Category Archives: Pioneer Obituaries

Passing of the Pioneers

Writing Passing of the Pioneers is becoming a longer process each month as I get drawn into the stories.  I think it all began when I started searching for photos to compliment the obituaries, making the posts more visually appealing.  That sometimes takes some extra searching and other information arises that is just too good to let pass.

For the January Passing Pioneers, there is Sarah McDonald one of those pioneering women I read about and think “Wow.”  Also another member of the Laidlaw family, a Hamilton publican and a man who had the unenviable task of being called as a witness in a Casterton murder case.

David Wemyss GALLIE – Died January 12, 1868 at Portland.  From the first reading of his obituary, David Gallie was simply the long-time bank manager of The Bank of Australasia in Portland. But digging up a bit more about him  unearthed some interesting family links.

From the Australian Death Index at Ancestry I discovered David was the son of Hugh and Robina Gallie and was born around 1813.  The earliest record I could find of him in Australia was again at Ancestry and the  New South Wales, Australia, Returns of the Colony, 1822-1857.  David was working as a clerk in the Surveyor General’s office.

In 1840, David’s sister, Anna Maria married Edward Henty of Portland at St James Church in Melbourne.

"Family Notices." The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880) 14 Nov 1840: 2. Web. 27 Jan 2015 .

“Family Notices.” The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880) 14 Nov 1840: 2. Web. 27 Jan 2015 .

David Wemyss Gallie himself married in 1842 to Elizabeth Francis Gordon in Launceston.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Captain Donald McArthur.

Family Notices. (1842, June 9). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 - 1846), p. 3. Retrieved January 27, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article84771074

Family Notices. (1842, June 9). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 3. Retrieved January 27, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article84771074

Just for interests sake, I Googled the said Captain and found a great site called the Telford Family of Ellinbank.  The site includes the McArthur family and from there I discovered Elizabeth’s mother. Elizabeth Wemyss.   That name was familiar.  Of course, Wemyss was David Gallie’s middle name.  What?  Yes, David was related to his new bride.  In fact, David and Elizabeth were cousins with their mothers Elizabeth and Robina sisters.

At some point, David began working for the Bank of Australasia and in 1846, he and Elizabeth travelled to Portland on the Minverva accompanied by David’s brother-in-law Edward Henty.  This was possibly the time David took up his position as the manager of Portland’s Bank of Australasia.

 

"Shipping Intelligence." Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857) 2 Jun 1846: 2. Web. 27 Jan 2015 .

“Shipping Intelligence.” Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) 2 Jun 1846: 2. Web. 27 Jan 2015 .

The Minerva was owned by the Henty Brothers and Captain Fawthrop her master.  The Henty’s used the schooner to transport goods and sheep between the two colonies.

"Advertising." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 24 Sep 1842: 1. Web. 5 Feb 2015 .

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 24 Sep 1842: 1. Web. 5 Feb 2015 .

The funeral of David Gallie was well attended with “most of the principal gentlemen of the town and district” there to pay their respects.  They included brother-in-law Edward Henty and his brother Stephen Henty.

"Family Notices." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 30 Jan 1868: 6 Edition: EVENINGS. Web. 24 Jan 2015 .

“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 30 Jan 1868: 6 Edition: EVENINGS. Web. 24 Jan 2015 .

 

William FOSTER – Died January 12, 1896 at Branxholme.  William Foster was not as old as the usual pioneers listed here, but his sudden death at 33 years of age made headlines around the country.  On Sunday January 12, 1896 William, a carpenter by trade, attended his local Church of England along with his wife and elderly parents.  During a hymn, William appeared to have fainted, but upon removing him from the church he died.

George BAXTER – Died January 8, 1900 at Hamilton.  George Baxter has links to two different branches of my family tree.  The first was his role as a witness in the murder of the Hunts of Casterton in 1860.  My ggg grandmother Mrs Margaret Diwell was also a witness in the trial.  George’s second link was via the Holmes family.  His daughter, Elizabeth Jane married William Tyers  Holmes a brother of George Holmes, husband of my ggg aunt Julia Harman.  Julia and Elizabeth both signed the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Petition at Casterton in 1891.   For more information on George’s and his family, see the SW Pioneers site.

Adam TURNBULL – Died January 1905 at Coleraine.  Adam Turnbull’s parents, Dr Adam Turnbull and Margaret Young travelled to Tasmania from Scotland in 1825 and Adam junior was born around 1827.   In 1845, Adam’s father sent him to Victoria to oversee the purchase of the Mt Koroite and Dundas runs.  Who accompanied him on that trip varies between the article below and Adam’s obituary but it was either William Young, Adam’s uncle or another member of the Young family, George.

"PASTORAL PIONEERS." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 17 Aug 1935: 4. Web. 25 Jan 2015 .

“PASTORAL PIONEERS.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 17 Aug 1935: 4. Web. 25 Jan 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141761090&gt;.

The company of Turnbull and Son’s also purchased the Winninburn run where Adam died in 1905.  During his time in the district, Adam Turnbull jnr. was the first president of the Shire of Wannon and was on the first committee of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Coleraine.  His grandson, Sir Winton George Turnbull of the Country Party, was a member of the House of Representatives as the Federal member for the Wimmera.

Edward WHITE – Died January 20, 1910 at Coleraine.  Edward was born around 1837 and arrived in South Australia from Ireland around 1851.  In the early 1860s, he moved to Victoria when the family took up the Den Hills run near Coleraine.  Edward served on the roads board and was a worthy athlete during his younger years.  His wife predeceased him and they had one son.  There is more information about the White family on the SW Pioneers site.

Thomas LAIDLAW – Died January 12, 1915 at  Macarthur.  Thomas Laidlaw was born in Scotland in 1833 and arrived with his brother Robert to Victoria around 1851.  He headed to Newlands Station near Harrow to work with his brother Walter Laidlaw,  a Passing of the Pioneers subject last month.  A description of Thomas’ arrival was in his obituary and that of this son Thomas Haliburton Laidlaw, a Passing Pioneer in September 2011.

"THE LATE MR. T. H. LAIDLAW." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 25 Sep 1941: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 5 Feb 2015 .

“THE LATE MR. T. H. LAIDLAW.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 25 Sep 1941: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 5 Feb 2015 .

In 1857, Thomas married Grace McLeod of Wallan however Grace passed away in 1864 but not before five sons were born, including Thomas Haliburton.  In 1868, Thomas married Christina Linton and they had a son and a daughter.   Thomas moved to South Australia to farm with his brother Robert before moving to Dunkeld and then Glenburnie at Macarthur. He then purchased South Wonwondah south of Horsham, living there for eighteen years before moving closer to Hamilton, residing at Glencairn.

Daniel Michael SCULLION – Died January 27, 1915 at Hamilton. Daniel Scullion was born at Garvoc in 1868 to John Scullion and Janet McKeller.  He appears to have ventured into the hotel business in his hometown as licensee of the Yallock Inn which he still owned at the time of his death.  By then, Daniel had been in Hamilton around ten years, first operating the Hamilton Inn and then the Caledonian Hotel that still exists today.  In 1909, Daniel moved to Horsham and took on the license of the Wimmera Hotel.  Within a couple of years, he had returned to Hamilton, resuming as licensee at the Caledonian Hotel.

In 1914, Daniel’s sister, Lilias Scullion, a nursing sister, purchased one of Hamilton’s most well-known buildings, St. Ronans,  just up the hill from the Caledonian Hotel and previously owned by former Mayor David Laidlaw.  Interestingly, the Victorian Heritage Database entry on St Ronans, a report prepared by the Southern Grampians Shire, does not list Sr. Scullion as a former owner.  There is an interesting article about the opening of the Sr. Scullion’s hospital, and the work that was to make that possible, on the following link –  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119870490

"HAMILTON." The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) 2 May 1903: 27. Web. 25 Jan 2015 .

“HAMILTON.” The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946) 2 May 1903: 27. Web. 25 Jan 2015 .

Daniel was a keen supporter of sport in Hamilton particularly the North Hamilton Football Club and donated many trophies to the club.

Mrs Margaret PRIOR – Died January 1918 at Port Fairy. A colonist of 58 years, Margaret Prior arrived in Melbourne with her husband James Prior in 1859 aboard the Sarah Dixon.  Originally from Tipperary, Ireland, the Priors moved to Port Fairy the following year and remained there until their deaths.  James died around 1911 and when she died, Margaret had two sons and three daughters remaining.  Margaret was buried at the Port Fairy cemetery.

John COGHLAN – Died January 8, 1918 at Garvoc.  John Coghlan was an early native of the Colony of Victoria, born at Eastern Hill, Melbourne around 1841.   His father, William Coghlan was a landholder in Melbourne but sold his properties and moved to the Western District, taking up land at Port Fairy.  The family next moved to Warrnambool, living at a property on the Merri River, and John’s father continued to farm.  After his marriage to Miss Patton, John and his wife moved to Cooramook near Grassmere and then later on to Garvoc around 1878, purchasing the property Pine Hills  where he engaged in dairy farming,   According to the obituary, John did not live as long as his parents.  His father William lived to 97 while his mother apparently lived to 107.  John was buried at the Terang Cemetery.

"BREVITIES." Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 - 1915) 5 Nov 1907: 4. Web. 15 Feb 2015 .

“BREVITIES.” Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915) 5 Nov 1907: .

 

John PETTINGILL – Died January 23, 1923 at Yambuk.  John Pettingill was born in Suffolk, England around 1843.  When he was nine, he travelled with his parents to Portland aboard the Eliza.  John’s father first worked at Castlemaddie Station at Narrawong owned by Andrew Suter.  Mr Suter moved to Yambuk Station and the Pettingill family went along.   When nearby St. Helens was surveyed around 1863, John and his father purchased 200 acres.  John remained on that farm for the rest of  his life.  Around 1870, John married a Port Fairy girl, Miss Bowyer who was still living at the time of John’s death along with five sons and four daughters.

James YOUNG – Died January 6, 1925 at Hamilton.  James Young was born around 1851 in Scotland and arrived in Victoria as an infant.  The Young family settled in Ballarat and James attended school there before farming at Tatyoon, west of Ballarat.   He then joined his brothers in the Wimmera to work with them in their stock and station business.  When a branch opened in Hamilton in 1888, James moved south to manage affairs.  A successful businessman, James soon built up the trade, also moving into public office as a town councillor for a several years.  In 1909, he served as Mayor and laid the foundation stone for Hamilton’s new Town Hall in Brown Street (below).  Unfortunately, the front section of the Town Hall was demolished in the 1960s and a “modern” façade added.

HAMILTON'S SECOND TOWN HALL - Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H32492/2740 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63929

HAMILTON’S SECOND TOWN HALL – Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/2740 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63929

 

James Young passed away at his home Ivanhoe in Chaucer Street, Hamilton.

pp

IVANHOE, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of Google Maps http://tinyurl.com/ot44noa

 

 

Sarah McDONALD – Died January 25, 1941 at Hamilton.  Born about 1855 in Inverness, Scotland,  Sarah McDonald was a true pioneering woman.  She travelled to Tasmania as a child in 1857 with her family aboard the Persia.  Unfortunately, her father and brother died during the voyage but after a short break in Tasmania, the family continued on to Portland.  Around 1877, while still a single woman, Sarah rode from Branxholme to Horsham, with an overnight stop, to buy 320 acres at Scotchman’s Creek (Telangatuk) at the land sales.  It was in that district Sarah met Lachlan Cameron and they  married in 1876.  Lachlan passed away in 1901 and Sarah stayed on the farm for a further twelve years before moving to Hamilton.


Passing of the Pioneers

The last Passing of the Pioneers for 2014 includes some characters from the early days of Portland, a wealthy grazier and a Swiss born gold-seeker who settled at Heywood.

William CHARTER – Died December 1888 at Portland. “The relentless reaper death has sought another addition to his uninterrupted harvest from amongst the ranks of our oldest residents.” And so began the obituary of William Charter, a Portland resident from the 1850s and one time Portland police sergeant .  He did have some time away from Portland when he operated the Rising Sun Hotel at Hotspur.

 

pp

"[No heading]." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 20 Jun 1864: 3 Edition: EVENING. Web. 26 Dec 2014 .

“[No heading].” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 20 Jun 1864: 3 Edition: EVENING. Web. 26 Dec 2014 .

William returned to Portland and operated a cordial and soda water factory.

 

"Advertising." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 8 Jun 1880: 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Web. 26 Dec 2014 .

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 8 Jun 1880: 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Web. 26 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63401172&gt;.

 

Walter LAIDLAW – Died December 1906 at Apsley.  Walter Laidlaw was born in Scotland around 1825.  He arrived in Victoria in 1850 and with the discovery of gold, he tried his luck on the Bendigo diggings.  He then farmed at Broadmeadows before moving to the Western District, farming on the land that became known as Skene at Strathkellar.  He was then appointed overseer of Newland Station at Apsley for James Gordon and in time, married his employer’s sister .  At the time of his death he owned Ardachy Estate and Melville Forest Estate.

 

"OBITUARY." The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954) 29 Dec 1905: 3. Web. 30 Dec 2014 .

“OBITUARY.” The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954) 29 Dec 1905: 3. Web. 30 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72819119&gt;.

 

Around the time of his marriage, Walter purchased Mundarra (below) near Edenhope.

 

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H95.200/1068    http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

MUNDARRA Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H95.200/1068 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230342

 

He was buried at the Newland Station Cemetery with other members of his family.

Theobald FETHERSTONHAUGH – Died December 1909 at Hamilton.  Theobald Fetherstonhaugh was the son of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh snr. an early police magistrate at Hamilton and brother of Cuthbert jnr., the author of “After Many Days” which I have previously posted about.   Cuthbert snr. resided at Corragh at Strathkellar and Theobald continued to live there after his father’s death.  Unlike his brother Cuthbert, Theobald seems to have lived a quiet life at Corragh.  While Cuthbert mentions “my brother” many times throughout “After Many Days”, he does not name Theobald as he does his other brother Robert.  Theobald was buried at the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

Mary RYAN – Died December 11, 1914 at Hamilton.  When Mary Ryan passed away in 1914, the names of her parents were not recorded and it’s unlikely she left anyone behind to pass that information on or even to remember her, so let us remember Mary Ryan of Hamilton.

Mary Ryan ran a registry office for servants in Hamilton for many years, first in Gray Street and later in Brown Street.

"Advertising." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 17 Apr 1883: 3 Edition: MORNING. Web. 17 Dec 2014 .

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 17 Apr 1883: 3 Edition: MORNING. Web. 17 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71585092&gt;.

 

Determined to stay independent in old age despite becoming very decrepit, she remained in her home.  Early in the year of her passing, Mary had a fire in her house, the third time she had endured a house fire, herself suffering burns on one occasion.  She wasn’t injured in the 1914 fire but it may have taken some toll as she passed away eight months later.

 

pp

"FIRE IN BROWN STREET." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 20 Feb 1914: 4. Web. 30 Dec 2014 .

“FIRE IN BROWN STREET.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 20 Feb 1914: 4. Web. 30 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119823533&gt;.

 

After checking the headstones of the Old Hamilton Cemetery recorded by Cemeteries of the South-West, there was no record of Mary, so if she was buried there, her grave is without a headstone.

William Gordon JENKINS – Died December 28, 1916 at Hawkesdale.  William Jenkins was born in Scotland, a son of a Church of England clergyman.  On arrival in Victoria, he worked at flour mills around Hamilton, then went to New Zealand with a survey party.  He returned to Victoria and worked in the sawmilling industry.  In 1883 he married widow, Jane Walshe (nee Donnelly).  At the time Jane was operating the Forester Hotel at Myamyn.   After their marriage, William and Jane moved to Portland and operated the Victoria Hotel from 1884 until 1886. William had no family of his own but was living with his step-daughter at the time of his death.

Charles FARR – Died December 15, 1917 at Portland. Born in Wiltshire, England around 1833,  Charles Farr, an interesting character, was the proprietor of livery stables in Portland having arrived in the mid 1850s.

 

"Advertising." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 1 Jan 1875: 1 Edition: EVENING., Supplement: Supplement to the "Portland Guardian". Web. 24 Dec 2014 .

“Advertising.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 1 Jan 1875: 1 Edition: EVENING., Supplement: Supplement to the “Portland Guardian”. Web. 24 Dec 2014 .

 

Charles also ran cabs in Portland, taking parties from Mac’s Hotel to the railway station.

 

TABLE TALK. (1877, December 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 27, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63340211

TABLE TALK. (1877, December 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 27, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63340211

 

MAC'S HOTEL, PORTLAND

MAC’S HOTEL, PORTLAND

 

Although his obituary stated Charles Farr did not involve himself in public affairs, he was often in the public eye especially in the papers, whether advertising his stables or involved in some type of dispute.  His following “Letter to the Editor” was either damage control or cashing-in on another stable’s misfortune.  Charles’ letter was in response to an article in the Portland Guardian of June 10, 1880.

"Over - charging by a Portland Livery Stable Keeper." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 12 Jun 1880: 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Web. 27 Dec 2014 .

“Over – charging by a Portland Livery Stable Keeper.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 12 Jun 1880: 3 Edition: MORNINGS.. Web. 27 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63401212&gt;.

 

Serafino RIGHETTI – Died December 21, 1917 at Heywood.  I first “met” the Righettis of Heywood when I wrote the Trove Tuesday post “Accidental Tourist”.  I didn’t realise then that the family was one of the Swiss/Italian families that settled at Hepburn near Daylesford after arriving in Victoria during the 1850s.  Serafino was born in Switzerland and arrived in Melbourne in 1854.  His brother Battista arrived the following year.  A photo of Serafino and Battista appears on the following link - http://tinyurl.com/l4o5k5n

After time operating the American Hotel at Hepburn, Serafino moved to the Heywood district in the late 1870s establishing the merchant business Righetti & Co.  He was a shire councillor for 2o years and served as Shire President several times.

 

"Groups at Swinburne College, Glenferrie." Punch (Melbourne, Vic. : 1900 - 1918) 10 Jan 1918: 17. Web. 24 Dec 2014 .

“Groups at Swinburne College, Glenferrie.” Punch (Melbourne, Vic. : 1900 – 1918) 10 Jan 1918: 17. Web. 24 Dec 2014 .

 

An interview with Serafino’s grandson Alan Righetti, with details of the family’s early days, is on the following link –  http://www.3squadron.org.au/subpages/AAWRighetti.htm

Eliza Sarah SEABORNE – Died December 9, 1932 at Portland.  Eliza Seaborne was born in Adelaide in 1838 and arrived in Portland with her parent three years later.  In 1856 aged 18, Eliza married bootmaker James Mallett in the first wedding conducted at St. Stephen’s Church at Portland.  They settled at Merino around 1866 and James ran a bootmaking business in the town.  He died in 1901 and Eliza continued to live at Merino until around 1928 when she moved back to Portland to live with her daughter Mrs Martha Sutchbery.

In May 1931, Eliza celebrated her 93rd birthday and she spent the day with family and friends.

 

"Birthday Celebration." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 25 May 1931: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 30 Dec 2014 .

“Birthday Celebration.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 25 May 1931: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. 30 Dec 2014 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64295183&gt;.

Eliza was 94 years and seven months old when she passed away in 1932.  She left three daughter and three sons with four children having predeceased her.  Eliza was buried at the Merino Cemetery.   More information about the Mallett family is available on the South-West Pioneers site – http://www.swvic.org/merino/mallett.htm

 

 

 

 

 


Passing of the Pioneers

This November’s pioneers were an interesting bunch.  There were the sons of pastoralists, a deputy coroner and the daughter of a convict ship surgeon.  For me, it was mason Joseph Richards who caught my interest, arriving in a Hamilton in 1854 and pitching his tent on a block that is now part of the town’s CBD.  He later built the Hamilton Spectator offices.

Duncan ROBERTSON – Died November 1882 at Gringegalgona.  Duncan Robertson was born in Scotland in 1799.  He, his wife and three children travelled to Australia in 1838  first to N.S.W. and then Victoria.  They first settled at Satimer at Wando Vale before Duncan purchased Gringegalgona near Balmoral in 1856.   His brothers John and William took up land  at Wando Vale Station.  More information about Duncan and his family is available at South-west Pioneers.

Charles Henry Fiennes BADNALL – Died November 20, 1885 at Portland.  Charles Badnall was born in Staffordshire in around 1830s.  He arrived in Victoria during the 1850s and first went to the Portland district with a government survey party.  When that work finished he married Mrs Hannah McKeand  and they settled at Hannah’s hometown of Heywood  before moving to Portland.

"Family Notices." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 19 May 1864: 2 Edition: .

“Family Notices.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 19 May 1864: 2 Edition: .

Charles wrote for the Portland Guardian and was also a correspondent for the Hamilton Spectator.  He sang with the St. Stephens Church choir and was one of the founding members.  Across the weekend after Charles’ death, flags around Portland  flew at half-mast including on boats in the harbour, .   A biography of Charles is on the following link – Charles Badnall

St Stephens Church, Portland

Ann MERRICK – Died November 11, 1904 at Hamilton.  Ann Merrick was born in Somerset,  England around 1814 and married Edward Cornish in 1834.  In 1856 with a large family, they sailed to Australia, landing at Portland.  Edward’s first employment in Victoria was at Murndal Estate for Samuel Pratt Winter making bricks for the homestead which in years and several extensions later would look like this (below)

MURNDAL HOMESTEAD, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T.Collins collection,  Image no. H97.250/31 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230143

MURNDAL HOMESTEAD, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria J.T.Collins collection, Image no. H97.250/31 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230143

After Murndal, the family moved to nearby Hamilton and Edward made bricks for the Hamilton Hospital.  The hospital was officially opened in early 1864, the year that Edward passed away.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

HAMILTON HOSPITAL, Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

Ann lived on in Hamilton for a further 40 years and was buried with Edward at the Old Hamilton Cemetery

Patrick LAVERY – Died November 19, 1905 at Minimay.  Patrick Lavery was born in Ireland around 1821 and arrived in Victoria with his wife in 1856.  They settled in Heywood where Patrick worked as a blacksmith and farmer.  After 27 years, Patrick moved to Minimay to farm with his sons.  At his funeral, there were 40 buggies and 25 men on horseback behind the hearse as it travelled to the Minimay cemetery.

George Gilbert HOLLARD – November 26, 1912 at Wallacedale. George Hollard was born in Devon, England in 1817.  He arrived at Portland in 1849 aboard the ship Bristol Empire and obtained work with Edward Henty at Muntham Station before returning to Portland.  During his final years, George took up residence at Wallacedale with his son.  He had great memories of the old times including the Governor of Victoria turning the first sod for the Hamilton-Portland railway in 1876.

"THE GOVERNOR'S VISIT TO THE WESTERN DISTRICT." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 28 Apr 1876: .

“THE GOVERNOR’S VISIT TO THE WESTERN DISTRICT.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 28 Apr 1876: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7437893&gt;.

Mary OSBORNE – Died November 11, 1914 at Portland.  Born in Ireland in 1825, Mary Osborne arrived in Australia as a 10 year-old.  Her father Alick Osborne was a surgeon aboard convict ships and later became the member for Illawara, N.S.W.  In 1852 at Dapto, Mary married Lindsay Clarke of Portland and Mary travelled south to Victoria to settle at Portland with Lindsay.

 

"Family Notices." The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) 28 Sep 1852: 3. .

“Family Notices.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 28 Sep 1852: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12940304&gt;.

On the journey to Victoria, Mary and Lindsay sailed aboard the Lady Bird which was reported to have been a challenging voyage.  So much so, Mary and Lindsay disembarked at Port Fairy and continued the rest of their journey on horseback along the beaches between Port Fairy and Portland.  Mary remained in Portland for the duration of her life aside from six years spent in Hamilton.

Joseph RICHARDS – Died November 16, 1916 at Fitzroy.  Joseph Richards was born around 1830 in Cornwall and arrived aboard the Nestor to Portland in 1854,  with his wife Elizabeth and two young children.  After their arrival the Nestor was scuttled by the crew eager to get to the goldfields.  This account of the Nestor’s demise is from the obituary of Henry Barcham, first mate on the ship.

"[No heading]." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 19 Sep 1910: 2 Edition: .

“[No heading].” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 19 Sep 1910: 2 Edition: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6067446&gt;.

Joseph arrived in Hamilton, then The Grange,  in November 1854 when there were few residents.  Joseph pitched his tent on a piece of land at what is now the corner of Brown and French Street. From the clues given in his obituary I believe it was the corner below with the brick house.  A couple of years later he purchased a block in French Street, building a home and residing there until into his seventies.

Joseph was a mason and his first job in Hamilton was to slate the roof of the Victoria Hotel which opened in 1855.  He also won the contract to build the office of the Hamilton Spectator (below), constructed in 1873.

 

HAMILTON SPECTATOR

HAMILTON SPECTATOR

The last eight years of Joseph’s life were spent living with his son in Fitzroy.  He was 86 when he passed away and his body was returned to Hamilton by train.   Joseph was buried in the Old Hamilton Cemetery.

George TURNBULL – Died November 19, 1917 at Hamilton.  George Turnbull was born in 1858 at Mt. Koroit near Coleraine to Adam Turnbull and Margaret Young.  George’s father and grandfather Dr. Adam Turnbull snr were in partnership on the property Winninburn.   George tried working for the bank but it was not for him and he returned to Winninburn to farm.  He was involved with the St Andrews Church and Sunday School.

WINNINBURN.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria JT. Collins Collection.  Image no, H98.250/295 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232375

WINNINBURN. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria JT. Collins Collection. Image no, H98.250/295 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/232375

Frederick SPENCER – Died November 16, 1923 at Hamilton.  Frederick Spencer was born  in 1853 at Portland.  As an adult he took up residence at Dartmoor and was a Justice of the Peace.  In 1911, he was appointed Deputy Coroner for Dartmoor, a role that was long overdue according to the Portland Guardian’s Dartmoor correspondent.

"Dartmoor." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 22 May 1911: 3 Edition: EVENING. .

“Dartmoor.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 22 May 1911: 3 Edition: EVENING. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63980761&gt;.

 

Two obituaries for Frederick appeared in the Portland Guardian, the first on December 10, 1923 that stated he had lived to “be a little over the allotted span.”  Frederick was 70.   He was known for his dry-wit making him a popular chairman at functions.  Three of Frederick’s sons served at Gallipoli.  One lost his life while another had been hospitalised for three years because of the effects of gas.

John Samuel McDONALD – Died November 25, 1932 at Portland.  John McDonald was born in Scotland around 1837 and arrived in Victoria when he was seven aboard the Tamerlane.  His father had arrived at Portland several years before so John, travelling alone, was placed under the care of the ship’s captain.  John’s father went on to build Mac’s Hotel in Portland in 1855.

"DOMESTIC NEWS." Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876) 11 Jun 1855: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. .

“DOMESTIC NEWS.” Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876) 11 Jun 1855: 2 Edition: EVENING. Web. .

 

182

MAC’S HOTEL, PORTLAND

While his father was building a hotel, John was at the diggings in the hunt for gold.  After some years he settled at Strathdownie.  During the 1870s, he married Eliza McDonald of Horsham and the had a family of 10 children.

 


Passing of the Pioneers

Most of the pioneer obituaries found in the newspapers are for men which is unfortunate because we are always searching for more information about our female ancestors.  For the month of October the obituaries for pioneering women outnumber the men.  And great pioneers they were, making great contributions within their communities and all living to a very old age.  But none lived longer than Margaret Walker (nee Brown) of Hamilton.  Passing away in 1939, Margaret reached the age of 104 and remained healthy  almost to the end

Mark Nicholson – Died October 27, 1889 at Warrnambool.  Mark Nicholson was born in Gloucestershire in 1818 and arrived at Port Phillip in 1840.  Rather than practice his profession of law, Mark chose to run cattle at various stations across the colony.  In 1848,  Governor LaTrobe selected him to act as a Justice of the Peace at Warrnambool and in 1853 he was elected as the Warrnambool and Belfast (Port Fairy) representative in the Victorian Legislative Council.  In the following years, Mark spent time in England but returned to Warrnambool to settle in 1873.  A full biography of Mark Nicholson is available at the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

John BEST – Died October 9, 1907 at Portland.  John Best was born in Ireland in 1835 and arrived at Portland in 1857 aboard the General Hewitt.   He travelled with his parents William and Letitia Best and his six siblings.  The family settled at Heywood and John took up work as a carrier.  Later he built bridges and roads for the local Shire. He purchased a farm at nearby Mt. Clay and he remained there until his death.  He left a widow and seven children.

William SCOTT – Died October 7, 1909 at Wallan.  William Scott arrived in Victoria for the gold rushes and settled in Camperdown around 1860.  He took an active role in local politics, serving on the Hampden Shire Council.  He was also secretary of the Camperdown P&A Society.  There was barely an organisation around Camperdown that did not have William Scott on the committee.  His obituary read,

In him has passed one of the rugged pioneers who came magnificently equipped physically, and with the indomitable energy and capacity for sustained effort responsible for the remarkable development that has marked the brief history of this country.

Williams remains were returned from Wallan by train and he was buried at the Camperdown Cemetery.

Euphemia McLEOD – Died  October 3, 1914 at Purnim.  Euphemia McLeod was born in Scotland around 1826 and travelled to Australia on the Edward Johnston around 1854.  She eventually settled at Purnim with her husband George Crowe and she lived there for 50 years.  Euphemia left three daughters and a son.

Ann Rebecca EAGAR – Died October 12, 1917 at Hamilton.  Ann Eager was born in Devon, England around 1832 and sailed to Adelaide in the mid 1850s.  It was there she married George Rowe and they made their way to Victoria, settling at Wickliffe.  They remained there for around 30 years before taking up residence at Hamilton.

Only six months before her death, Ann and George had celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.  An article appeared in the Ballarat Star of April 14, 1917 reporting on the couple’s anniversary.  It  told of George’s work as a builder.  He worked on several notable buildings in the district including the Coleraine Catholic Church and the Argyle Arms Hotel in Hamilton.  During the war years, Ann supported the cause, knitting socks for soldiers and by the time of her  wedding anniversary, she had knitted 120 pairs of  socks. Ann and George had three sons and two daughters, 28 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Margaret BROWN – Died October 1939 at Hamilton.  Margaret Brown was a great Hamilton pioneer living until the grand age of 104.  In her last years, her life was documented as she reached milestone birthdays  Margaret was born in Launceston in August 1835 with her parents having come from Scotland in 1830.  The family sailed to Victoria around 1840 aboard the City of Sydney and in 1852 Margaret married Thomas Walker at Portland.     In the mid 1860s they settled at Hamilton where they remained.  They had eight children but two died as infants.

When Margaret was 98, she was given a walking stick but she had not used it by the time of her 99th birthday in 1934.  That was also the year of the Portland Centenary and Margaret attended the town’s celebrations. During that year she had also produced 17 pieces of eyelet linen work.  In 1935, Margaret’s 100th birthday celebration was held at the Hollywood Cafe in Hamilton with the Mayor of Hamilton, Cr. Stewart, in attendance.  She also planted a commemorative tree for Victoria’s centenary celebrations.  For her 101st birthday, 25 friends and family gathered at Margaret’s home at 5 Shakespeare Street.  The highlight was a birthday cake with 101 candles.  The next three birthdays were celebrated quietly at home but Margaret continued in good health.  That was until only weeks after her 104th birthday when Margaret became more fragile, eventually passing away in October.  During her life, Margaret saw the reign of six British monarchs.

Margaret’s birthday articles 90th Birthday    99th Birthday  100th Birthday   101st Birthday   104th Birthday

Elizabeth SILVESTER – Died October 7, 1940 at Noorat.  Elizabeth Silvester was born in England around 1852 and arrived in Cobden with her parents as a two-year-old.  She ran a business in Cobden for 50 years and attended the Cobden Methodist Church.  Married to William Gilham, Elizabeth left two sons at the time of her death, one of who she had lived with at Noorat for the last year of her life.  She was buried in the Cobden Cemetery.

Robert Thomas SILVESTER – Died October 7, 1943 at Portland.  Robert Silvester was born in Merino in 1862 but as a young man he moved to Portland and trained as a solicitor.  He worked in the partnership Lynne, Silvester and Fielding before going in to practice alone.  From 1910-1920 Robert was president of the Portland Racing Club and was also president and captain of the Portland Golf Club.  Robert was also a member of the Portland Bowling Club and the following link is for a obituary from the club –   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64386872

Catherine McLURE – Died October 29, 1952 at Camperdown.  Catherine McLure was born at Mepunga in 1866, the daughter of James and Eliza McLure, early pioneers of the Warrnambool district.  In 1885, Catherine married  Benjamin Jeffers at Warrnambool and they moved to Strathbogie.  They later returned to the Western District and lived at Timboon, Kellambete and finally Chocolyn were they resided for 40 years.  Catherine enjoyed making toys with her five grandchildren and 10 great-children and telling stories of days past.


Passing of the Pioneers

Just a small group of pioneers for the September Passing of the Pioneers.  While the number of obituaries now available are beginning to dwindle after three years of Passing of the Pioneers, time was more of a constraint this month.  On the bright side, it ensures there will still be some pioneer obituaries to share next September.

Margaret GORMAN – Died September 9, 1914 at Mortlake.  Born in Tipperary, Ireland around 1821,  Margaret arrived in Victoria around 1851 .  She married Patrick Finn in 1855 and they settled in the Mortlake district.  Her obituary read, ‘…she was able by her lovable  manner to render and dispense happiness and sunshine wherever she went.’  Patrick died 34 years before Margaret and she left four sons and one daughter.  Margaret was buried at the Mortlake Cemetery.

Charles Turner MEDEW – Died September 1914 at Allansford.  Charles Medew was born in Cheltenham, England in 1837 and arrived in Victoria aboard the ship William around 1857.  Charles settled in Warrnambool and working as a builder  he built two bridges across the Hopkins River.  He selected land near the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, and in 1914 the site was still known as “Medew’s Corner” although Charles had moved to Melbourne.  Around 1910, Charles built a model airplane and it is now held by Museum Victoria.  Charles was visiting his daughter at Allansford when he died.

Mrs Mary Gillies - Died September 7, 1917 at Ararat. Mary and her husband  Thomas Gillies were originally from Penzance, Cornwall and arrived at Warrnambool in 1854 aboard the Panama with their infant son.  They went  to the Ararat diggings in 1856 were they permanently settled.  The Gillies family grew to 10 sons and seven daughters and by the time of her death, Mary had 28 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.  Even into her last years, Mary could recall the early days of Ararat.  Her funeral saw a large turnout as the people of Ararat paid their last respects to one of their oldest residents.

William Howard – Died September 28, 1916 at Ararat.  William Howard was born in Liverpool, England and arrived in Victoria in 1853.  The following year he hit the diggings, first at Maryborough, then Fiery Creek and on to the Ararat region.  He eventually took up the lease of the Terminus Hotel at Ararat and later he built the Ararat Coffee Palace.  At the time of his death he left a widow and three grandchildren.

Thomas SHENFIELD – Died September 2, 1937 at Cobden.  Thomas Shenfield was born at Camperdown in 1861.  The following year his family moved to Cobden where Thomas lived out his life.  He married Nellie Baker of Cobden and they had six children.  Thomas took an interest in the progress of Cobden and was a director of the Tanadrook Cheese Factory (below).  He was also a member of the Cobden Methodist Church.

TANDAROOK  CHEESE FACTORY.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T. Collins collection.  Image no. H98.251/1632 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234397

TANDAROOK CHEESE FACTORY. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T. Collins collection. Image no. H98.251/1632 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/234397

 

 

 

 


Passing of the Pioneers

A small band of Pioneers come together for August Passing of the Pioneers.  They include the first Mayor of the Borough of  Portland and a crew member of William Dutton’s whale boat.

William McLEAN – Died August 28, 1888 at Port Fairy.  At the time of his death, William McLean had resided at the Port Fairy Benevolent Asylum for 10 years and was known to all as “Old Billy”.  In 1887, he spoke about his life from his time in his birthplace of  Scotland .  William was born around 1790 and when around 20, he joined the navy and was a crewman on the HMS Warspite which brought him to Sydney while escorting convicts in 1822.  After meeting some whalers he decided to jump ship and join them.  The whaling ship belonged to William Dutton, one of the first whalers to Portland Bay and William was with him.

Image Coutesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  PN05/05/77/00  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/78495

Image Coutesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. PN05/05/77/00 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/78495

 

When asked who was the first to Portland Bay, William Dutton or the Hentys,  William replied that Dutton and his crew were there long before the Hentys.  Later, William spent time whaling at Port Fairy where he settled.

Mary GRIERSON  – Died August at Port Fairy.  Mary Grierson was born in Scotland in 1827 and arrived in Victoria with her parents in 1839.  They had sailed aboard the David Clark with Port Fairy’s Captain Mills at the helm.  Mary married David Thomas in 1846 and they settled at Rosebrook, near Port Fairy.  They had a family of 12, six girls and six boys.  Mary was a member of the Presbyterian church and her goodwill was known throughout the district.

Thomas BEVAN – Died August 1915 at Colac.  Born in Devonshire, England in 1829, Thomas Bevan arrived in Geelong in 1851.  He moved to Beeac and became a local preacher for the Methodist Church.  Thomas worked hard to build the community and had a strong involvement in all aspects of public affairs.  He was also a musician, with violin and flute his instruments both learnt while still in England.

George HAYNES – Died August 18, 1916 at Port Fairy.  The Port Fairy Town Hall flag flew at half mast the day George Haynes passed away.  George was one of Port Fairy’s earliest residents and the first Mayor of the Borough.  George was born in Staffordshire in 1826 and at the local grammar school.  In 1854, he and his wife travelled to Australia, landing at Melbourne where they remained for around a year.  George then moved on to Port Fairy where he settled and established a merchant business, Haynes and Young.  Married twice, George had seven children from his first marriage.

Advertising. (1915, February 1). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 30, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94722841

Advertising. (1915, February 1). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 30, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94722841

Joseph LEWIS – Died August 27, 1916 at Port Fairy.  Joseph Lewis was born in Staffordshire around 1824  and travelled to Australia aboard the Royal Saxon, landing at Willliamstown, Victoria in 1841Also on board was a relative of Charles Dickens.  After some time working at Little River Joseph travelled to the Grampians with a Mr Dwyer and they attempted to run cattle.  Unsuccessful, Joseph moved on to Port Fairy and purchased the property Glenview,  residing there until old age when he moved into the Port Fairy town.  Joseph left a widow, four sons, four daughters, 32 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Denis BERMINGHAM – Died August 17, 1917 at Port Fairy.  Denis Bermingham was from Ireland and arrived in Port Fairy aboard the Chance during the 1850s.  Spending time at Koroit and then Woodlands, Denis worked on the land. After moving to Port Fairy the 1880s, he worked for a few years on the harbour.  Denis and his wife had 13 children, nine of whom were still living at the time of Denis’ death.

Robert LEISHMAN – Died August 28, 1917 at Port Fairy .  Robert Leishman was born in Scotland around 1830 and arrived in Victoria as a boy in the 1850s.  After some time spent at Woodford, he settled at Crossley and for many years ran the farm Cockpen.  He had also spent some time working on Korongah Station, then owned by Messrs. Knight and Lydiard.  It was there, during the 1870s that Robert’s wife passed away.  During their time together they had a family of five.  In the last years of Robert’s life, he moved to Rosebrook and then Bank Street, Port Fairy.

 


Passing of the Pioneers

When I started posting pioneer obituaries under the heading “Passing of the Pioneers” in July 2011, I never imagined that “Passing of the Pioneers” would still be going three years on.  (I didn’t think Western District Families would still be going).  Nor did I expect that I could announce this month marks the posting of the  500th pioneer obituary.  Over the three years, thanks to the stories of those 500 pioneers, the amount I have learnt about Western District history and the families who built that history has been invaluable.  However, the best aspect has been the number of people who have contacted me after finding their pioneering ancestor in the posts.  I hope what I have provided has gone a little way toward them learning more about their ancestors’ lives.

The precis I give for each pioneer summarises the obituary that appeared in the paper when the pioneer passed away.  I don’t check the facts written there, such as ships sailed on or years of arrival.  I do search for the maiden name of married women, simply because I prefer to list them with their maiden names and not Mrs A. Smith, for example.  Sometimes I will search for further information about a pioneer and  in the entry I include links to the sources I have found.  So basically, what I give you is an index to pioneer obituaries with a link to the original and from there you can make what you like of the information provided at the time of the pioneer’s death.  Obituaries are, after all, an inaccurate source as the information contained is second or third hand and rarely do you read of negative characteristics of a person or their failures in life.

Importantly, I must thank Trove Australia because without the digitised newspapers I would never have been able to find the 500 obituaries of some of the Western District’s great pioneers.

You can either search or browse the Passing of the Pioneers obituaries. Search a family name in the search box on the side bar of this page or select “Pioneer Obituaries” in the category box, also on the sidebar.  You can then browse through the 36 posts beginning with the most recent.  Simply click on the name of the pioneer to go to the newspaper obituary. If you find a family member, feel free to comment and give more information if you have any.  Leaving a comment increases your chance of finding someone else researching the same person.

 

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This month’s pioneers include two men who knew family members of mine with both men being important figures in their respective towns.  There is also a bricklayer, a publican and one of the men who discovered the Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.

 

Hugh MURRAY – Died July 28, 1869 at Colac.  Hugh Murray was born in Scotland about 1814 and arrived in Tasmania with his parents and siblings in 1823.  At the age of 23, Hugh left Tasmania for Victoria and settled on the banks of Lake Colac before there was a town and today is considered  Colac’s first white settler.  Hugh had pastoral interests but also sat as a Magistrate at the local Colac Magistrates Court.  Last month’s Passing of the Pioneers included the obituary of Elizabeth Young of Hobart who married Hugh Murray in 1841.

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

EARLY SETTLEMENT AT LAKE COLAC c1875, BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H3572 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/81081

Hugh  knew my ggg grandparents Thomas Gamble and Ellen Barry but not in the way one would like their ancestors to be acquainted with an outstanding citizen of Colac.  It started with Thomas Gamble, said to have been employed by Hugh Murray to make bricks for his new home at Lake Colac, thus prompting the Gambles to move from Geelong to Colac. Their relationship soon soured.  As early as 1851, Thomas’ wife Ellen faced Magistrate Murray in the Colac Court of Petty Sessions charged with drunkenness, one of dozens of charges she would face during her life and it certainly wasn’t her first.  On January 1853, Thomas Gamble faced court as the defendant in a case against Hugh Murray.  Although the hand writing in the original register of the Colac Court of Petty Sessions (p.83) is difficult to read, I can make out the words  –  “Thomas Gamble – Charged alleged arson in setting fire to Hugh Murray Esq.”.  Fortunately the case was  dismissed.

Peter LEARMONTH – Died July 19, 1893 at Hamilton.  Peter Learmonth was one of Hamilton’s most prominent citizens from the 1860s to the time of his death, contributing greatly to the growth of that town and the  villages surrounding it.  Born in Scotland in 1821, Peter travelled to Tasmania to meet up with his brother William who had already bought land in that colony.  Gold attracted Peter and he left for the Californian goldfields in the late 1840s.  With no success, he made his way to Victoria in the early 1850s and had good fortune on the Castlemaine goldfields. Getting out while ahead during the mid 1850s, he took up a manager’s job at “Merino Downs” station owned by Francis Henty, but not before marrying Mary Jarvey Pearson at Portland in 1854.  By 1859, Peter purchased “Prestonholme” on the banks of the Grange Burn near Hamilton from George Younger and proceeded to build the Grange Burn Flour Mill.  He later purchased mills at  Byaduk, Sandford and Penshurst.  The homestead at Prestonholme” and the mill still stand today on the Mill Road, Hamilton.

PETER LEARMONTH'S PRESTONHOLME MILL.  Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

PETER LEARMONTH’S GRANGE BURN MILL. Photo courtesy of Denis Steer.

Not satisfied with his milling empire, Peter established P.Learmonth & Co Stock & Station agents in Gray Street, Hamilton.  Peter’s sons continued the business after his death.

P. LEARMONTH & CO. STOCK & STATION AGENTS. GARY STREET, HAMILTON, WILLIAM TIBBITS (c1896). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H83.253/1 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/67235

Peter Learmonth was a member of the Dundas Shire Council for nine years, serving as President for four successive terms, a record he still holds.  He was also one of the first councillors of the Borough of Hamilton.   Peter was one of the driving  forces behind the Hamilton & Western District Boys College and Alexandra Girls School, two schools that built Hamilton’s foundations as an education town.

 

HAMILTON COLLEGE.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection.  Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

HAMILTON COLLEGE. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, J.T.Collins Collection. Image no. H97.250/74 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/229855

 

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE, [No heading]. (1874, July 11). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 – 1889), p. 52. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5985586

The Hamilton Hospital was another of Hamilton’s institutions that Peter Learmonth helped set up and was President of the Hospital for 18 years.

HAMILTON HOSPITAL.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

HAMILTON HOSPITAL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H32492/2732 , http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/63599

 

Two of  Peter Learmonth’s  children married into families that were also influential in Hamilton ‘at the time.  Eldest son James Allan Learmonth married Annie Thomson, daughter of John Thomson of Monivae in 1886.  A daughter Mary, married the son of another prominent Hamilton man, David Laidlaw jnr, son of saddler and self-made man, David Laidlaw.  Mary’s obituary appeared in April 2013 Passing of the Pioneers.  Messrs. Learmonth, Laidlaw and Thomson were a force to be reckoned with and include Peter’s brother, Alex Learmonth,  also a man of much influence, and it is not surprising that they were able to grow Hamilton into one of Victoria’s most eminent towns.

Later in life, Peter purchased land in Mexico and gave his share to two of his sons.  He also purchased “Correa Estate” near Dunkeld and pursued pastoral interests with much success.

A supporter of the temperance movement, Peter was president of the Total Abstinence Society and the work of he and John Thomson, saw a Temperance Hall opened in Kennedy Street, Hamilton.  They obtained an existing building and converted it to suit the needs of the Society.

As I write my Harman family history and delve into the local histories of Byaduk and Hamilton, Peter Learmonth comes up time and again.  A Methodist, he knew my ggg grandfather James Harman and at one stage James was acting as an agent for farm machinery on Peter’s behalf.   James’ daughter Julia married George Holmes jnr, the son of George Holmes who was a manager of the Grange Burn mill before managing the Byaduk mill.  George Jnr worked at the Penshurst mill and took over the Sandford mill with his brothers.

Peter Learmonth passed away at his home at “Prestonholme” .  He was 74.

Sources:

Dundas Shire Centenary, 1863-1963. Hamilton Spectator for the Dundas Shire Council, [Hamilton, Vic.], 1963.

Garden, Donald S. (Donald Stuart) and Hamilton (Vic.). Council Hamilton, a Western District history. City of Hamilton in conjunction with Hargreen, North Melbourne, 1984.

Glenelg & Wannon Settlers (website)

Macdonald, Anita Mariposa : a story of the Learmonths of western Victoria and Mexico, 1834-1930. Heatherleigh Publishing, [Melbourne], 1982.

John SYMONS – Died July 10, 1914 at Hamilton.  Born in Cornwall around 1828, John Symons’ trade was ship’s carpenter and after his arrival at Portland in 1854, his skills were in demand with much building work required. From Portland, John moved to Balmoral before settling at the Wannon, near Hamilton.  John farmed but was also a contractor for the Roads Board and later the local Shires.  One of his most important works in the district was constructing the bridge over the Wannon River at Redruth, a necessity to enable travel from Hamilton to Coleraine and beyond.  Timber for the bridge was cut using pit saws and John did much of that work himself.  During his marriage, John and his wife raised 11 children with seven still living at the time of his death.

William DUNN – Died July 1, 1914 at Box Hill.  William Dunn arrived in Victoria in 1855 from Somersetshire aboard the “Raven’s Craig”.  After two years in Geelong, he rode by horseback to Hamilton, his home for the next 44 years.  As a bricklayer and builder he constructed the Victoria and Colonial banks in Hamilton with William Holden and  Budock Vean, a home in French Street, Hamilton still standing today.  A devout Methodist, he held various positions within the church.

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON.  Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria.  Image no.   H97.250/89 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

FORMER BANK OF VICTORIA, GRAY STREET, HAMILTON. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins collection, State Library of Victoria. Image no. H97.250/89
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230031

Jane DONNELLY  – Died July 1, 1914 at Hawkesdale.  Born in Ireland around 1834, Jane Jenkins arrived in Australia in the 1860s, settling at Myamyn.  She married William Walshe and they raised six children.  In the meantime,  Jane established the Foresters Hotel at Myamyn and ran a store to cater for the many carriers who used the town as a stopover on their travels.  After the death of her husband , Jane remarried to William Jenkins in 1883 and for a time ran the former Victoria Hotel at Portland.

John MUNRO – Died July 1914 at Hotspur.  John Munro was born in Scotland around 1833 and sailed to Hobsons Bay aboard the “Champion of the Seas” in 1854.  Gold must have been his primary reason for coming to Victoria as he spent time around the various diggings before travelling to New Zealand and the goldfields of Otago.  After two years he returned and took up residence at Portland and married in 1867.  For many years he was a storekeeper and post office operator.  He also engaged in farming pursuits and in the early 1890s took up land at Hotspur.  At the time of his death he left a widow and nine children.  He was buried at the Hotspur Cemetery.

Alexander John McLEAN – Died July 23, 1915 at Hamilton.  Alexander McLean was born in Scotland around 1836 and arrived in Sydney as a three-year old with his parents.  They later moved to Victoria, taking up residence at Tower Hill.  From there, Alexander went on to Myamyn and then Macarthur where he was a founding member of the Methodist Church.  Alexander enjoyed telling stories of the pioneer days, before bridges spanned creeks or railways traversed the countryside.  Alexander and his wife had nine children.

Sarah Ann FARNHAM – Died July 21, 1916 at Hamilton.  Born in Somersetshire, England around 1839, Sarah Ann Farnham arrived at Portland  in 1858.  She married Andrew Lockie at Portland in 1860 and by 1866 they had moved to Hamilton were Andrew ran a saddlery business.  Leaving a family of six children and her husband, Sarah Ann was buried at the Hamilton Old Cemetery.

Mary SAVIN – Died July 1918 at Muddy Creek.  Mary Savin was born in Oxfordshire and sailed to Victoria with her parents in 1853.  Around 1855, the family travelled north to Muddy Creek where they settled.  Two years later, Mary married John Addinsall and they had a family of 12 children.  Like many of the early settlers at Muddy Creek, Mary was a Methodist and it was in a crowded Muddy Creek Methodist Church where Mary was given her last farewell.

John HUXLEY – Died July 21, 1918 at Portland.  John Huxley was born in Portland around 1863.  During the 1890s, John travelled to Western Australia, lured by the discovery of gold, but unlike the other July pioneers who chose to seek their fortunes, John struck gold in a big way.  John and several other men discovered the rich Londonderry mine at Coolgardie, Western Australia.  Having made his fortune, John returned to Victoria and purchased the Straun Estate at Merino.  A keen racehorse owner, one of John’s big successes came less than a year before his death, when his horse the Ruralist, trained by James Agnew of Hamilton, won the Great Western Steeplechase at Hamilton in September 1917.  The horse was also a two-time Brierly Steeplechase winner at Warrnambool.  John passed away at his seaside home “Kenly” at Portland and was buried at the South Portland cemetery.

Christina Emily FORD – Died July 26, 1931 at Hamilton.  Christina Ford was born in Macarthur in 1880 into a well-known pioneering family.  In 1905, she married William Baker and they moved to Portland and  raised nine children.  Christina was a keen volunteer for the Portland Football Club and was a member of the Australian Women’s National League.

Charles HOLDER – Died July 21, 1922 at Warrnambool.  The story of Charles Holder’s life appeared in the Portland Guardian on September 28, 1931, nine years after his death and it gives a great account of Melbourne and Victoria in the 1840s.  Charles Holder was born in Bristol, England around 1838 and from the moment he set sail on the “Wardshipton” as a three-year old with his parent and siblings, his great pioneering life had begun.  The voyage in 1841, with almost 300 other immigrants was harsh with 24 deaths including 22 children.  Three of those children were Charles’ young sisters.  Arriving at Hobson’s Bay, Charles, his parents and two remaining siblings, took a steamer along the Yarra River to Melbourne.

MELBOURNE 1841.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria,  Image no. H6262/2  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

MELBOURNE 1841. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image no. H6262/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/87604

After spending time on stations around Melbourne, including Dandenong as a boy and young teenager, Charles made his way to the Western District, working at the “The Gums” between Caramut and  Penshurst.  By that time, it was the early 1850s, and Charles headed to the Bendigo diggings but like so many his luck was out and he returned to the west of the state, working at Grassmere near Warrnambool.  In the early 1860s, he selected his own land at Cooramook and remained there for the rest of his life.

An obituary in the The Register (Adelaide) on September 2, 1922 , published at the time of Charles’ death has further detail of his pioneering life.

Ellen OSBOURNE – Died July 15, 1934 at Hamilton.  Born at Portland, Ellen Osbourne married local builder Thomas Cruse and they continued to resided at Portland .  She raised a family and was a devoted member of the Church of England.   Prior to her death, Ellen had been ill for many weeks and as a consequence was admitted to Kia Ora Private Hospital at Hamilton.   Ellen needed a blood transfusion but unlike today when we take  for granted stocks of blood at hospitals,  in 1934 there wasn’t a Red Cross Blood Bank.  Therefore, Ellen’s son donated the blood required for the transfusion.  Unfortunately it was not enough to save his mother.

 


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