Alfred is listed at on the 1906 Electoral Roll.

The funeral of Bert was large with many members of the Miller family in attendance.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1904, November 24). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25367801

What interested me in this report was the coffin…”a massive polished jarrah casket, mounted with silver-plated handles and plates”.  Either Alfred’s job as a travelling salesman was doing well or the Miller family chipped in.  Bert himself had done alright for a 25-year-old, with an estate to the value of £212.00.

NEWS AND NOTES. (1905, January 13). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25371654

In 1905, Alice’s mother Rose Church passed away at Warracknabeal and her then 81-year-old father moved to Perth.  He passed away in 1908.

Family Notices. (1908, August 22). Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954), p. 31. Retrieved March 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37577065

If I ever wanted to find out where Alfred was living, Electoral Rolls were not going to help.  I use Electoral Rolls a lot and I have never seen anyone with multiple entries like Alfred.  From 1910 to 1916, Alfred is listed at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth.  That is the only period  where Alfred did not have multiple entries.  In 1910, Alfred was a collector and in 1916 he was a clerk.  In 13 years, he has been an agent, commercial traveller, traveller, an agent again, collector and clerk.

After the 1903 Electoral Roll,  Alice did not show up again until 1916, living at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth with Alfred. However, from my search at Trove of “Harman Malcolm Street”, I know Alice was at 71 Malcolm Street in 1914.  How?  Thanks to this interesting snippet from The Western Australian.

PERSONAL. (1914, October 7). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28570146

It is a little difficult to read, but what is that about Miss E. Stafford Millar, of Chicago visiting her sister Mrs Harman, of Malcolm Street, Perth?  I checked back on the Miller family tree and Elinor Stafford Millar was the sister of Alice.  But what about Chicago?  Any excuse to get side tracked, I turned to Trove again.  A search on Elinor revealed all.  Who needs Google?

PERSONAL. (1914, September 22). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28568583

In fact, I found so many articles on Elinor, I have decided she deserves her own post in the future.  She was after all born at Mount Gambier, almost Western Victoria!  I found that she was an amazing woman, well-travelled and known in the U.S. as the “Australian Evangelist”

I had seen a photo of Elinor on the family tree of Rachel Boatwright at Ancestry.com.au (one of Rachel’s photos of Alice’s brother William Miller is on  January Passing of the Pioneers). I was taken in by the difference between her photo and those of her siblings.  Now I know she led a very different life at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.   I found another photo of her in the The Advertiser, Adelaide from 1937.

South Australian-Born Woman Evangelist. (1937, December 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36394976

Alfred’s next Electoral Roll appearance was in 1925 at 105 Stirling Street, North Perth.  But wait, he is also listed at Dumbleyung in Western Australia’s wheat belt, a long way from Perth.  At his Perth address he was a clerk, while at Dumbleyung he was retired.  No mention of Alice at either address.  That was because in 1924, she was on the electoral at 593 Burke Road, Camberwell, Victoria!

Further investigation found that this was the address of Alice’s brother Alexander.  She is also listed at 27 Aroona Road,  Elsternwick on the  Electoral Roll from the same year.  I don’t know whose house that was!  I sometimes wish the Electoral Rolls were like a census, listed by household and not surname.  It would make it so much easier to find out who was living with who.

Alice appears on the Electoral Roll again in 1931, this time at 15 Torrington Street, Canterbury. But where was Alfred?  He was listed over at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick of course!.  Now why does that address sound familiar?  It just happened to be the address of Alfred’s niece, Susan Oakley, daughter of Alfred’s sister Sarah Harman.  And that is where it all ended for Alfred, at 50 Downshire Road, Elsternwick on March 22, 1933.  He was buried at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1933, March 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4725647

The link to Susan Oakley, explains why Susan and her husband Robert Cruikshank are mentioned in the family notice.  There was only 13 years difference in age between uncle and niece and Susan was living in the Wimmera, including Rupanyup,  at the same time as Alfred, which may explain their close relationship.  I like to find these links as it gives me some idea of the family dynamic.

So what became of Alice?  According to the Electoral Roll of 1936, she had moved to the house next door at 17 Torrington Street, Canterbury.  She passed away on May 21, 1940 and was buried with Alfred at the Box Hill Cemetery.

Family Notices. (1940, May 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12463508

Thanks to Trove and the digitised newspapers, I was able to take the information I had from Electoral Rolls and obituaries to discover so much more about Alfred’s life. I also found a lot more about the Millers/Millars and that helped work out who was where and when.

However, questions still stand, such as exactly where did Alfred and Alice live and what was with all the Electoral Roll entries?  I also want to know what Alfred was selling, especially during his time in Gwalia.  I will keep checking the newspapers.

Alfred’s branch is now looking a little healthier.  It will never grow but I think I can see some blossom now.


In The News – February 8 – February 13, 1901

I have an interest in the weather, not just today or on the weekend,  but also historically.  I  participated in Melbourne University’s Climate History newspaper tagging project which involved tagging newspaper articles at Trove  which reported weather events.  This was an  interesting exercise and what did became obvious was the cyclical nature of the weather.  If it has happened before it will happen again, droughts, floods and storms.

Taking it further, I also have an interest in how such weather events effected my ancestors. That is why the Victorian bushfires of 1901 are of interest.  The weather was very similar to two days in my lifetime,  Ash Wednesday February 16, 1983 and  Black Saturday February 7, 2010 and in each case, fires spread across Victoria.  When I look at the  Department of Sustainability Bushfire history of Victoria, I am surprised the fires of 1901 are not mentioned.

The first reports came through on February 8, 1901 of the destruction.  The following article from The Argus describes the weather of February 7, 1901.  The descriptive language used takes the reader to that day.  The heat was oppressive, the wind was strong and dust storms crossed the state, causing an unnatural darkness.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires had sprung up in the Western District.  Early reports from Branxholme were tragic with one death, stock killed and houses lost.  I have family links with three of the families who lost their homes, the Millers, Storers and Addinsalls.  George Miller, a racehorse trainer, lost his house and stables and no doubt his horses.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

The two-day race meeting at Ararat was held under stifling conditions.   A fire started at the course on the second day and horses were burnt.  Later the wind picked up and ripped iron off the grandstand roof, sending the ladies within running for shelter.

HEAT AND GALES. (1901, February 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10533956

Fires spread across Victoria including Warrnambool, Alexandra, Wangaratta, Buninyong, Yea and Castlemaine

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14337694

Reading the following article about the fires at Byaduk , it really hit home how my Harman and Bishop families may have been impacted.  Even if they were lucky enought not to lose their homes, the scenes would have been unforgettable.

TERRIBLE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818069

In 1901, my great-grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Harman, gg grandfather Reuben James Harman and his parents James Harman and Susan Read were all living at Byaduk.  Not to mention various gg uncles and aunts and cousins, both Bishops and Harmans.  I wonder how they coped.  Did 18 year old Sarah take refuge in a dam or creek with her Grandmother Susan?  Was 70 year James Harman still fit enough to help fight the fires?  These are questions that I will never know the answer to. All I know is they were lucky enough to escape with their lives.

DESTRUCTIVE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 9). Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904), p. 2. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64452557

The Australian Town and Country Journal accounts for 10 homes lost at Byaduk.  The Free Presbyterian Church was lost and the hotel caught alight but it seems it was saved.  The homestead of Richard Thomas Carty at “Brisbane Hill”, a large property at Byaduk, was destroyed.  The Cartys rebuilt and the replacement homestead “Dunroe” still stands.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

This photograph gives us some idea of the devastation.

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

Portland was also under threat with fire circling the town.  The fire did not stop until it met the sea.

VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4818536

Buninyong near Ballarat was one of the worst areas hit as was Euroa and district.

BUSH FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 9). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23853766

THE VICTORIAN BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 23). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463761

By January 11, aid for the homeless was on the agenda and at  Branxholme a public meeting was held to discuss such matters.  Authorities discovered the fire near Branxholme, which was possibly the same fire that hit Byaduk, was started by a travelling tinsmith fixing a trough at Ardachy Estate.

THE BUSH FIRES. (1901, February 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10534297

Nearby Macarthur also had losses as did Princetown on the south coast.  At Timboon, bullock teams from the local sawmill were lost.

FIRES IN VICTORIA. (1901, February 12). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 6. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54558042

The fire was so strong and relentless that old residents were drawing comparisons to Black Thursday of 1851.

TELEGRAPHIC. (1901, February 12). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 32. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32205605

Today and for the past few days, the temperature has struggled to reach 20 degrees. Three years ago the temperature was more than twice that.  The weather will be like today during future summers, but I also know there will be days again like February 7, 1901, February 16, 1983 and February 7, 2009.  It is the nature of the weather.  Let us hope the devastation of each of these past events are never repeated.


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