Tag Archives: Robertson

Passing of the Pioneers

A small but interesting band of pioneers join the August Passing of the Pioneers.

Stephen Rowan ROBERTSON – Died August 19 1900 at Portland.  Stephen Rowan Robertson was a she not a he, a sister of John G. Robertson, owner of Wando Vale station.  Stephen arrived in Victoria in 1842 around the age of 34 and in 1846 she married William Corney who took up the lease of Wando Vale.  After some time back in England, William and Stephen made their home at South Portland.  One of the stained glass windows at St Stephen’s Church , Portland was dedicated to William Corney (below) by his son Robert.

WILLIAM CORNEY (1872).  Photographer Thomas Foster Chuck.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H5056/211 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17942

WILLIAM CORNEY (1872). Photographer Thomas Foster Chuck. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H5056/211 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/17942

Peter MacKINNON - Died August 5, 1902 at Hamilton.  Peter MacKinnon was born in Sterlingshire, Scotland around 1825 and arrived in Victoria around 1852.   His first job in the colony was at Coleraine as a bookkeeper and then later at Hamilton as a bookkeeper for the timber yard of Mr Collins in Gray Street.  He then worked for many years at the Hamilton Spectator as a machinist.  In his later years he returned to bookkeeping with the Collins timber yard.

Thomas REES – Died August 7 at Hamilton.   This one of the first obituaries I have posted from the Hamilton Spectator and it has one of the best openings to an obituary (only a genealogist could/would say that).  The reference to the early colonist encapsulates the spirit of the monthly Passing of the Pioneer posts.

THE PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1918, August 15). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved August 30, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119505339

THE PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1918, August 15). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved August 30, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119505339

Basil McConochie LYON - Died August 7, 1916 at Coleraine.   Basil Lyon was born in Glasgow, Scotland around 1850.  When he arrived in Victoria he went to the Konongwootong Creek Estate the property of his maternal uncle. John McConochie.  He later took up land with his brother at Balmoral.  Basil was  a member of the Kowree Shire Council for several years and was also a Justice of the Peace.  He was a founding member of the Coleraine branch of the Australian People’s Party.

Arthur BALLMENT – Died August 26, 1916 at Perth, Western Australia.  Arthur Ballment was from Plymouth, England where his father Hugh was a well known shipbuilder and merchant  Arthur left England in 1865 aboard the “Roxburgh Castle” to Melbourne aged 21. He gave New Zealand a try before returning to Victoria and Ararat where he ran a tannery business.  He had a strong interest in politics, at a local level while in Ararat and upon retirement to Western Australia, 13 years before his death, he followed both Australian and British politics.  Arthur was described as a “typical Englishman”.  One of Arthur’s sisters married British political cartoonist, Sir Francis Carruthers Gould, while his daughter  Marion was a Western Australian based artist of some note.

William ROBERTSON - Died August 6, 1918 at East Melbourne.   William Robertson, a son of Duncan Robertson and Ann Fraser,  was born in New South Wales in 1839 and went to the Western District with his family aged four.  Duncan took up “Straun”   He later moved to “Gringegalgona”  where William remained, unmarried, for the rest of his life.  William was keen on horse racing and over a forty year period his horses won the Casterton Cup on two occasions, the Warrnambool Cup and the Great Western Steeple.  His trainer was James Agnew, also a Passing Pioneer this month (below).

Bridget HASSETT - Died August 14, 1919 at Dundindin, Western Australia

Obituary. (1919, September 9). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73052506

Obituary. (1919, September 9). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73052506

Bridget Hassett and Patrick Mullan raised a family of 13 children, five of whom were still living at the time of her death, as was Patrick then aged 90.

Letitia BEST – Died August 7, 1941 at Melbourne.  Born around 1848 in County Caven, Ireland, Letitia Best arrived at Portland in 1856 aboard the “General Hewitt” with her parents William and Letitia Best and six siblings (NB: the date of arrival in Letita’s obituary is 1853).  The family settled at Heywood where Letitia later married Donald Rankin.  Donald and Letitia spent some years at Harrow before moving to Western Australia for 30 years.  When Donald passed away, Letitia returned to Victoria.

James AGNEW – Died August 10, 1942 at Hamilton.  James Agnew was born at Cowie’s Creek near Geelong around 1857 and as a boy moved with his parents to the Wimmera.  In his  teen years, James moved to the NSW Riverina working at Yanco Station  where his career with horses began.  A meeting with the trainer of Carbine, Walter Hickenbotham spurred him on to become a racehorse trainer.

James eventually settled in Hamilton as a trainer and took on horses for owners such as George Robertson (above) and John Kirby.  The racing career of Kirby’s horse The Parisian was all but over when he arrived with Agnew with the horse failing over short distances .  James saw the staying potential in the horse and trained him accordingly.  As a result he won the Warrnambool and Hamilton Cups.  Kirby then too saw The Parisian’s potential to win a Melbourne Cup and moved the horse to a Melbourne trainer, thus robbing James Agnew of a chance to win a Melbourne Cup, as The Parisian saluted in 1911.  If it wasn’t for James Agnew, James Kirby is unlikely to have held the Melbourne Cup in 1911.

Charles BRADSHAW – Died August 13, 1944 at Portland.  Charles Bradshaw lived his entire 89 years at Portland, the son of William Bradshaw, operator of a wool washing business.  Charles worked in several industries including bone crushing, tomato growing and like his father, wool washing.  He married local girl Eileen Robins and they raised two sons and two daughters.


Passing of the Pioneers

March Passing of the Pioneers  once again gathers together a diverse group of Western District pioneers.  They include a winemaker and a lighthouse keeper.  There are links to some well-known Western District properties and families, and a Portland resident that grew up with an English author.

Eliza Mary KEARTON:  Died March, 1891 at Creswick.  Eliza Kearton was a long-time resident of Portland.  She had gone to Creswick for an operation, but  died of complications.  She was born in London in 1820 and married William Tulloh in 1844 in Tasmania.  William’s obituary appeared in Passing of the Pioneers in July 2011 and includes a lot of detail about their lives in Portland.

James ROBERTSON:  Died March, 1892 at Portland.  James Robertson was born in Alvie, Scotland.  Once in Portland, he set up the Iron Store business with his older brothers John and William Robertson.

Anne WILCOX:  Died March 12, 1894 at Portland.  Anne and her husband Thomas Must were well-known residents of Portland.  Anne was from Sydney and married Thomas a Sydney mechant in 1842  before they travelled to Portland to set up a branch of Thomas’ business, Must and Flower.  A few years after his arrival in Portland,  he had an architect design a home resulting in “Prospect“, built in 1855. The couple lived there for the rest of their lives.  In 1908 at St Stephens Church, unveliled a stained glass window in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Must.




Ann PAXFORD:  Died March 1900 at Portland.  Ann Paxford was the daughter of Jonathan Paxford and Ann Bray and was born around 1818.  She married Edward Francis Hughes and they arrived in Victoria in 1853 and Portland in 1854.

Ann had an interesting life while a child in England.  She spent time with a young Marion Evans better known as George Elliott, writer.  Looking further into the story, which appears correct, proved intriguing.  Ann, through her mother, Ann Bray was related to Charles Bray a ribbon manufacturer and a leader of the “intellectual elite”.(Oxford Dictornary of National Biography)  He described his house, Rosehill, as “a mecca for radicals and intellectuals” (The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference).  Marion Evans lived at Rosehill and that is where Ann would have come to know her.

Janet McCRACKEN:  Died March 1911 at Stawell.  Born in Scotland around 1840, Janet McCracken arrived in Melbourne with her parents in the early 1850s.  After a few years they moved to Stawell and Janet married James Mathers.   The couple lived in Stawell for the rest of their lives and had four sons and three daughters.

Daniel TYERS:  Died March 15, 1915 at Byaduk.  After arriving in Victoria around 1856, Daniel Tyers lived at Port Fairy.  He later moved to Byaduk where he remained until his death at the age of 95.  He was buried at the Byaduk Cemetery along with his brother Samuel and sister Jane.

John MOONEY:  Died March 29, 1915 at Mooney’s Gap.  In 1854, John Mooney from Ireland, travelled to Australia aboard the “Great Britain“.  His brother Lawrence had arrived the year before, so John joined him on the Ararat diggings.  In 1858,  the brothers planted grape vines at Mooney’s Gap near Ararat and started the “Emerald Vineyard“.  In the same year, just down the road, Jean-Pierre Trouette, his wife Ann-Marie and brother-in-law Emile Blampied, were the first to plant vines at Great Western.  While Troutte’s winery “St. Peters” no longer exists, other wineries from the early days, Best’s and Seppelts are still in production there.

OBITUARY. (1915, March 30). The Ararat advertiser (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2 Edition: triweekly. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74241893

OBITUARY. (1915, March 30). The Ararat advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: triweekly. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74241893

In 1925, Lawrence Mooney uprooted the vines at “Emerald Vineyard” and used the land for other purposes.

Elizabeth Robertson MURDOCH:  Died March 7, 1916 at Port Fairy.  I did a little extra research at Ancestry.com.au on Mrs Whiting because I wanted to find her name, in preference  to listing  her as Mrs Albert Edwin Whiting.  Elizabeth grew up around the Geelong area and married Albert Whiting in 1878.  Albert was a son of Edwin Whiting and Hannah Manifold.   Hannah’s brothers were Thomas, Peter and William Manifold, original owners of the “Purrumbete run.

At the time of marriage, John was station manager for the Chirnsides property “Boortkoi” .  Their wedding was at  “Woolongoon” ,Mortlake then owned by Anthony McKenzie.  Elizabeth and Albert moved to Port Fairy and lived at Boodcarra before moving to “Loongana” for several years before Elizabeth’s passing.

Family Notices. (1878, May 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5931295

Family Notices. (1878, May 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 1. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5931295

William HILL:  Died March 14, 1916 at Warrnambool.  Born in Ireland, William Hill spent the first 20 years of his time in Victoria working for Henry de Little, owner of Caramut station.  He then began farming himself, first at Woodford and later at Framlingham where he had dairy cows for 17 years.  In the early 1860s, William married Mary Hassett of Caramut.

Mary FITZGERALD:  Died March 17, 1916 at Tower Hill.  Mary Fitzgerald lived in the Tower Hill district since she was 10 years old, around 1849.  She married John Fitzgibbon and she left two sons and eight daughters at the time of her death.  Her funeral was attended by a large crowd of mourners.

Mr J.J.T. COOPER:  Died March, 1918 at Port Fairy.  Mr Cooper was born in Somerset, England and arrived in Victoria with his parents as a baby.  He became an assistant life boat pilot in 1883 and became the Superintendent of Life boats at Queenscliff in 1892.  Around 1905 he moved on to lighthouse keeping, working at Queencliff, Port Fairy, Cape Nelson and Warrnambool.





Mrs Letitia EMERY:  Died March 13, 1918 at Port Fairy.  Letitia Emery was born in London in 1848 and arrived in Port Fairy four years later.  She lived with her aunt, Mrs Gillespie at the Union Inn at Port Fairy.  Letitia’s husband died eight years before her and she left no children.  She had two cousins surviving and two nieces.

Margaret WHITE:  Died March 4, 1925 at South Portland.  Margaret White spent most of her life living in the Narrawong and Portland districts, an estimated 82 years.  She married James Grant in 1870.  She left two sons and three daughters.  Margaret’s obituary mentions the hardships faced by the early settlers.

Old Resident Passes. (1925, March 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64106818

Old Resident Passes. (1925, March 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64106818


Florence EDSALL:  Died March 22, 1944 at Geelong.  Florence Edsall was born at Warrenheip near Ballarat around 1858.  She married W.J. Silvester and they lived in Cobden during their working lives, before retiring to Geelong.  Florence’s husband was a Councillor with the Heytesbury Shire and was the first child of European descent born at Cobden,

Passing of the Pioneers

Once again an interesting band of Western Victorian pioneers were found in newspaper obituaries from February.  There is a tightrope walker, philanthropist, a motor car pioneer and several hardy pioneer women.  It continues to amaze me the lives the pioneers lived.  I mean, who could imagine a tightrope walker living in Portland in the 19th century, in fact at anytime!

Thomas STODDART –  Died February 20, 1905,  Ballarat.  When next in Ballarat admiring the many statues in Sturt Street and the Botanical Gardens, thank Thomas Stoddart.   He was responsible for getting the ball rolling for leading Ballarat identities to give statues or money towards statues, to the city.  From digger to stock broker, Stoddart donated 12 statues to the city of  Ballarat in 1884 after a trip to Europe.  This act of philanthropy saw some of Ballarat’s other wealthy citizens  bequeath money to fund more statues.  In fact,  John Permewan who featured in December Passing of the Pioneers donated the well know “Hebe” which stands in Sturt Street.   As well as the obituary from the “Horsham Times” a lengthier obituary appeared in The Argus on February 21.



John COFFEY   –  Died February 9, 1908, Melbourne.  John Coffey was born in Limerick, Ireland and came to Australia with his brother in the 1860s.    He first went to the Wimmera while carting between Melbourne and the Wimmera. Making a permanent home there, he worked as a farmer and a hotel keeper .  He left a wife, Catherine Almond, five daughters and three sons.

Thomas HENNESSY  - Died February 19, 1908, Horsham.  Thomas Hennessy arrived in Victoria in 1859 aboard the “Royal Charter” from Limerick, Ireland.  He began farming around Koroit, lost a leg, and moved to the Pimpinio district where he farmed for many years.  An accident prior to his death, contributed to his demise.

James DAVIDSON  – Died February 12, 1913, Narrawong.  James Davidson, born at Narrawong, was described as a “good all-round citizen” in his obituary.  He was involved in the mounted rifles and athletics.

Mrs Thomas LANG – Died February 14, 1914, Hawthorn, Victoria.  Born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1920 she arrived on the “Star of the East” in 1855.  Her husband Thomas was a well-known horticulturist in the late 19th century.   Mrs Lang was a principal of a girls’ school for a time.

Mrs Mary Ann LINDON – Died February 15, 1915, Willaura, Victoria.  Born in Buckinghamshire, England, she came to Victoria in her 20s during  the 1850s.  She worked at Golf Hill Station at Shelford for George Russell, before moving to Sandford where she married William Lindon.  Mary Ann lived at Willaura with her daughter for the last 10 years of her life.

Edward Harewood  LASCELLES –  Died February 12, 1917, Geelong.  Lascelles is a well-known name in WesternVictoria.  Not only does his name form part of the Geelong wool broking firm Denneys Lascelles & Co, the town of Lascelles  in the Mallee was named after him.  Edward Lascelles was born in Tasmania in 1847, married Ethel Denney and they had six children.  He was a leader in vermin extermination on his property in the Mallee and was the first to introduce share farming in Victoria.

Mrs John WHITEHEAD  – Died February, 1918, Dandenong, Victoria.  Mrs Whitehead arrived in Victoria with her widowed mother in 1863.  The following year she married journalist, Mr Dudeney, who had gone to Ballarat to report on the Eureka Stockade riots.  Only after a few years of marriage, Mr Dudeney passed away and she married John Whitehead a worker at the Ballarat Post Office and later the GPO in Melbourne

Mrs Martha PHILLIPS  – Died February 14, 1918, Buninyong.  Martha Phillips was a colonist of 64 years, arriving in Victoria to join her husband on the goldfields of Ballarat.  Mrs Phillips enjoyed telling stories of the goldrush days.

OBITUARY. (1918, February 18). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75176846

Mrs Robert CLARKE  – Died February 18, 1920, Bondi, N.S.W.  Mrs Clarke, her husband Robert and four children sailed for Australia in 1857.  One child, Agnes died during the journey.  At the time of their arrival the train line to Horsham was under construction, so the family took a coach to Stawell, then bullock wagon to Horsham.  She was one of the many pioneer women who coped under tough conditions.

Obituary. (1920, February 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73190179

William HANLON  – Died February 19, 1923,  Portland.  William Hanlon was the mayor of Portland 11 times.  His interests within the municipality included President of the Portland Free Library.

William ROBERTSON  – Died February 2, 1924, Portland.  A colonist of 77 years, William Robertson arrived in Portland as a five-year old with his parents.  He had travelled to New Guinea and Western Australia as well one time riding in the Great Western Steeplechase at Coleraine.

Charles Francis PATTERSON  – Died February 17, 1933, Portland.  Charles was born in Portland in 1857 and spent some time in Western Australia on the railways.  It was there he met his future wife and after marriage, they returned to Portland to raise 10 children.  Charles was a popular figure around the town and he worked in the fish distribution business.

Alfred Irvine HOGAN  – Died February 8, 1934, Portland.  From tightrope walker to sawmiller, Alfred Hogan was an interesting chap.  Arriving in Portland as a young man, he gained notoriety as a tightrope walker performing daredevil tricks in the mould of “Blondin” the French tightrope walker.  Age must have caught up with his tightrope walking feats and he turned to sawmilling, with his obituary crediting him as a pioneer of sawmilling in the Portland district, an industry which became one of the biggest in the area.  Alfred also had a keen interest in Australian Rules football and was one of the people behind the development of Hanlon Park, which is still home to the Portland Football Club today.

Mary Jane SPIKEN  – Died February, 1934, Warrnambool.  Mary Jane Spiken’s mother Anna Harland arrived in Victoria with members of the Henty family.   Anna married John George Spiken with Mary Jane born around 1861 at the Henty homestead.  Mary Jane married William Jenkins and they had seven children.  She was a wealth of knowledge on the early days of Portland.

Fanny Ann MALSEED  – Died February 13, 1936, Myamyn.  Fanny Ann was the daughter of James and Eliza Malseed of Mount Richmond.  She married Thomas Edmund Adamson around 1886 and they raised eight children.

Richard YOUNG – Died February 16, 1939, Horsham.  Richard was born at Clunes and moved to Horsham with his parents as a 10-year-old.  He married Isabella Anderson and they raised a large family.  Richard was a keen footballer and  played for United Traders football club.  He was a founding member of the Horsham Football Club and was an active member of the local fire brigade.

Walter Birmingham EDGAR  – Died February 22, 1939, Portland.  Walter Edgar was born at Pine Hills Station at Harrow in 1856.  Educated at Hamilton College, he achieved the double honor of dux of the college and athletic champion.  Despite studying civil engineering  at Melbourne University, he returned to Pine Hills to take up agriculture pursuits.  In 1882 he married Jessie Swan of Konongwootong.  In the years before his death, Walter toured England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden with his daughter.  In his younger days, Walter was something of a cricketer and golfer.  He and his father played some part in the Aboriginal cricket team touring England in 1867.  The team included Johnny Mullagh who Walter often played cricket with.

Obituary. (1939, February 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64391911

Ann NIVEN  – Died February 24, 1942, Coleraine.  Ann Niven’s came to Australia at five, but without her parents.  They arrived at a later date, but until then Ann was under the guardianship of Mr and Mrs Christorphen.  They lived where Balmoral now stands, but then it was only bush.  She married William Bird, living at Wombelano and then for the last 32 years of her life, at Coleraine.  Mrs Bird was the mother of 11 children.

Mr Patrick HENRY – Died February 1942, Terang.  Patrick Henry, with his parents, settled in the Woodford area upon their arrival in Australia in 1866.  He began driving bullock wagons as a teenager and worked in that occupation until he was 86.  When he finally retired, it was thought he was the oldest bullock wagon driver in the Western District.

Thomas Turner SHAW –  Died February 1, 1949, Beaumaris, Victoria.  Thomas Shaw was a not only a pioneer of fine merino wool production but also motoring in Victoria.  He drove one of the first steam cars and was also a founding member of the Royal Auto Club (RACV).


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