Tag Archives: Muddy Creek

Trove Tuesday – When the Sea Covered Hamilton

Since I have just written about the Reeds of Muddy Creek, I will continue the Muddy Creek theme for Trove Tuesday.

Around 1931, Walter Greed of Hamilton discovered a cowry shell on the banks of Muddy Creek, near Hamilton and passed it on to the National Museum.  Walter was the husband of Jessie Harman, daughter of Reuben Harman of Byaduk, and was a member of the Greed family, funeral directors of Hamilton.

Maybe that doesn’t seem that unusual, but a cowry shell is a seashell and the nearest sea to Muddy Creek is around 80 kilometres away.  The shell Walter  found was a fossil was from a time when the area surrounding Muddy Creek, including Hamilton, was one hundred fathoms under the sea.  That is around 182 metres.

Muddy Creek and the river it flows into, the Grange Burn, are well known fossil sites, recorded in Australia’s Fossil Heritage: A Catalogue of Important Australian Fossil Sites.

WHEN THE SEA COVERED HAMILTON. (1931, June 26). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72635176

WHEN THE SEA COVERED HAMILTON. (1931, June 26). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72635176


The Muddy Creek Reeds

Researching the family of my ggg grandmother Susan has been like searching a muddy creek looking for clues with reeds blocking my way.  The thing is Susan was a Reed and for a time members of her family lived at Muddy Creek.

The main challenge has been the family name.  My ggg grandmother and her siblings were christened as Reed .  She and her family were Read on the 1841 and 1851 UK Census and on Susan’s death record.   Despite the variance,  I had chosen to call Susan and her parents and siblings by the surname Read.   Then I found that Susan’s brother William was living just down the road from her in Victoria.  In 1866 when William married Sarah Burgin, he was William Read.  By 1869, and the birth of William’s first child, he was Reed.  That was the surname taken by his children and that went with him to the grave.

Even though the “Reed” name was consistently used by William from 1869, always lurking is the thought that at sometime the name may be Read.  Or Reid.  Especially in the newspapers.

Susan and William’s story began in Cambridgeshire, first in Melbourn where Susan was born in 1830 and then Whaddon where William was born in 1835.  They remained in Whaddon until they left England.

From the 1841 UK Census, the Read family of Whaddon appeared a fairly typical family in the village.  Parents William Read and Mary Waymant had four children, Susan being the eldest.  William senior was an agricultural labourer.  By the time of the 1851 Census it was clear that over the preceding decade, life for the Read family had changed somewhat.  Susan, recorded as Sussanna was now head of the household, her occupation “pauper”.  There were two new children in the family, Julia aged 7 and John aged  6.  They, along with Sybil then 13 and James 11, were also paupers.  William jnr. 16, was working as an agriculture labourer.

The most noticeable difference from the 1841 Census, other than most of the family being paupers, is that parents William and Mary were not in the house on the night of the 1851 Census.  No amount of searching has found a trace of them on that night or there after.  The other missing family member was Isabella, then 16.  I found her in Bassingbourn working as a servant.  She married in 1853 to Henry Cutts but she died in 1856.  In addition to the information on the Census,  in 1847, another child was born to William and Mary, a son Alfred William.  Like his parents, I have not found any further trace of him.

If William and Mary had died by 1851, it raises questions about Susan’s emotions about leaving for Australia in 1852, shortly after her marriage to James Harman.  Departing would have been heart wrenching enough, but to leave her brothers and sisters under such circumstances must have been extremely difficult for Susan.  She named three of her children after her siblings, Alfred, Julia and Isabella.

Sometime over the following eight to ten years, William jnr left England for Australia but I have not been able to find his arrival in Victoria.  A lot of “William Reeds” and ” William Reads” arrived in Victoria during the 1850s and 60s and that is assuming he came directly to Victoria.

He had arrived in Australia by 1866 as he married Sarah Burgin in that year.  Sarah was the daughter of Richard Burgin and Eliza Addinsall and was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1846.  The Burgins arrived in Geelong in 1854 aboard “Josuha“.  They settled at Muddy Creek, south of Hamilton.

William and Sarah had seven children:

WILLIAM – Born 1869 at Macarthur; Died 1952 at  Hamilton;  Never married.

ELIZA MARY –  Born 1871 at  Hamilton; Died 1954 at  Hamilton;  Marriage – James Percy CLAYTON in  1896.

MARTHA –  Born 1873 at  Macarthur;  Died 1945  at Warrabkook;  Marriage – James Ernest FORD in  1901.

ALBERT –  Born 1874 at  Warrabkook;  Died 1954 at Hamilton;  Marriage –  Elilias PATMAN in  1904.

JOHN –  Born 1877 at Warrabkook;  Died 1878 at Warrabkook.

SARAH ANN –  Born 1879 at  Warrabkook;  Died 1948  at Hamilton;  Marriage –  William KIRKWOOD in 1903.

ALICE –  Born 1882  at Warrabkook;  Died 1974  at Hamilton;  Marriage – Henry Alfred BREWIS  in 1904.

Another difficulty with William Reed is that he lived at both Warrabkook near Macarthur and Muddy Creek, near Hamilton, but he could also be recorded as living at South Hamilton as Muddy Creek fell in the Parish of South Hamilton.  I also can’t rule out nearby Yulecart being used as his place of residence.   So that leaves me searching for William Read or Reed (or Reid) at two locations with four possible place names across the same time period.

In 1888, William was executor of his father in-laws  will.  Noted was William’s signature, “William Reed” and his residence Warrabkook.

Advertising. (1888, June 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 9. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6130428

Advertising. (1888, June 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 9. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6130428

Not taking a lead from his father in law, William passed away the following year, on December 23, 1889, intestate.   William’s two brother-in-laws William  Burgin and my ggg grandfather James Harman, lodged applications to administer the estate.  However,  William’s wife Sarah was granted administration.  The notice, below, said William was from South Hamilton while Sarah was from Muddy Creek, South Hamilton.

Advertising. (1890, January 30). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8586393

Advertising. (1890, January 30). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 10. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8586393

William was buried at Hamilton Old Cemetery and his headstone recorded his place of death as Muddy Creek.

REED GRAVE, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

REED GRAVE, HAMILTON OLD CEMETERY

It was William’s’ probate papers that told me more about him.  William owned six properties at the time of his death, three in the Parish of South Hamilton, two in the Parish of Warrabkook and one in the Parish of Yulecart.

One of the properties in South Hamilton of 94 acres, had a five-room stone dwelling with an iron roof and all walls plastered.  One ceiling was still canvas lined.  There was also a stone out building.  This would have been the Reed’s Muddy Creek residence.  The other two smaller properties were next to the “home paddock”.  They were all partially fenced with an old log fence and post and wire.  There is a clue to how long William may have been at Muddy Creek.  The improvements on the properties had occurred over 30 years.  That would go back to around 1859.

This list of tender bids, presented at the District Road Board on February 20, 1863 includes a W.Reed who lodged a tender to repair the ford at Muddy Creek.  He did have the cheapest quote but he was beaten to the job by contractors, Vivian and White.

DISTRICT ROAD BOARD. (1863, February 23). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64628235

DISTRICT ROAD BOARD. (1863, February 23). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64628235

The two properties in the Parish of Warrabkook were close by to the Eumeralla River and they can be seen on the  Parish of Warrabkook map from 1879.  John Kirkwood, father-in law of William’s daughter Sarah owned the property to the west.  To the north was the property of William Burgin, William’s brother-in-law.

The larger property of 229 acres  had a four room mud dwelling with a two room wooden add-on.  There were three brick chimneys and the walls were papered.  Two rooms had pine lined ceilings.  This would have been the Reed’s Warrabkook residence.  Improvements on the property had taken place over 22 years, beginning around 1867.

This Local Land Board notice from 1871  reports on an application from W.Reed of Warrabkook.

LOCAL LAND BOARD. (1871, November 30). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 6 Edition: EVENINGS. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65426388

LOCAL LAND BOARD. (1871, November 30). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 6 Edition: EVENINGS. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65426388

It seems that while William may have bought land at Muddy Creek first, he and Sarah spent the early years of their marriage at Warrabkook, although there did seem to be some going backwards and forwards until their third child, Martha was born.  It was some distance between Muddy Creek and Warrabkook, but I think William may have taken a shorter more direct route than Google Maps offers, with a distance of around 42 kilometres.  Susan lived at Byaduk on the way.  The map below shows Warrabkook (A), Byaduk (B) and Muddy Creek (C).

Later they seem to have spent more time at Muddy Creek.  There was a strong Methodist community and the Reeds were members of the Muddy Creek Primitive Methodist Church.  In 1929, Sarah Reed laid the foundation stone for a new Muddy Creek Pioneer church .  Daughter Martha’s  wedding notice from 1901 has Sarah from Muddy Creek and Warrabkook.

SOCIAL. (1901, May 7). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73026998

SOCIAL. (1901, May 7). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73026998

While I can’t find William Reed’s South Hamilton properties on land maps, the road names around Muddy Creek/Yulecart give a clue.  Like at Warrabkook, the Reed, Burgin and Kirkwoods were never far away from each other.

Until now, I have recorded Susan as Susan Read on my family tree and William as William Reed which is a bit messy.  Writing this post as forced me to look harder at the sources and I have decided that I will change all those I have listed as Read to Reed as that is what Susan and her siblings were christened.  I will still need to factor in the different name variables.

William and Susan were not the only Reeds of Whaddon to come to Australia.  Their sister Sybil lived in Ulmurra, New South Wales.  Her husband John Revell was the puntman on the Coldstream River at Ulmurra.  At the time of Sybil’s death in 1903, Susan placed a notice in The Hamilton Spectator for her younger sister.

So for at least three of the Reed family, life improved and the move to Australia must be attributed to that.  William would not have owned six properties had he stayed in Whaddon.  Although they led  hard pioneering lives, at the end, I doubt they had few regrets.


Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

Sometimes the Misadventure, Deaths and Near Misses (MDNM) posts are like a newspaper version of Funniest Home Videos (I’m thinking of the horse in the sidecar last edition), but there is, of course, a serious side.  The accidents of Western District pioneers remind us of the dangers they faced in their everyday lives. Even mundane clothes washing could turn disastrous.

Fire was ever-present in early homes for light, cooking, warmth and washing.  That led to many injuries and women were the most likely victims simply because they worked with fire often and their long dresses were prone to catch.   My own family did not go unaffected by fire.  My ggg grandmother, Ellen Gamble, lost her life in a house fire from a knocked candle and my ggg aunt, Jane Diwell passed away after catching fire while boiling turpentine and beeswax.  Newspapers articles on the danger of fire were often published.

fire

What to do in [?]ase of Catching Fire. (1900, May 12). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 43. Retrieved May 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71380496

What to do in [?]ase of Catching Fire. (1900, May 12). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 43. Retrieved May 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71380496

The following ladies all had accidents with fire and for each it was their impractical dresses that contributed to their injuries.

In 1889, Jane Brennan was travelling home from mass with her husband and son, when the boy smelt smoke.  They blamed a hot axle until they found  Jane’s dress on fire.  Despite her husband’s desperate attempts to douse the flames, Jane received severe burns.  Mr Brennan also had bad burns including his fingernails burnt off.  Despite being transported to the Ararat Hospital, a later edition of The Portland Guardian reported Jane had sadly died.  The cause of the fire was unknown.

For Constance Sarah O’Connell of Heywood and Eva Dyson of Bessiebelle, it was domestic duties that resulted in their burns.  Mrs O’Connell was tending a copper in the backyard of the Commercial Hotel, Heywood where she worked, when her dress caught fire.  A doctor was called from Portland to tend Mrs O’Connell’s burns but the poor woman was sent by afternoon train to Hamilton Hospital where she later died.  I am curious why she did not go to Portland, closer than Hamilton.

Eva Dyson was carrying out her household chores in front of a fireplace when her dress caught fire.  Her screams brought her mother and sister who were able to extinguish the flames but not before they all also suffered burns.

A past edition of MDNMs discussed the frequency of headlines such as “Peculiar Accident” or “Extraordinary Death” in the papers.  The death of  Matthew Kelly of Eurambeen was definitely “extraordinary” or maybe just what can happen when a joke gets out of hand.

The Portland Guardian,. (1888, July 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63589310

The Portland Guardian,. (1888, July 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63589310

On July 25, 1888, The Portland Guardian reported that Mrs Kelly would stand trial over the manslaughter of her husband.  I did not find an article about her trial and the result.

A peculiar accident occurred at the Ararat Railway Station in 1922 and the cause was the railway bell.  A Minyip lady received stitches above her eye as a result.

A RAILWAY BELL MISHAP. (1922, November 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72741866

A RAILWAY BELL MISHAP. (1922, November 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72741866

NEAR MISSES

It was a near miss for James Hadden, my gg uncle,  working at a saw bench at Mt Sturgeon Station, near Dunkeld.  The saw went between his fingers and while he suffered some nasty cuts, his fingers remained intact.

On September 12, 1884, two “cowboys” rode up beside the mail coach between Nhill and Dimboola causing the horses to bolt.  Both the driver and the only passenger Mrs Dungey of Kaniva, were thrown from the box seat of the coach.  Fortunately they both survived but Mrs Dungey was badly injured.  The driver managed to get the coach back in order, surprisingly with the help of the two culprits.  They loaded Mrs Dungey and the driver took her to a doctor in Dimboola.  The police investigated the incident, the second of its kind in a short period.

Mr Shrive did something that still occurs regularly today.   He fell from a ladder.   Notice Mr Shrive’s accident was the third of its kind around the time of  June 1888.

HARROW. (1888, June 29). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72883804

HARROW. (1888, June 29). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72883804

A bull had the last word when  Mr D. Williams, a butcher, was attempting to slaughter it.  The beast kicked its leg out,  pushing the butcher’s knife into the lower arm of Mr Williams, inflicting a nasty wound that cut the artery.

Albert Reed of Muddy Creek was my 1st cousin, 4 x removed, a nephew of my ggg grandmother Sarah Harman (nee Reed).  He owned a cantankerous young Jersey bull that happily roamed the paddock but would not enter the cow yard.  Until one day in August 1913 when it chose to jump the fence into the cow yard where Albert was standing.  It immediately charged Albert and for sixty metres, it pushed Albert along the ground trying to lift him up onto its horns.  Finally William broke free and called for help but the only person home was his mother Sarah Burgin, then 67.  Between them they were able to secure the bull.  It was later shot.

F.Lovell of Portland had a very near miss!

ACCIDENT. (1906, September 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63963309

ACCIDENT. (1906, September 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63963309

in 1889, Reverend Father Foley was on his way home from conducting mass at Goroke when he came across John Breen .  John had fallen from a horse and had broken his leg.  Rev. Father Foley constructed splints from the bark of a tree, lifted John into his buggy and transported him to Nhill hospital.  Dr Ryan of the hospital was most impressed with the surgical skills shown by the man of the cloth.


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