Tag Archives: Osborne

Passing of the Pioneers

June Passing of the Pioneers features the obituaries of several former Councillors, Mayors and a Mayoress.  There are members of  well known pioneering families and a man who died with no other relatives in Australia.  There is also a Hamilton cricket champion who had the potential to play for Australia.

William RUTLEDGE – Died June 1, 1876 at Farnham.  William Rutledge, born in Ireland, arrived in Sydney in 1833 aged around 27.  After his marriage in 1839, he headed south to Queanbeyan, N.S.W. then Kilmore, Victoria in 1840.  A visit to Port Fairy in 1843 saw him buy the business of John Cox and he transformed it into William Rutledge & Co, importers.  He also selected a large amount of  land at Farnham near Koroit.  William also sat on the first Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1851.  The Christ Church Anglican church at  Warrnambool has a  memorial window dedicated to the memory of William.

DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM RUTLEDGE, OF FARNHAM. (1876, June 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5890095

DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM RUTLEDGE, OF FARNHAM. (1876, June 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 5. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5890095

A biography of William Rutledge (below) by Martha Rutledge in the Australian Dictionary of Biography tells of Edward Henty having referred to William as “Terrible Billy”.

WILLIAM RUTLEGE.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H5056/68

WILLIAM RUTLEGE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H5056/68

George OSBORNE – Died June 14,  1884 at Geelong.  George Osborne was born in Sydney around 1809, his father a member of the 45th Regiment of Foot.  George was a ship maker’s apprentice and worked on a whaling ship as ship’s carpenter.  George first arrived in Victoria  in 1840 at Portland.  He then went to Melbourne before returning to Portland where he remained with his family. While he had lived in Portland for 25 years, after his wife’s death, George moved amongst his family members until his death.  He was buried at the Port Fairy Cemetery.

Eliza PITTS – Died June 2, 1914 at Edenhope.  As an infant, Elizabeth Pitts travelled to Victoria with her parents aboard the “Severn” in 1846 and they settled at Wattle Hill, Portland.  In 1860, Elizabeth married Richard Guthridge.  They raised a family of six sons and six daughters.  Son Frederick has also been a Passing Pioneer.  In the early years of their marriage Richard and Eliza moved several times between Portland, Mt Gambier and Carapook before settling in the Edenhope district.  They were a well respected family, renown for their longevity.

Walter DISS – Died June 3, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Walter Diss died with no relatives in Australia.  He was born in London around 1851 and arrived in Victoria during the 1880s.  He ran bakery businesses in Port Fairy and for a time ran the Exchange Hotel at Sale, East Gippsland.  He returned to Port Fairy after the death of his wife, two years before his own passing.

Ellen MALONE – Died June 20, 1916 at Killarney.  Born in Queen’s County, Ireland around 1831, Ellen arrived at Portland in 1855 aboard the “Caringorm“.  In 1856, she married Thomas Shanley and they settled at Killarney and raised seven children.  At the time of her death, Ellen had 42 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Robert WOOD – Died June 27, 1917 at Warrnambool.  Robert Wood was born in Scotland in 1847 and arrived at Port Fairy, with his parents, aboard the “Athletae” in 1854.  He farmed around  Hopkins Point and Woodford before taking up a job as a storeman for R.H. Patterson of Warrnambool.  He had a strong association with the Warrnambool Fire Brigade, serving as a member for 42 years, 20 years of which he was the station keeper.

Agnetta VIGAR – Died June 24, 1917 at Ararat.  Agnetta Vigar was born on the island of Guernsey around 1831.  She arrived in Adelaide in 1852 and married William Aggett.  They moved to Ararat during the 1860s, settling on the Stawell Road.  She left one son, Thomas, serving in Europe at the time of her death.

John TWOMEY – Died June 30, 1918 at Lilydale.  John Twomey was born at ‘”Banmore” Penshurst, the son of John Twomey a pioneer squatter of the district.  John Jr entered in the stock and station business and lived at Warrnambool.  He was a member of several racing clubs and was a successful owner.  In the years before his death he moved to Melbourne then Lilydale where he passed.  He was buried at Warrnambool Cemetery.

John DOYLE – Died June 8, 1922 at Heywood.   John Doyle was born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1842.  He arrived in Port Fairy about 1856 with his twin brother and they set up a carrying business.  John then bought land in Casterton before purchasing the Hamilton Inn at Hamilton.  Tired of life as a publican, John bought land at Cape Bridgewater and Heywood and  farmed dairy cows.   He served as a Councillor with the Portland Shire. After the death of his first wife in 1877, he remarried.  He left five sons and two daughters.  A sixth son predeceased him.  John’s twin brother died five weeks before at Hamilton.

James GOLDIE - Died June 4, 1924 at Port Fairy.  James Goldie’s death was tragic  but it should not take away from the contribution he made to Port Fairy.  James was born around 1860, the son of John Goldie of Port Fairy.  He was the first butter factory manager in Victoria, running a factory at Rosebrook.  He later managed a large butter factory in N.S.W.

James’ father, John Goldie tended his farm using the latest scientific practices.  A photo of his farm is below.  Taken in 1895, it shows trial crops of sugar beets.  After John died, James took up part of the farm and became a respected breeder of Ayrshire cattle.

SUGAR BEET GROWING AT PORT FAIRY ON THE FARM OF JOHN GOLDIE c1895.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

SUGAR BEET GROWING AT PORT FAIRY ON THE FARM OF JOHN GOLDIE c1895. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

James served on the Council of the Borough of Port Fairy with two terms as Mayor.  He was also a member of the Agriculture Society committee and he was one of the men that established the Glaxo Milk Company at Port Fairy.

Mary FLETCHER – Died June 19, 1942 at Sandringham.  Mary Fletcher was born in Scotland around 1847 and arrived in Victoria as a child.  Her parent settled at Goroke and in 1865 she married William Affleck.  William passed away in 1867 and in 1869 she married James Wooton Shevill.  James was a Warrnambool Councillor from 1875-1878, holding the Mayoral role in 1877-1878.  In later life the Shevills moved to Melbourne.

Peter DUSTING – Died June 30, 1946 at Melbourne.  As Peter Dusting was the last surviving member of the family of  John and Sally Dusting of South Portland, this obituary is more a Dusting family obituary rather than Peter’s.  In fact I was able to find little about Peter from it.  He was born in Portland around 1866 and followed his father and brothers into the fishing business.  Later he moved to Melbourne and remained there until his death.

Emma Watsford TERRILL –  Died June, 1948 at Hamilton.  Emma Terrill was born at Cape Bridgewater around 1880, the youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs George Terrill, pioneers of the district.  Emma married William Jennings in 1905.  William was the grandson of Cook Abraham Jennings and Hannah Birchall, also Cape Bridgewater pioneers.   Emma was an expert on poultry and was often sought after for advice.   After living all her life at Cape Bridgewater, two years before her death she moved into Portland.  Emma passed away in the Hamilton Hospital.

George KENNEDY – Died June 1950 at Hamilton.  When I think of Hamilton cricket, I think of Kennedy Oval.  George Kennedy is the man who the oval was named for.   An obituary for  George Kennedy  in the Portland Guardian of June 29, 1950, suggests a decision by Melbourne born George to leave the city for Hamilton as a young man in 1905, may have cost him the opportunity to compete at interstate or even at international level.  He played for the Grange club in Hamilton and excelled at both batting and bowling, the later his specialty.  His talent was on display in 1912, when a touring English team played at Hamilton and George’s bowling figures where 3/35.  After the match, the ball and a bat signed by the English team was presented by one his scalps, Sir Jack Hobbs, the most prolific scorer in first class cricket history.  George was 71 at the time of his death.


Arthur Leonard Holmes 1889-1918 – Lest We Forget

Most of my family members made it home from World War 1.  While they were far from unaffected,  they were able to return to their loved ones.  Not so for Arthur Holmes.  Newly married he sacrificed his life for his country following both his older brother and cousin into war.

Arthur Leonard Holmes was born in 1889 in Sandford, Victoria.  His parents were George Holmes, the local miller and Julia Harman, a Byaduk girl.  They were married in 1882 in Byaduk and had seven children, with Arthur being the fifth born.  Julia died suddenly in 1896 of a cerebral hemorrhage while George was away gold prospecting on the other side of the state at Tallangatta.   The children ranged in age from 14 to 1.  George remarried in 1900 to Betsy Swain and they had a daughter, Bessie, in 1903.

Arthur enlisted at Melbourne on July 4, 1916 aged 27.  At the time he was working in Casterton as a coachbuilder. His brother Frederick had enlisted 10 months earlier and his cousin Edgar Holmes, a year before.  At the time of enlistment, Arthur noted he was single and gave his next of kin details as his father.  At some point afterwards, this information was edited with single being changed to married and the contact details changed from father George, to his new wife Alice Edith Osborne.  Marriage records show they married in 1916.   Alice was from Millicent, South Australia and was 24 years old.  After their  marriage  and Arthur headed overseas, she went to live in Windsor in Melbourne.

Arthur joined his unit on August 2, 1916 initially in Geelong and then he would have gone to Broadmeadows with the 29th Battalion.  Meanwhile in France, events were unfolding that would not have filtered home at the time of Arthur’s enlistment.  His cousin Edgar was listed as missing at Fromelles on July 28, 1916.  A court of enquiry 12 months later found that Edgar was killed in action, with the date given as July 16, during the Battle of Fromelles.  Also, on July 28, Arthur’s brother Frederick James Holmes was shot in the shoulder in France.  He was later to return home due to his injuries.  As he donned his uniform for the first time, Arthur would have been oblivious that the horror of war had touched his own family.  By the time he sailed for Plymouth on October 26, 1916 the news would have reached him and one could imagine he left Australian shores with a heavy heart.

On the voyage to England he was promoted from Private to Acting Sargent without extra pay, as he was appointed bandmaster for  the trip.   The Holmes boys were musical.  Arthur’s older brother Goldie was an Australian Cornet Champion in the 1920s and led many large bands around Australia.  Arthur may have had the same abilities and aspirations.

On arrival in England Arthur left the 29th and joined the newly formed 62nd Battalion.  The 29th moved on to France while Arthur stayed in England until the 62nd Battalion was disbanded in September 1917.  Arthur returned to the 29th Battalion in France arriving on October 15, 1917 almost a year since he left home.  The 29th were experiencing a relatively quiet period, following their involvement at Ypres, and as the allies prepared for the eventual Battle of Hamel.  This meant no less of a danger for the soldiers.  On June 12, 1918, Arthur Holmes was overcome by mustard gas, the feared silent killer.  It was never an instant death.  In Arthur’s case, he passed away the next day, June 13, 1918 at the 12th Casualty Clearing Station at Hazebrouck.  He was initially buried at the Longpré Cemetery before being exhumed, with 41 other fallen soldiers and re-interred at the Crouy British Cemetery, his final resting place.

CORNET PLAYER KILLED. (1918, June 26). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75192499

From these two articles I have discovered Arthur was known as “Lennie” by his family.

Family Notices. (1918, June 24). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74221268

What of his new bride Alice?  She spent some time in Melbourne after his death,  before moving to Daylesford.  She lived at “Belvedere House” , lodging rooms in Vincent Street, with her widowed mother, Annie Osborne.  In January 1919, she received a parcel containing Arthur’s possessions.  Along with personal items such as photos, letters and a diary there were small hints about Arthur’s time overseas, a French dictionary, a knife and fork in a case, a razor and mirror.  Did she open the parcel?  Did she read Arthur’s diary?  We will never know, but this is all she had left of her time with Arthur along with her memories.  They did not have time to have a home together or raise a family.

In 1923 Alice’s mother passed away and she stayed on in Daylesford before her own death in 1930 at only 38 years of age.  She is buried at the Daylesford cemetery.

In Arthur’s hometown of Casterton, he is remembered on the Town Hall Honour Roll and the Casterton War Memorial

Reading of Arthur’s fate reminded me of a poem I studied at school by the great World War 1 poet Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est.  It’s haunting words give some insight into the experiences  of the thousands of Australians who served their country in World War 1 and the discovery that the Great War was not the big adventure so many expected.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

*It is sweet and right to die for your country

Wilfred Owen – 1918


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