Tag Archives: Port Fairy

Port Fairy Cemetery – Part 1

If you find yourself travelling along Victoria’s south-west coast, don’t miss the Port Fairy Cemetery.

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Last summer, I revisited the cemetery with the aim of photographing as many headstones as possible.  During our four days in Port Fairy, the weather was hot and our days were spent at the beach.  My only chance was to head off early to beat the heat.   I took the dogs, and after a stop at the beach for a run, them not me, we arrived at the cemetery around 7.30am.

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Taking photos and holding two dogs on leads, is not an easy task.  I’m glad they didn’t see the rabbits sitting among the graves but I didn’t count on the burrs.  Soon the dogs were stopping periodically to pick burrs from their paws.  I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked but I have captured some of the older and more interesting headstones.  I will post the photos in two parts.

On one of my past visits to the Port Fairy Cemetery, I joined a tour run by the Port Fairy Genealogical Society.  It was fantastic and I wished I had our knowledgeable guide Maria Cameron on this visit as I tried to remember the stories behind the graves.

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As sealers and whalers, Charles Mills and his older brother John, first saw Port Fairy in 1826, eight years before the Henty brothers arrived at Portland.  However, their whaling camps were not considered permanent in comparison to the Henty settlement, thus the Hentys take the title of first European settlers in Victoria in most discussions on the topic.  Launceston born Charles Mills passed away in 1855 aged 43 and John in 1877 aged 66.   The biography of the brothers is on this link – John and Charles Mills 

 

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HEADSTONE OF BROTHERS CHARLES AND JOHN MILLS

 

 

"BELFAST." The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 21 Nov 1855: 6. .

“BELFAST.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 21 Nov 1855: 6. .

 

"Family Notices." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 24 Sep 1877: .news-article5938525>.

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 24 Sep 1877: .news-article5938525>.

 

This was the home of John Mills in Gipps Street, Port Fairy just across the road from the port where he was harbour master.

 

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FORMER HOUSE OF JOHN B. MILLS, GIPPS STREET, PORT FAIRY.

 

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Port Fairy Harbour

PORT FAIRY HARBOUR

 

An obituary for John Mills, published September 28, 1877 in the Portland Guardian:

 

"BELFAST." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 28 Sep 1877:.

“BELFAST.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 28 Sep 1877:.

 

The Portland Guardian published an interesting article about the Mills Brothers on September 21, 1933.  It included their life stories and that of their father Peter Mills who served as secretary to Governor Bligh  – Early Settlers

 

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GRAVE OF BROTHERS CHARLES AND JOHN MILLS (Foreground)

 

William and Agnes Laidlaw were early pioneers of the Port Fairy district, arriving from Scotland with their family around 1841.  William was born on January 20, 1785 and died on April 6, 1870 and Agnes was born on September 20, 1790 and died  on February 12, 1867.

 

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HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM AND AGNES LAIDLAW

"Family Notices." Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 - 1875) 23 Apr 1870 .

“Family Notices.” Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875) 23 Apr 1870 .

 

At least two of their children had great success.  David Laidlaw went on to serve five times as Mayor of Hamilton and was also a leading businessman in that town.   Robert became well-known in the Heidleberg area as a land owner and sheep breeder.  The following is a family photograph taken at Robert’s 90th birthday.  Robert is at the front with the white beard and brother David to his right.

 

"A Nonagenarian Birthday Party." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 23 May 1907: .

“A Nonagenarian Birthday Party.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 23 May 1907: .

 

James Andrews (1780-1855) and Elizabeth Andrews (1811-1870) nee O’Brien and their two sons, Michael and Patrick lie in the following grave.

 

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HEADSTONE OF JAMES AND ELIZABETH ANDREWS AND THEIR SONS MICHAEL AND PATRICK.

 

The headstone is difficult to read from the photo, so I have transcribed it:

Sacred to the Memory of 

James Andrews

Formally of Ratoath County Meath

Ireland

Died January 1855 aged 55 years

Elizabeth Andrews

His Beloved Wife

Died 26 August 1870, aged 59

Also their two sons

Michael

Died 3rd May 1854 aged 15 years

Patrick

Died 15 March 1863, Aged 23 years

There was little information around about the Andrews family but I thought I would check shipping records.  An Andrews family arrived at Portland during October 1853 aboard the Oithona.  They were from Meath, Ireland, matching the headstone.  The family consisted of James, aged 56, Elizabeth aged 45, Patrick aged 12, Fanny aged 10, James aged nine and Therese aged 2.  On arrival James snr and the family went on to Port Fairy of their own account.  If this is the same Andrews family, James was in Victoria only two years before he died.

 

After sorting my photos I’m really disappointed with myself.  The following Goldie family grave is one I remember well from the cemetery tour.  Maria pointed out the top of the grave purposely broken off to signify a life cut short. Firstly, I didn’t get a photo of the top of the grave and secondly I didn’t get a photo of the reverse side of the grave

Instead I got the following photo showing John and Elizabeth Goldie epitaphs.

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GOLDIE FAMILY GRAVE

 

If I had a photo of the reserve side, you would also see three babies. It was their the lives cut short:

Catherine Goldie
Died in Scotland Feb 1859
Aged 21 Months

Margaret
Died Sep 1862 Aged 19 Months

John
Died May 1864 Aged 17 Months

John Goldie and Elizabeth Clarke arrived in Melbourne aboard the Greyhound in 1862.  With them were their children, Elizabeth aged 11, James aged 2 and Margaret aged 1.  John was born in 1862 at Port Fairy and Margaret barely survived the voyage, dying in 1862.

John Goldie snr was a pioneer of the agricultural industry, working with the Agricultural Department planting experimental crops.  Photos of one of his experimental sugar beet crops is below.

 

JOHN GOLDIE'S SUGAR BEET CROP TRIALS.   Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IAN01/10/95/20  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

JOHN GOLDIE’S SUGAR BEET CROP TRIALS. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IAN01/10/95/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/40232

 

John died in 1901 after a cow knocked him down.  Elizabeth had passed away 29 years earlier aged 45.

 

"OBITUARY." The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954) 3 Sep 1901: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73029026>.

“OBITUARY.” The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954) 3 Sep 1901: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73029026>.

 

Son of John and Elizabeth, James Goldie. who was two when he arrived at Port Fairy. was a previous Passing Pioneer – James Goldie obituary

 

The grave of William Kerby goes back to the earliest years of the cemetery.  William was buried in 1847 in a grave with headstone and footstone arranged by his wife Mary.

 

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GRAVE OF WILLIAM KERBY

 

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HEADSTONE OF WILLIAM KERBY

 

Look a little closer at the next headstone and a sad story begins to emerge.  A check of the marriage record of Robert and Annie Grosert sees the story turn sadder still.  Robert Grosert, the son of  a Port Fairy butcher and himself in the trade was born in 1852.  He married Irish immigrant Annie Greer in 1877.  By November 14 of that year Robert was dead and by December 4, so was Annie.

 

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GROSERT FAMILY GRAVE

 

George Best was born in Port Fairy in 1853, a son of  George Best and Lucy Weston.  He married Emilie Melina Jenkins in 1877 at Wagga Wagga, NSW and they settled at Port Fairy.  George enjoyed sailing and it was while competing in a regatta on the Moyne River at Port Fairy in March, 1891, he was knocked overboard and drowned.

 

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BEST FAMILY GRAVE

 

 

A diver recovered George’s body from the river floor.  A team of townspeople worked on George for two hours trying to revive him.  An  account of the drowning appeared in the Portland Guardian on March 13, 1891 and described the incident and the preparations of the diver which makes interesting reading.

An inquest was held into the accident.

 

"THE BOATING FATALITY AT PORT FAIRY." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 10 Mar 1891: 5. Web..

“THE BOATING FATALITY AT PORT FAIRY.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 10 Mar 1891: 5. Web.<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8482214&gt;.

 

Coincidentally, George’s father, George Best snr a Port Fairy saddler, drowned in almost the same place 30 years before.  His body was never located.

 

"THE EDUCATION DIFFICULTY SOLVED." The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 23 Apr 1861: .

“THE EDUCATION DIFFICULTY SOLVED.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 23 Apr 1861: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154888852&gt;.

 

George and Emilie’s daughter, Elsie May Best was buried with her parents.  She died on October 10 1897 at Port Fairy aged 20 years and 10 months.

 

"Family Notices." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 23 Oct 1897: 55.  .

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 23 Oct 1897: 55. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138629574&gt;.

 

George’s wife  Emilie Melina Jenkins died in a private hospital “Somerset House” in East Melbourne on April 10, 1924.

 

"Family Notices." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 12 Apr 1924:  .

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 Apr 1924: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1903476&gt;.

 

When you walk through a country cemetery and see dozens of unfamiliar names, then later research those names, it’s amazing what you can dig up, so to speak.  Francis Alexander Corbett is one such name. Francis born in 1818, was buried in the Port Fairy cemetery with his wife Ellen Louisa Lane.

 

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GRAVE OF FRANCIS ALEXANDER CORBETT AND HIS WIFE ELLEN LOUISA LANE

 

After searching Trove newspapers, I discovered that Francis arrived in Australia in search of gold and after some time on the diggings went to Melbourne and worked as a reporter for the Argus. Not fond of the work, he moved to the Census Commission conducting the 1854, 1857 and 1861 census as Census Secretary.  He was also a life member of the Royal Society of Victoria.

 

corbett1

 

In 1857 he wrote a book Railway Economy in Victoria and in the same year married Ellen Louise Lane born c1829.  During the 1860s, Francis and Ellen moved to Port Fairy and Francis managed the estate of James Atkinson.  They later moved to Kirkstall near Warrnambool.  In 1889, the following article appeared about Francis Corbett in the Australian Town and Country Journal:

 

"Western Seaports of Victoria." Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907) 5 Jan 1889 .

“Western Seaports of Victoria.” Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907) 5 Jan 1889 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71113608&gt;.

 

Francis was visiting Port Fairy when he died suddenly at the Commercial Hotel (now Royal Oak Hotel) on June 10, 1893.

 

ROYAL OAK HOTEL, PORT FAIRY (FORMALLY THE COMMERCIAL HOTEL)

ROYAL OAK HOTEL, PORT FAIRY (FORMALLY THE COMMERCIAL HOTEL)

"Family Notices." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 17 Jun 1893: 42.  .

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 17 Jun 1893: 42. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138656519&gt;.

 

An obituary appeared in the Argus:

 

"COUNTRY NEWS." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 12 Jun 1893: .

“COUNTRY NEWS.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 12 Jun 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8563251&gt;.

 

The information contained in Francis’ will was even more enlightening especially that about his brother John Corbett.

 

"Wills and Bequests." Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939) 28 Jul 1893:  .

“Wills and Bequests.” Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939) 28 Jul 1893: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145711319&gt;.

 

I tracked down John Corbett or rather,  Admiral Sir John Corbett born 1822 and died 1893, five months after Francis.

 

"[No heading]." South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1895) 16 Dec 1893: 4. .

“[No heading].” South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1895) 16 Dec 1893: 4. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8442835&gt;.

 

On December 4, 1904, 11 years after Francis, Ellen passed away at St Kilda.

 

"Family Notices." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 5 Dec 1908:   .

“Family Notices.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 5 Dec 1908: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10188785&gt;.

 

Five members of the Finn family lie in the following grave.  The first to pass was John Finn in 1879.  John was the owner of the Belfast Brewery and the Belfast Inn with his licence issued in 1841. He was also one of the trustees of the old cemetery which possibly refers to the Sandhills Cemetery although the Port Fairy cemetery website says. at times both cemeteries were referred to as the “old cemetery.”

 

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FINN FAMILY GRAVE

 

The next death in the Finn, family was John’s daughter-in-law Ellen, wife of Laurence Finn.  In 1896, Laurence and Ellen’s youngest son, George passed away aged 25.

 

"Family Notices." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 21 Mar 1896: 45. .

“Family Notices.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 21 Mar 1896: 45. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139723181&gt;.

 

Another son, William Henry passed away in 1902.  That left just Laurence who died on May 24, 1914 aged 81 years.  His obituary appeared in the May 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Laurence died a wealthy man having inherited land from his father, however his will was contested.  A hearing in 1916 saw many witnesses called to assess the soundness of Laurence’s mind when his will was drawn up.  The article is available on the following link – http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73880024

 

Just a handful of graves, yet so many interesting characters and stories.

 

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For more information about the Port Fairy Cemetery, check out the website –  Port Fairy Public Cemetery.   Also ABC Local Radio did a great story on the cemetery including an interview with Maria Cameron and you too can listen to Maria talk passionately about the cemetery.  There are also photos with the story which are so much better than mine.  It is available on the following link  – Radio Interview.  The Find A Grave entry for Port Fairy has had some great work done on it with hundreds of headstones photographed.

 


Harman Housekeeping

It’s time to tie up the loose ends with my Harman research before I launch into writing a thesis on the Harmans of Byaduk (1852-1952) for a Diploma in Family Historical Studies.  That’s a daunting thought despite what you may think.  I write often about my family here, especially the Harmans, I have  research gathered over 20 years and I could ramble for 20,000 words about the Harmans if anyone would listen.  Putting the research together into one structured and organised piece is what I find daunting.

So daunted in fact,  I purchased Hazel Edward’s Writing a Non-Boring Family History and revisited a NLA podcast – “How to write history that people want to read” by Professor Ann Curthoys and Professor Ann McGrath.  Not that I’m worried about it being non-boring or uninteresting, I need tips on putting it all together

Structure aside, there are still some unanswered questions about the Harmans that need resolution.  The year the Harmans arrived in Port Fairy from N.S.W. is one question.   Looking for leads,  I contacted the  Port Fairy Historical Society (PFHS) hoping they may have something.  Robyn Bartlett, an archivist at PFHS got back with the news there was a lot of information particularly from a source I had forgotten as a possibility but was not unexpected.  Last week I received a nice thick parcel from the PFHS.  Thank you Robyn,  You provided a wonderful service.

After the dancing died down and I carefully examined the contents of the envelope, I knew If I got nothing else from the information Robyn sent (which I doubt will be true), I have had my Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) moment.  You know that moment  when a celebrity finds a family member that helps defines them, explains their career path or personality traits.  It is different to the other WDYTYA moment when a celeb. visits the former home of an ancestor and feels some affinity.  I have had that moment too.

My WDYTYA moment came as I read several letters written by my 2nd cousin 3 x removed, Edna Harman, formerly of Wangaratta.  Distant cousin I know, but as I read the letters I could feel her passion for her family’s history and history in general .  It was like reading me.  Edna wrote six letters over a 20 year period from 1963 to the PFHS.  I knew she was an active member and one time research officer of the Wangaratta Historical Society and had also co-written a book,  Wangaratta: old tales and tours (1983) with Judy Bassett.  Edna’s grandfather George Hall Harman left Port Fairy for Byaduk with the other family members, but later returned to Port Fairy where he remained for the rest of his life.  That is how Edna came to have a Port Fairy connection.

LETTERS FROM EDNA

LETTERS FROM EDNA

Edna’s letters contain snippets of some wonderful family stories and as luck would have it, Edna put those stories. and others she had gathered from cousins, into a text book, complete with photos (yes, she used photo corners!).  There are pages and pages of history of the Harmans of Port Fairy and her family in Wangaratta including her father Herbert Harman, a long serving journalist with the Wangaratta Chronicle.  One of Herbert’s poems was in the package, and I had to smile because the subject  was the S.S.Casino.  The steamer was the subject of a recent Trove Tuesday post.  A story of Edna’s grandfather’s visits to Wangaratta resonated with me,  George Harman would take a bunch of boronia for his granddaughter.  That reminded me of my grandmother Mavis Riddiford telling me about grandpa Percy giving her bunches of boronia.

I am eternally grateful to the late Edna Harman, and I am sorry that I never met her.  I know I would have liked her.

I have also been buying a few certificates that I have need to help answer some questions, well at least try.

Reuben Harman died in 1883 at only 44,  less than half the age of most of his siblings.   I wanted to find the cause of his death,  and check his “length of time in the colony” status, to compare with the other family members.  Turns out Reuben died of hydatids, a condition on the increase in the Western District during the 1880s and was probably caught from his dogs or dirty drinking water.  This article from the Horsham Times of  March 16, 1883, warned of the dangers of hydatidis and its spread.  Reuben died weeks later on April 28.

hyd

The Horsham Times. (1883, March 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72872771

The Horsham Times. (1883, March 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72872771

I have also purchased the marriage certificate of Sarah Harman, sister of Reuben.  She married Walter Oakley in  1864 but married again to George Adams in 1885.  When I first wrote about Sarah and Walter I heard from  Brad,  a member of the Oakley family.  As the family story goes,  Walter disappeared while delivering horses to India, part of the active export trade during the later half of the 19th century.  I wanted to know how Walter’s “disappearance” was explained on Sarah’s second marriage certificate.  It said that Walter was “not seen or heard of or from for a period of nine years”.  That would make it around 1876 when he disappeared, leaving Sarah with four children aged six to eleven,

Finally, I  purchased the death certificate  of Charles Frederick Ward, son of Stephen Ward and Isabella Harman and grandson of James Harman.  Isabella died during child-birth and the Harman family raised Charles and from what I can gather, his aunt Henrietta played an integral part.  Charles died in 1928 at Ballarat aged just 42, presumably unmarried and childless.  It always appeared that something tragic had happened to Charles, but I had never found anything in the papers.   Now the story is much clearer.  Charles Ward died in the Ballarat Asylum, later known as the Lakeside Hospital, from “organic disease of the brain” and yes, confirmation he never married or had children.  Of course, this now leads me down the path of inquest and asylum records, but if I am to know the part that Harmans of Byaduk played in the life of Charles, particularly Henrietta, I do need more.

HEADSTONE OF CHARLES WARD AND HIS MOTHER ISABELLA HARMAN

HEADSTONE OF CHARLES WARD AND HIS MOTHER ISABELLA HARMAN

The next steps in my research will be a call to the Macarthur Historical Society,  a visit to the State Library of Victoria for some elusive Byaduk history books, PROV for land records and correspondence with living Harmans.  Just all the things I’ve put off for the past twenty years.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

While I’m here talking about corresponding with living Harmans, it is worth mentioning some of those descendents I’m keen on catching up with.

Descendants of:

Gershom HARMAN (1869-1940) and Elizabeth HILLIARD (1874-1931) of Byaduk

Related Names:

ADDINSALL (Wallacedale)

WHEELER (Branxholme)

Walter GREED (1870-1955) and Jessie HARMAN (1871-1949) of Hamilton

Related Name:

JONES (Mumbannar)

James HANKS (1871-1909) and Ellen May HARMAN (1881-1948) of Horsham

Related Name:

WOODS (Horsham & Kaniva)

Reuben Edward HARMAN (1894-1959) and Elizabeth Evaline HENRY (c1900-1979) of Preston.

Related Names:

KING (Thornbury)

SIMMONS (Mordialloc)

 

 

 

 

 


Trove Tuesday – S.S. Casino

The idea of catching a steam ship from Portland to Melbourne 100 years ago sounds romantic until one considers the stretch of coastline  navigated to reach Melbourne – the Shipwreck coast.  There have been over 200 wrecks along the entire stretch of coast and from Port Fairy to Apollo Bay alone there have been 80 shipwrecks.

Early settlers used steamers to transport wool and other freight to the Melbourne ports and back. Stephen Henty purchased his own steamers to make the trip.  The steamers were also for passage,  an alternative to the rough hair-raising ride of a Cobb & Co coach or later, the train.

Advertising. (1868, February 12). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5790334

Advertising. (1868, February 12). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 1. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5790334

One steamer that regularly made the journey from 1882 was the S.S.Casino, notching up 2,500 trips along the southern coastline.  Owned by the Belfast and Koroit Navigation Company the ship was built in Scotland.

S.S. CASINO.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H92.302/23 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/195620

S.S. CASINO. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H92.302/23 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/195620

The Casino is the subject of the this week’s Trove Tuesday post because on July 10, 1932, the steamer made its last voyage.  Just short of the Apollo Bay pier, the S.S. Casino struck a sandbar and sunk.  Ten lives were lost.

casino1

TEN PERISH IN WRECK. (1932, July 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4462307

TEN PERISH IN WRECK. (1932, July 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 7. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4462307

The Portland Guardian reported on the disaster, noting one of the survivors, 11-year-old Joan Greer, was the daughter of a worker at the Richmond Hotel in Portland.  Remarkably, while the girl travelled on the Casino, her mother took the train for the return trip from Melbourne to Portland.  One of the victims was Helena Gill, the stewardess with 40 years service.

casino3

Wreck of the Casino. (1932, July 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64298698

Wreck of the Casino. (1932, July 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64298698

 

An unfortunate oversight was an advertisement that ran in the Portland Guardian on July 11, the day after the wreck.   It  advised that passage was available to Melbourne weekly aboard the S.S Casino, “weather and other circumstances permitting”.

Advertising. (1932, July 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64298708

Advertising. (1932, July 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64298708

Tomorrow at 11am the Port Fairy Historical Society will remember those that lost their lives on the S.S. Casino, 81 years ago.  More information is on their Facebook page.

The S.S. Casino still lies at the bottom of the ocean off Apollo Bay and is now a dive wreck.  The anchor is displayed outside the Apollo Bay Post Office.  There is more information about the steamer’s history on the Victorian Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development website.

 


Passing of the Pioneers

Welcome to a bumper May Passing of the Pioneers.  So many interesting pioneers passed in  the month of May,  I had to leave some for next year.  Those that remain had such great stories that it was necessary to share some extra bits and pieces found about them.  Some just passed through the Western District from time to time, others lived there only for a short period while others were residents for over 50 years, but they all left their mark in some way.    They include army captains, ship captains, a dentist and a naturalist.

Captain Foster FYANS:  Died May 23, 1870 at Newtown.  Western Victorian historian, Margaret Kiddle, wrote in her book Men of Yesterday: a social history of the Western District of Victoria (1834-1890) “the story of  Foster Fyans’ commissionership is a joy to historians” (p.50) . Born in Dublin, Ireland, Foster Fyans was an army captain.  He enlisted in 1816 and served with different regiments of the British army including a stint in India.  On arrival in Australia in 1833, he became the captain of the guard on Norfolk Island and remained there for two years.  In 1837, he left the army and headed to Port Phillip to become the first police magistrate at Geelong.

From 1840, Foster Fyans held the important position of  Crown Lands Commissioner for the Portland Bay area.   A squatter taking up land had to seek permission from the Commissioner and pay an annual fee.  The Commissioner’s word was law and there was no arguing with Foster Fyans, a man with a temper.  He tangled with many squatters including the Hentys.  Governor  La Trobe had his moments with Fyans and Kiddle cites La Trobe declaring Fyans “secured to him the chance of a duel once at least in the week as long as he may live” (p.50).

As commissioner, Fyans would ride great distances from Geelong through to Portland and into the Wimmera, a formidable task but his skills marking out selections  may not have been as great  according to Richard Bennett’s Early Days in Port Fairy (edited by Jan Critchett).  Fyans’ marking of runs “amounted to almost a farce” as Bennett  described the technique used by Fyans:

They were usually laid off in ten mile blocks, measured with a compass in his hand, and timing his horse.  A blackfellow followed, and notched a tree line.  When the Commissioner had travelled what he considered the distance, he notched a corner tree with a broad arrow, and then rode off again at right angles to the next corner, and so on round the block.  Captain Fyans was a bluff old gentleman…” (p.26).

Despite his ways, Fyans was kept on as Commissioner because their was no one else qualified to do the job.

THE LATE CAPTAIN FYANS. (1870, June 18). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 - 1875), p. 114. Retrieved May 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60449034

THE LATE CAPTAIN FYANS. (1870, June 18). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 – 1875), p. 114. Retrieved May 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60449034

Foster Fyans died at Balyang (below) in the Geelong suburb of Newtown and while the house was demolished in 1896, the site is now a part of the Balyang sanctuary. Around the Geelong area the Fyans name is still present with Fyans Street and the suburb, Fyansford.   Around the Grampians there is Lake Fyans and Fyans Creek.

BALYANG, RESIDENCE OF FOSTER FYANS c1851. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H88.21/107 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/71805

William CARMICHAEL:  Died May 1890 at Macarthur.  William lived at Harton Hills, near Macarthur.  According to his obituary, William purchased the property in 1843 from squatter James Hunter.  However, the Macarthur Historical Society website states William bought the property from the Bolden brothers in 1842.  Any wonder William’s  obituary notes there were “many and varied stories” about how he acquired Harton Hills.

Captain Alexander CAMPBELL:  Died May 25, 1890 at South Yarra.  Alexander Campbell was born in 1803 in Argyleshire, Scotland and followed his brothers to Tasmania in 1825.  After farming for a few years, Alexander left for Sydney in 1831.  The following year a position in charge of the whaling station at Portland was offered to him but he didn’t take up the role until 1836.  In the meantime he went whaling, sailing as far as Japan.  After Portland, he went on to Port Fairy where he stayed for about 15 years.  In that time he built at least two cottages, one occupied by his sisters.  In 1851, he became a harbour master and later moved to Gippsland where he returned to farming.  In his last years, Alexander and his wife moved to Caroline Street, South Yarra where  he died aged 87.

Captain David FERMANER:  Died May, 1893 at Newport.  Earlier this year I wrote a Trove Tuesday post entitled Gilding the Lily.  Captain David Fermaner may have been guilty of just that.   At the time of his death, Fermaner, a whaler,  was credited as being Victoria’s earliest colonist and that he was standing on the beach at Lady Bay when the ship carrying the first Henty’s reached the Victorian coastline.  However, after reading  Jenny Williams Fawcett’s account of David Fermaner and his link to the legend of the Mahogany Ship, it became obvious telling the truth was not one of his strong points.

CAPTAIN DAVID FERMANER. Image courtesty of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H2889/85 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/68327

After his time in the south-west, Fermaner later became pilot and harbourmaster at Port Albert in Gippsland.

William Thomas PILE:  Died May 25, 1901 at Portland.  William Pile was born in Devonshire, England and as a boy served an apprenticeship in the fishing industry at Hull.  With an urge to see the world, he became a sailor and in 1852, his ship “Cossepore” arrived at Portland, but he travelled on to Geelong and like many other ships’ crew he left and headed to the diggings.   The thrill of the high seas and travel was a greater lure and he returned to England.  It was not until 1854 on a return visit to Portland, he decided to settle.

William’s working life in Portland started as a fisherman and in 1869 after a trip home to England, he returned with a new type of gun to harpoon whales.  He bought into a wattle bark business with Stephen Jarrett that proved lucrative. In 1876 William became a Portland Councillor and then Portland Mayor in 1880 and 1886.

Stephen DUDDEN:  Died May 2, 1903 at Hamilton.  Stephen Dudden was born in Somersetshire around 1819 and arrived in Victoria in the 1860s.  Stephen showed some entrepreneurial skills setting up a refreshment tent opposite the Hamilton Lands office, in Brown Street, during the rush to buy land after the passing of the Land Act in 1860.  He later went  to Portland working as a stonemason and then retired to Myamyn.  In the month prior to his death, a dehydrated and disheveled Stephen was found by a Hamilton policeman and taken to the Hamilton Hospital where he remained until he passed away from senile decay.

Janet MILLAR:  Died May 3, 1910 at Portland.  Janet’s obituary named her only as Mrs Browning, so I turned to the Australian Death Index to find her birth name, Janet Millar.  Janet and her husband  John Browning arrived in Victoria in 1849 and headed to Portland to set up a school.  With the discovery of gold, the school was abandoned and the Brownings headed for the diggings.  They returned to Portland and eventually John set up another school, John Browning’s Boarding School for Boys.

Janet was 88 at the time of her death and had kept relatively good health and was still tending her home.  However it was a once in a lifetime chance to see Halley’s Comet in 1910 that led to her demise.  She had been out early on cold mornings trying to catch a glimpse of the comet and developed a chill, too much for her weak heart.

Laurence FINN:  Died May 24, 1914 at Port Fairy.  Laurence Finn from Tipperary, Ireland arrived in Melbourne with his parents in 1841 and in 1843 they settled in Port Fairy.  In 1858, Laurence married Ellen Crowe (Australian Marriage Index) and they took up residence at Comely Banks, Port Fairy.  Laurence’s father ran the Belfast Inn for a time until he let the lease lapse.   As a the only child from his father’s second marriage, Laurence and his children inherited a large amount of land.  Laurence was a Justice of the Peace and was a member of the Port Fairy Agriculture Society.

John McCOMBE:  Died May 7, 1916 at Casterton.  Fourteen year old, John McCombe arrived in Melbourne aboard the Champion of the Seas in 1854.  His family headed directly to Portland but John soon moved on to the Casterton district taking up work at Dunrobin and Nangeela.  He purchased a bullock team and began a carrying business and moved to Sandford around 1861 after he married.  Four years later he bought land at Deep Creek, Corndale and he remained there until his death.

Frederick  Sunderland Wood MAWSON:  Died May 19, 1916 at Geelong.  Frederick Mawson was a dentist and he travelled the Western District and  Mt. Gambier inspecting the teeth of the residents.  Born around 1843 (Australian Death Index), Frederick studied dentistry in England and practiced in Yorkshire.  After acquiring the necessary qualifications for Australia, Frederick set up practice in Geelong and for a few years had a practice in Mt Gambier.

DENTISTRY. (1914, April 2). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 1 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74760513

DENTISTRY. (1914, April 2). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 1 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74760513

This “advertorial” from the Border Watch gives a good description of Frederick Mawson and his dentistry.

dentist1

F. J. Mawson,. (1899, April 5). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 4 Supplement: Supplement to the BORDER WATCH. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article81713460

F. J. Mawson,. (1899, April 5). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 4 Supplement: Supplement to the BORDER WATCH. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article81713460

 

Mr George Deihl McCORMICK: Died May 29, 1916 at Warrnambool.  Born in Toronto, Canada, George McCormick arrived in Victoria in 1852.  He farmed and apparently  became a part owner of Cobb & Co. coaches.  While I can’t find evidence of this claim, George did know a lot about Cobb & Co. as recorded in his reminisces from 1902 with a writer from the Warrnambool Standard.  The article also appeared in the Portland Guardian of January 20, 1902

mccorm mccorm1 mccorm2

This is a perfect opportunity to show a Cobb & Co. coach and the Leviathan coach, introduced in 1862, was the height of madness.  Smaller coaches would have been scary enough to ride in as they hurtled along unmade roads.  But a coach for 89 passengers.  What were they thinking?  George’s account above mentions the perils facing the Leviathan coach, but it was not the risk that proved them unsuccessful.  Rather, the driver’s whip could not reach the front horses, so a bag of stones were carried to throw at the leaders.

COBB & CO COACH WITH 89 PASSENGERS.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image No. H4051 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72175

COBB & CO COACH WITH 89 PASSENGERS. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image No. H4051 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72175

George became a police magistrate in 1882 and purchased Bournfield Park Estate at Woodstock near Whittlesea and in 1889 he arrived in Warrnambool.  He remained there until his death.  He left a wife, Barbara Waddell and five sons and four daughters.

 John James VILLIERS:  Died May 1917 at Warrnambool.  London born John Villiers was a talented man.  He arrived in Victoria in 1858 aged around 17 and headed to the diggings.  In the early 1860s he went to Warrnambool and his obituary in the Argus May 12, 1917 said he ran a painting and decorating business in Libeig Street and imported crockery.  John’s  interest in painting went beyond house painting.  He enjoyed painting landscapes in oils and watercolours and once he presented a painting to the Warrnambool Art Gallery.

A man of the arts, John was also an amateur dramatic and vocal performer and organised dramatic events to raise money for the likes of the Warrnambool Hospital and the Mechanics Institute.  John was a part of the earliest known sound recording in Australia by Warrnambool shoe shop owner, Thomas Rome on one of the first Edison phonographs.  John Villiers sang the The Hen Convention and if you click on the link, you can hear the song.  More information about Thomas Rome and John Villiers and their recordings can be found in a story by ABC Southwest from 2010.

Sarah BARKER:  Died May 1917 at Ararat.  Most months I can find a pioneer that I have even just a tenuous family link to.  This month it is Sarah Barker.  Sarah was the mother of Stephen Ward.  Stephen married Isabella Harman, daughter of James Harman.  I didn’t know that Sarah Jerrett, as she was in her obituary, was formally Sarah Ward and Sarah Baker.  When I read the obituary however, it mentioned the Ward connection and her son Stephen.

Sarah, from Norfolk, England and her first husband James Ward , arrived at Portland in 1852.  She was 23.  Sarah remained there until the late 1890s when she moved to Ararat.  Prior to that  Sarah and James had seven children. including second youngest Stephen in 1867.  James died in 1879 and Sarah married Francis Jerrett in 1883.

John GURRY:  Died May 24, 1917 at Condah.  John Gurry and his wife left Ireland for Portland in 1857.  They tried Harrow and Branxholme, running the Western Hotel there,  then settled in Condah where John ran a farm.  In their later years, they moved into the Condah township.  John was buried in a family grave at Portland.

OBITUARY. (1917, May 28). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88021627

OBITUARY. (1917, May 28). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88021627

Adam EDGAR:  Died May 8, 1941 at Tapanui, New Zealand.  At the age of six, Adam arrived in Portland aboard the Severn in 1857 with his parents, James and Isabella and his eight siblings.  The family went straight to “Pine Hills”  Harrow the property of James Edgar’s brother, David.  Like his cousins and siblings, he was educated at the private school David Edgar had established at Pine Hills.  In 1871,  Adam married Margaret Huston and in 1875, they left for New Zealand where they stayed for the rest of their lives.  One of Adam and Margaret’s sons was the Reverend James. Huston Edgar, an explorer, missionary and author who spent much of his life in China. His obituary is below.   Adam’s sister Jean Edgar was a Passing Pioneer from March 2012.

MR. J. H. EDGAR DEAD. (1936, April 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), p. 14. Retrieved May 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36803018

MR. J. H. EDGAR DEAD. (1936, April 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 14. Retrieved May 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36803018

Captain Robert Ernest BAKER:  Died May 4 at Larpent,  What an interesting character Captain Baker was.  Not a ship’s captain, but a captain in the AIF during WW1 he served with the 8th Light Horse.  Reading his 88 page service record, I found that Baker was actually a Lieutenant when delisted and was a just temporary Captain at one time during his service.  “Captain” does have a better ring to it.

This wonderful photo from the Australian War Memorial has a real Western District flavour but sadly only one, Robert Baker, returned.  Captain Baker is seated on the left.  He was 41 at the time of enlistment.  The other men are, seated right:  Keith Allan Borthwick of Armadale.  Standing from left:  Major Thomas Harold Redford of Warrnambool, Lt Edward Ellis Henty of Hamilton, Lt Eliot Gratton Wilson of Warrnambool.

Edward Ellis Henty was the grandson of Stephen George Henty.  He,  Borthwick, Redford and Wilson joined up on the same day, September 21, 1914 and all died on the same day, August 7, 1915 at the battle of The Nek at Gallipoli.  Robert Baker’s war was plagued with illness, including dysentery and lumbago, but it probably saved his life.  On August 7, 1915, he was in the No 1 Australian Stationary Hospital on Mudros.

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P00265.001 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P00265.001

Image Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P00265.001 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P00265.001

After the war, Captain Baker transformed his property at Larpent into a sanctuary for the native fauna.  He often contributed to the Nature Notes in the Argus.

NOTES FOR BOYS. (1930, September 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 9. Retrieved May 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4189243

NOTES FOR BOYS. (1930, September 9). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 9. Retrieved May 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4189243

In 1936, he offered kangaroos from his own sanctuary to the Healesville sanctuary.  Healesville Sanctuary was in its first years as it was officially opened in 1934.

Healesville Shire Council. (1936, May 2). Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian (Vic. : 1900 - 1942), p. 3. Retrieved May 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60453763

Healesville Shire Council. (1936, May 2). Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian (Vic. : 1900 – 1942), p. 3. Retrieved May 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60453763

Herbert Edward RIPPON:  Died May 19, 1954 at Hamilton.  Herbert Rippon was the son of George Rippon, part owner of the Hamilton Spectator Herbert lived at Edradour, a house on Ballarat Road, Hamilton I must have passed a thousand times.  Photos of Edradour can be seen on a Hamilton real estate agency listing.  Herbert inherited ownership of the Hamilton Spectator in 1899.  The Victorian Heritage Database has a short bio on Herbert and he was one of the original backers of Sir Reginald Ansett, then a Hamilton resident.  He also was a director of John Thompson & Co department store of Hamilton.


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.


Trove Tuesday – A Whale of a Time

I stumbled across this little gem only because it shared a page with an article I believe is about the sister of my ggg grandmother Ellen Barry.  That article from The Argus of June 1, 1849,  mentions a Mary Walker, the married name of Mary Barry.  Why do I think it is about my Mary Walker?  Aside from the fact she was living in Melbourne then, the article is under the heading “Police Office” with Mary and another woman described as “two notorious termagants”.  My Mary Walker caused an immigration agent to lose his bounty on her, thanks to her disruptive behavior on the voyage from Ireland to Port Phillip.

As I rolled my eyes at possibly another discovery of a misdemeanor by one of the Barry girls, I noticed this little snippet two columns over.

Domestic Intelligence. (1849, June 1). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1 Supplement: Supplement to the Argus.. Retrieved September 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4765656

Great news for the whales! At last their winter home in the seas off the south-west of Victoria was safe to visit again.  Whaling was a huge industry at  both Portland and Port Fairy with Portland’s first whaling station established in 1833 and  Port Fairy’s  in 1835. By the 1840s, few whales existed and whaling was no longer considered commercially viable and the whaling stations closed.

As the article notes, by the end of the 1840s, whales where appearing again.  Today,their descendants visit the waters of Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland and have become a huge boost to tourism during the colder months.  Warrnambool particularly has benefited from  whale watching, however this year the main attractions have made only brief visits, preferring Port Fairy, with daily sightings close to shore of up to 13 whales.   Portland too has had whales and over the past few days a whale and her calf have been off the breakwater, oblivious to the slaughters over 170 years ago.


False Alarm

Reading the list of newspapers waiting to be released by the NLA’s  Trove,  I noticed the Port Fairy Gazette would not be far away.  Out of interest, I ran a search for “Port Fairy” and bingo many “coming soon” articles came up.  As my Harman and Bishop families lived in Port Fairy at various times, I went straight for a search on “Harman”.  Eleven matches came up with nine  relevant to my Harmans.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw one of the article previews:

Mr James Harman, Byaduk, aged 85, died last week. He landed in Port Fairy in 1853 and…..

It looked like it could be my ggg grandfathers obituary.  I search for his obituary every time Trove releases a new paper.  To date all I have found is the following snippet from The Argus:

COUNTRY NEWS. (1916, August 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 8. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1630566

Brothers Walt, George and Jonathan all had lengthy obituaries why not my ggg grandfather.  Even the shadow dweller, brother Alfred had a Family Notice when he died!.  It did seem that my only chance was to search the microfilmed Hamilton Spectators at the Hamilton History Centre .  The hard part about that is getting to Hamilton.

Trove’s release of the Port Fairy Gazette (1914-1918) happened today and yes, the much-anticipated article was available.  I clicked on the link.  This is it, I thought.  What did I find?

Personal. (1916, August 24). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88010281

Twelve more words than the preview.  Only 12 words.  How can I expect any more in The Hamilton Spectator?  How I can ever expect to find any mention of the death of my ggg grandmother Susan Read, wife of James, who died in the same year?

On the bright side I found a couple of good Bishop related articles and a nice article about my gg uncle Charles James Harman prior to his departure for Egypt during WW1. So far, only 1916 is available but  based on the results so far, I think I’m bound to find more when the other years become available.

It was a big day for Trove today with 13Victorian titles released and another Western District paper,  the Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser (1914-1918) was among them.

Also of interest to me are the Flemington Spectator (1914-1918) and the Wangaratta Chronicle (1914-1918)Sarah Harman and her husband George Adams lived in Flemington and so far I have found plenty of “Adams” matches in the Spectator but none for Sarah or George yet.  Herbert George Harman, nephew of James Harman was a reporter for the Wangaratta Chronicle for over 50 years and I have found matches for both him and his father George, mostly to do with their Masonic activities.


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