Category Archives: Pioneer Obituaries

Passing of the Pioneers

As Passing of the Pioneers enters a second year, the fascinating stories keep coming.  Who could not be taken in by James Parker’s story? Gold, Captain Moonlight and more than a stroke of good luck make it an interesting read.  Or Octavius Palmer? While still a teenager, he travelled to California and took on the risky job of gold escort.  John Weaver Greed started a business in Hamilton which still exists today and Mrs Isabella Gilholme’s business sense saw her acquire a portfolio of shops and houses.

Mrs Abraham JENNINGS – Died July 1889 at Bridgewater.  I have mentioned Mrs Abraham Jennings  before.   In the News  – May 26  was about the passing of Mrs Hugh Kittson who was Margaret Jennings, daughter of Mrs Abraham Jennings.  Mrs Abraham Jennings was also known as Hannah Birchall.  Her husband and Margaret’s father was Cook Abraham Jennings.  Hannah and Abraham arrived in the district during the 1840s.

Mrs S. DUDDEN – Died July 11 1897 at Myamyn.  Mrs Dudden was known by many around Myamyn due to husband’s work as store keeper in the town.  She arrived in Victoria during the 1850s.  Through a search at Trove, I found that only three months earlier on April 19, 1897, the Dudden’s residence, behind the shop, was destroyed by fire

James PARKER – Died July 6, 1899 at Heywood.  At the time of  James Parker’s death on July 7, 1899, the The Portland Guardian correspondent promised an account of Parker’s life, in the next issue.  Finally on August 9, 1899, he came good with his promise but  it was well worth the wait.  I cannot possible summarise the life of James Parker, so you must read the obituary for yourself here.  It is a fascinating read, particularly Parker’s encounter with Captain Moonlight.  I will, however, include a piece from the obituary which describes pioneer life.  As you read,  keep in mind the obituary is from 1899.

The Late Mr James Parker. (1899, August 9). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from

William DISHER – Died July 11, 1902 at Stawell.  William Disher arrived in South Australia during the 1830s.  He married Agnes Horsburgh in 1842 and during the 1870s  they moved to Kewell West, north of Murtoa.  William and Agnes had 12 children and by the time of his death, the couple had 72 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  Incidentally, William’s mother had 220 direct descendants at the time of her death at 92, including 120 great-grandchildren.  William’s sister was Lady Eliza Milne, the wife of Sir William Milne a South Australian politician.

John Weaver GREED – Died July 8, 1903 at Hamilton.  John Greed was born in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1833 and arrived in Port Fairy with his wife Emma Grinter and a small child in 1860.  The family headed to Hamilton to join John’s parents, Charles Greed and Sarah Weaver. John started “John Greed Undertaking” in 1861 and so begun a family business which still exists in Hamilton today.   A wonderful history of the Greed family is on the F.Greed & Sons website.

I have a family link to the Greeds.  John Weaver Greed’s son Walter ( a candidate for “Misadventures, Deaths & Near Misses”) married Jessie Harman, daughter of Reuben Harman.


John M. SHEEHY – Died July 1903 at Casterton.  How I need a man like John Sheehy in my life.

OBITUARY. (1903, July 28). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved July 22, 2012, from

John MacEACHERN – Died July 4, 1908 at Nelson.  While John MacEachern had only been in the Nelson district from the 1870s, he had been in Australia since 1839 having arrived in Sydney from Scotland with his parents.  He made his way to Victoria, first working at Strathdownie as a stockman,  where he proved himself an excellent horseman.

Edwin BOASE – Died July 1911 at Murtoa.  Edwin Boase was a newspaper pioneer in the Wimmera.  He arrived with his parents in Adelaide as a baby during the 1850s before they headed to Castlemaine.  He learnt the printing trade in Ballarat before moving to Horsham in 1872 where he printed the first edition of The Horsham Times.  He later founded The Dunmunkle Standard and published the paper for 33 years until the time of his death.  He married Isabella Cameron in 1878, a daughter of a former Horsham Mayor.

Octavius F. W. PALMER – Died July 18, 1914 at Terang.  What a life Octavius Palmer led.  He was born in London in 1833 and went to Tasmania with his parents and nine siblings in 1838.  His father was Captain Frederick Palmer of the East India Company.  After schooling at the Church of England Grammar School in Launceston, Octavius left for the goldfields of California where he spent three years driving the gold escort team of horses.  He returned to the Castlemaine diggings and after some pastoral pursuits with his brothers, he settled in the Western District around  Warrnambool.

Octavius was a member of the  Warrnambool Polo Club and the Warrnambool Racing Club.  He imported many head of Romney Marsh sheep in the 1870s.  An article  from The Age of September 1972, reports on the Palmer family breeding Romney Marsh sheep for 100 years with references to Octavius. How proud he would have been that his family continued to breed the sheep he preferred for the conditions of the south-west of Victoria.

I  couldn’t resist this insight into Octavius in later life.  From The Mail (Adelaide), the article describes an “old buster”.

When The Heart Is Young. (1941, September 20). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved July 25, 2012, from

Forty seems far to young to be thought of as an “old buster”!

Thomas BAILEY – Died July 23, 1914 at Ballarat.  Like the Greed family, Thomas Bailey was from Taunton, Somerset.  He was born there in 1840 but at a young age he left for the New Zealand goldfields.  He then went to Ballarat where he had various mining interests.  He married Sarah Craig, the daughter of Walter Craig owner at the time of Ballarat’s Craigs Hotel.

Family Notices. (1869, January 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from

Thomas was a member of the Ballarat Anglers Club, Ballarat Hunt Club and had a keen interest in football.  His death was felt in many parts of Ballarat including the Old Colonists Hall, where, out of respect,  a meeting was cancelled.

Richard BRYANT – Died July 12, 1919 at Hamilton.  Richard Bryant was born in Cornwall in 1829 and married Elizabeth Millstead in 1850.  The couple travelled to Adelaide aboard the Epaminodas in 1853.  From there they went to Portland and Richard walked on to Ballarat in 1854 in search of gold.  After the death of Elizabeth, Richard and two young daughters, settled on land at Mooralla .  He then married Irish-born Margaret Nowlan.  Margaret passed away in 1907.

I have a family link to Richard Bryant via a daughter from his first marriage.  Richard was the grandfather of Elizabeth Bryant McWhirter,  wife of James Stevenson of Cavendish.  James was the subject of the post “Hobbies Passions and Devotions.

Mrs Sophia WEHL – Died July 10, 1920 at Halls Gap.

Obituary. (1920, July 16). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from

I turned to Ida Stanton’s Bridging The Gap for more information about Sophia Wehl.  Sophia’s husband Carl had a tannery in Stawell, but owned land in Halls Gap.  The house that Sophia built (as referred to in her obituary) was Glenbower 2 near Borough Huts, just outside Halls Gap.  The house was so named as it was next to  Glenbower owned by members of the D’Alton family, including twins Sophia and Henrietta.

That home went into ruin, however at the time of Ida writing her book, poplars and remnants of the garden still existed.   Ida  tells how the D’Altons brought the poplars with them to Australia from Napoleon Bonaparte’s grave on the island of St Helena.   This is not as unusual at it sounds.  A Google search found many others who also grew both poplars and willows grown from cuttings taken from the island’s trees.  An article from The Mercury tells of a Tasmanian family who did the same.

The bushfires of 1939 saw  Glenbower 2 destroyed.  There are photos of both homes in Bridging the Gap, and Sophia Wehl is on the veranda in the Glenbower 2 photo.

Sophia Wehl’s daughter was a noted artist specialising in wildflowers.  Her art teacher was neighbour Henrietta D’Alton who was famous for her wildflower art and had even exhibited overseas.

Margaret Ann DIWELL  – Died July 1932 at Hamilton.  Margaret was my ggg aunt and daughter of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.  She was born at Portland in 1857 and married John McClintock in 1883.  They lived at Grassdale and had eleven children including John, James Richard and Albert Edward  featured in my Anzac Day post The McClintock Brothers.

OBITUARY. (1932, July 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from

In the post, Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On, I mentioned the dangers of  wrong information in obituaries.  Margaret’s obituary offers an example of this.  It mentions her parents arrived in Portland in 1850.  They in fact arrived on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.   Margaret’s mother’s is all mentioned because of her involvement in the murder trial of  George Waines.  I wrote about the trial in Witness For the Prosecution.

John Thomas EDGARDied July 10, 1941 at Melbourne.  John Thomas Edgar was born at Portland in 1848, the son of David and Sarah Edgar.  The Edgars settled at Pine Hills estate near Harrow.  David Edgar subsidised a private school at the estate for the use of his children and the children of other settlers and John attended that school before going on to Hamilton College and later Scotch College in Melbourne.

With his schooling completed, John returned to Pine Hills to learn the finer points of running Merino sheep.  This saw him go to on to become an expert breeder and judge of the popular Western Victorian breed.  He took over management of his father’s property Kandook Estate at Harrow and later the ownership. In 1871 John married Margaret Swan and they raised a family of 12 children.  He was the brother of Walter Birmingham Edgar  and a cousin to Jean Edgar, both Passing Pioneers.

Michael MURPHY - Died July 12, 1943 at Melbourne.   I have driven past Tobacco Road, Pomonal  many times en route to Halls Gap and finally I know how it got its name.   Michael Murphy was a former resident of Pomonal at the foot of the Grampians.  He was one of the tobacco-growing pioneers in the area.  I didn’t know tobacco was grown there, but it seems obvious now that Tobacco Road be named for such a reason.

Michael was also a supporter of local football and cricket and was a founding member of the Stawell Druids Lodge.  He was 74 at the time of his death, following complications of injuries received in a tram accident in Melbourne.

Isabella REID – Died July 1953 at Heywood.  Isabella Reid was the daughter of William Reid and Johanna Steven and wife of Charles Gilholme.  Isabella ran a guest house but after Charles’ death she expanded her business interests into property.

DEATH OR HEYWOOD OCTOGENARIAN. (1953, July 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from

Passing of the Pioneers – A Year On

PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1927, November 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from

On July 22, 2011, I posted the first Passing of the Pioneers and 12 months on I am preparing to post the 13th edition.

There are now over 180 links to Western Victorian pioneer obituaries at Western District Families and the 13th edition will see the total go over 200.

Reading all those obituaries has been a privilege and has taken me on a wonderful journey, not only through the history of the Western District, but to place such as game parks in Africa and the silver mines of South America.  The lives I have glimpsed into range from that of gentry to general hand, but all have shared in making Western Victoria the place it is today.

Some of the pioneers were born during the early days of Victoria,  while others dared their lives aboard immigrant ships in the hope of a better life.  Many travelled from the ports to the Western District by bullock wagon on rough tracks, while enduring unfamiliar conditions.  They built houses on land that would one day see towns such as Penshurst, Hamilton and Balmoral grow around them.

The women from the pioneering era deserve recognition.   Some were alone among men, left to bear and raise children and turn their canvas tents or slab huts into homes.  Many endured loneliness, but as towns grew some became involved with community activities such as the church.   Despite their hardships, many of these women’s obituaries noted that even in old age they would reminisce about those times.

Obituaries came after the pioneer “crossed the Great Divide”, penned by someone who too had heard the stories but may not have had all the facts.  That is my warning to you while you read obituaries and in the July 2012 Passing of the Pioneers I will show this with an obituary from my family.

Having said that,  it is the snippets of information within them that make obituaries a worthwhile family history resource.  Names of children and their married names, places of residence, occupations and immigration details are just some of those snippets which you can then test against the relevant records.

Many of the obituaries I have read have moved me, inspired me and led me to further research.   I have listed just some of those, not so much for the achievements of the subject but the stories they tell.  Click on the pioneer’s name to go to their original newspaper obituary or the date to go to the Passing of the Pioneers post where the obituary appeared:

Frederick William BILSTON (August 2011)

Mrs Agnes CHEQUER (November 2011)

Thomas Denton CLARKE (October 2011)

Elizabeth COLE (March 2012)

James DAWSON (April 2012)

Alfred Irvine HOGAN (February 2012)

KITTSON family – James (May 2012), James Trotter (December 2011),  Rebecca (January 2012),  Susannah (June 2012) and Mrs Margaret Kittson (May 2012)

MALSEED family – Fanny Ann (February 2012),  Robert J. (May 2012) ,  Mrs E.A. MALSEED (August 2011) and Mary HEDDITCH  (Mrs James MALSEED) (July 2011)

Finlay McPherson PATON (September 2011)

Joseph Bell PEARSON (July 2011)

Passing of the Pioneers

It is never ceases to amaze me how the branches of my family tree reach out through the Western District and entwine with the branches of other family trees.  The roots of each tree are different but the branches come together by way of marriage.  In this month’s Passing of the Pioneers, two of the families represented have links to two of my own families.

This month also sees Mr and Mrs George Excell who sadly passed away within hours of each other.  There is also a member of the Kittson family of Bridgewater and a dentist born in the same area.  There is Mrs Jukes, educated in Belgium and John Gorman, an Irish policeman.

William LUXTON – Died June 4, 1903 at North Hamilton.  William Luxton was born in Devonshire, England about 1819.  He arrived in South Australia around 1846 before moving to Macarthur, Victoria in the 1850s where he remained until his death.  He had four daughters still alive at the time of his death including Mrs T.R. Oliver (Margaret Luxton) who was the sister-in-law of Elizabeth Oliver (wife of Reuben Harman) and Mary Oliver (wife of Jonathan Harman).

Robert ISBEL – Died June 1908 at Ararat.  Robert Isbel’s father came to Victoria from Adelaide in search of gold, with Robert and his mother joining him at Great Western in 1862.  Robert settled at Concongelia.

Francis MATTHEWS – Died June 6, 1915 at Landsborough.  Francis Matthews was a native of Ireland and had worked in the Dublin Customs Department before coming to Australia.  He eventually settled at Joel Joel and worked hard on the land.  He only had two relatives in Australia at the time of his death, a brother and a cousin.

Mrs Sarah Elizabeth REECE – Died June 8, 1915 at Hamilton.  Originally from Blackwood, Victoria, Sarah married James Reece from Purdeet, near Penshurst.  She saw Penshurst grow from nothing to a permanent town.  Sarah and James had three sons and four daughters.

Mrs Duncan McKENZIE – Died June 13, 1915 at Rhymney.  Mr and Mrs Duncan McKenzie arrived in Victoria from Scotland in the early 1850s.  Duncan obtained a job at Allanvale Estate a large sheep station near Great Western.  Mrs Duncan died at the home of her daughter, Mrs Foley, and was buried at Ararat Cemetery.

Mrs A.M. JUKES – Died June 27, 1915 at Warrnambool.  Mrs Jukes arrived in Melbourne from Scotland in 1852 to marry Alfred M. Jukes.  After time living in Richmond, they moved to Warrnambool where Alfred took up a post of solicitor, one of the first in the town.  He was also Town Clerk for a time.  Alfred died in 1872.  Mrs Jukes was a member of the Christ Church Ladies Guild and when World War 1 broke out she was particularly interested in the fate of Belgium and its residents.  As a girl, she was educated in Malines, Belgium a town later destroyed by the Germans.

George EXCELL – Died June 11, 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  George Excell was a successful breeder of dairy cattle, draught horses and sheep.  He began his time in Victoria when he landed in Geelong aged around 27 during the 1850s.  He went to Ballarat and was there at the time of Eureka, before residing at Swan Bay near Queenscliffe for forty years.  He later moved to Stockyard Hill, east of Ararat where he remained until his death.

Mrs George EXCELL – Died June 11, 1916 at Stockyard Hill.  Mrs Excell was the wife of George, mentioned above.  There union was so great that Mrs Excell died only hours after hearing of George’s passing.

Alexander McBEAN – Died June 13, 1917 at Casterton.  Alexander was a blacksmith, who learnt his trade as a teenager, fresh from the boat.  His first boss was known as “Terrible Billy” Thomson.  He was then apprenticed to Mr. W. Handley at Sandford before moving to the Ballarat district.  He later moved to Edenhope and then Casterton where he had a blacksmith’s business behind Cawker’s Mart.  He again moved, this time to Harrow, before once again moving back to Casterton and opening another blacksmith business which he ran until his death.

John Henry Morris BILSTON – Died June 17, 1917 at Penola, South Australia.  John Bilston was the son of  Thomas Bilston, an early settler of Melbourne and brother of Frederick William Bilston,  from August Passing of the Pioneers.  John was born in Heywood around 1846 and his first job was an apprentice saddler which he did for five years.  Finding that rather sedate, he became a gun shearer and a buckjump rider.  After some time farming, he took up saddlery again in his later years.  John married  Mary Mingoue, the daughter of Simon Minogue of Portland.

William MULLEN - Died June 13, 1917 at Drik Drik.  Born in Ireland, William Mullen arrived in Victoria in 1862 aged 18.  He married Emma Holmes of Lower Cape Bridgewater and they  celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just prior to William’s death.  They had a family of nine children.

Mr T G HENRY – Died June 16, 1920 at Portland.  The lure of gold brought T.G. Henry to Australia from Ireland but his life soon went from that of a miner to teacher.  He taught at the Heywood school from 1870 to 1876 and the Mumbanner school from 1876 to 1888 after which he retired.  He then farmed until he moved to Portland in 1906.  His wife was Miss Tatham of Doncaster, Melbourne and they had five children.

Luke BYRNE – Died June 18, 1920 at Ballarat.  This is obituary which tells a great pioneering story.  Irishman Luke Byrne began in his time in Australia at Ballarat and his life ended in Ballarat.  Luke originally carted goods from Ballarat through to Horsham and the stations beyond.  At the time, the only residents of Horsham were all male except for one woman.

Obituary. (1920, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from

Luke was one of the first to select land in the Wimmera in an area which became known as Byrneville.  The early years were very difficult and at times Luke had to leave his selection and take up jobs to suppliment his income.  By the time he retired, Luke had increased his holding to 3,000 acres of the best wheat growing land which he was able to pass on to his three sons.  Luke and his wife had a total of 12 children.

John GORMAN – Died June 18, 1922 at Geelong.  As a policeman of 34 years, John Gorman worked in towns throughout Western Victoria.  John joined the police force shortly after arriving in Victoria from Ireland in 1863.  In his retirement, he lived in Geelong.  He left a wife and five children.

Susannah KITTSON – Died June 3, 1926 at Portland.  Susannah Kittson came to Victoria from Ireland as a six-year-old in 1841.  She was a member of the pioneering Kittson family of Bridgewater.  On arrival at Geelong, her family “trekked” to Colac, then Tahara and then on to Bridgewater.

Susannah married John Harcoan and they settled at Minyip in the Wimmera.  Three months before her death, Susannah returned to live at Portland where she found “peace at last” in the place of her childhood.  She left five children.

William OSBOURNE – Died 19, 1930 at Portland.   Born in Portland, William with his brothers, followed his father into the butchering business.  Osbournes Butchers were known as giving  “full value and a square deal to all”.  William was also a foundation member of the Portland P & A Society and was a vestryman at St Stephens Church.

St Stephens Church Portland

Caroline HUMPHRIES – Died June 8, 1931 at Casterton.  Born at Portland around 1860, Caroline was the daughter of Charles Humphries and Caroline Sampson.  Within a few years of her birth, Caroline’s family moved to Henty, between Merino and Casterton.  She later married James Lane and they settled at Dunrobin, north of Casterton where they raised a large family.  I have a link to Caroline Humphries through my Diwell line.  Caroline’s niece  Margaret Ley Humphries, married my1st cousin 3 x removed ,William Ralph Francis Coulson a grandson of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.

Peter GAMBETTA – Died June 5, 1931 at Stawell.  Peter Gambetta came to Stawell from his home in Ticiano which lies in Italy but is a state of Switzerland.  Gold was the lure but after the boom, he started a vineyard “St Bernards” near Stawell.

Joseph Henry PORTER – Died June 22, 1931 at Portland.  Born in England around 1840, Joseph Porter arrived in Portland around 1854.  Taking on the trade of cabinet maker, he was known for his fine craftsmanship.  His wife was Sarah Herbertson, a member of a well-known family from Portland West.  They had no children.

Dr. James Thompson TUNNOCK – Died June 16, 1933 at Hamilton.  Despite moving away at a young age, Dr. Tunnock had strong links to the early pioneers of south-west Victoria.  James was the son of Jonathon Carrick More Tunnock and Jane Kennedy and was born at Cape Bridgwater in 1853.  Being bright at school and having no interest in farming, James took himself off to Melbourne to study dentistry.  Maybe I should not have put the prefix of Dr. in front of James’ name as in 1913, he was fined £5 for using the title Dr. on signage,breaching the Dentists Act 1910.

Advertising. (1908, September 5). Independent (Footscray, Vic. : 1883 – 1922), p. 1. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from

I don’t think I would fancy visiting a Dental Parlor.  It sounds too much like Funeral Parlor!

Ann BEGLEN – Died June 7, 1940 at Portland.  Miss Ann Beglen’s Irish parents John and Margaret, arrived at Williamstown in 1841 before travelling on the “Frances Henty” to Portland.  On arrival, John set up a butcher shop.  Ann was born in 1848 and educated at Miss Dunbar’s private school at Portland.  In her later years Ann could still remember playing as a child around the foundations of the then under construction”Burswood” built by Edward Henty.  At the time of her death, Ann was living with her nieces at “Pioneer Cottage” the home where she was born.

Nonogenarian’s Birthday. (1938, July 18). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from

Passing of the Pioneers

If some of the pioneers from May Passing of the Pioneers could be gathered in one room, the stories would be flowing.  Many of them enjoyed telling stories from the past and had great recollections of the early days.  Subjects would include Queen Victoria, the Henty brothers, the Eureka Stockade, lands sales and gold.  I’m sure they would have all agreed with  fellow pioneer John Waters’ philosophy to “paddle your own canoe”.

Agnes PATERSON: Died May 29, 1901 at Portland.  Agnes was the was the daughter of a Tasmanian solicitor, Alex Paterson.  She married John Norman McLEOD and they first arrived in the Portland district around 1850.  John built “Maretimo” before purchasing “Castlemaddie“, a property at Tyrendarra.  Between 1851 and 1856, John McLeod was the MLA for Portland.  Agnes was 75 at the time of her death and left three sons.

James KITTSON:  Died May 20, 1911 at Melbourne.  James Kittson was one of the original pioneers of the  Bridgewater area.  He was the father of Rebecca Kittson and James Trotter Kittson both of whom have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.  James was a Councillor with Portland Shire Council.

John GILLIES:  Died May 1914 at Moonee Ponds.  John Gillies was a farming pioneer around the Ararat district.  He was a member of the Farmers’ Co-operative Company and the Ararat Agriculture Society.

Emily Julia BENNETT:  Died May 1914 at Stawell.  Emily Bennett was a Stawell pioneer.  Originally from London, she arrived in Victoria around 1860 with her parents Dr. Edwin Bennett and Mrs. Bennett.  The settled around Stawell around 1865.  Gold was the main focus in Stawell at the time and the town consisted mostly of tents.   Dr Bennett took up a position as hospital doctor which he held for many years.  Emily married Mr R.Z. DAVIES  at the Stawell West Anglican church.  Mr Davies was the headmaster at the Stawell State School.

William B. BRADSHAW:  Died May 26, 1915 at Ballarat.  Born in Cambridgeshire, England, William Bradshaw arrived in Adelaide as an 11 year old in 1837.  One of the last events he attended in London before his departure was the ceremony for the Proclamation of the accession of Queen Victoria.  Once in South Australia, his father established one of the first bakeries in Adelaide.  William was lured to the goldfields of Victoria in 1851.  He had reached Ballarat by 1854 the time of the Eureka Stockade.  He was one of the first Justices of the Peace appointed in Victoria.

John WATERS:  Died May 4, 1917 at Nareen.  John Waters was born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland in 1830.  He and his wife arrived at Portland aboard the “General Hewitt” in 1856 and headed towards the Casterton district.  After some moving around he finally settled at “Rock View” at Nareen in 1867 where he remained until his death.  John’s pioneering story is similar to so many others of his time:

Obituary. (1917, May 7). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 2 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from

If John was concerned about “coddling legislation” almost 100 years ago, what would he think of our society today?

John CHRISTIE:  Died May 15, 1918 at Byaduk.  Born at Garvard, Haddington, Scotland in 1834 and arrived at Portland in 1851.  He settled at Byaduk, naming his property “Garvard Vale“.  With his brother they breed find Lincoln sheep.  A further obituary can be read at Obituaries Australia

Mrs Margaret KITTSON Died May 19, 1927 at Heywood.  Although she was only eight at the time, Margaret Kittson retained memories of her voyage to Melbourne in 1840.  She also recalled the early days of Portland, the Hentys, William Dutton, Black Thursday of 1851 and the wreck of the steamer “Admella”.  She married Hugh Kittson and they settled at Bridgewater Lakes.  In her later years she retained her wit and loved the company of children.  She was a contributor to the Red Cross during WW1.

William Primrose ANDERSON:  Died May 26, 1927 at Portland.  William Anderson was a well known resident of Portland and was known around the town as “W.P.”.  He was born in 1845 in Melbourne and arrived in Portland with his parents around 1857.  His first job was working in a grocery and hardware store in Portland.  By the age of 28 he had taken over the business.  He set up an wool export business and had many other business interests around the town.  His obituary is lengthy and is worth reading to learn more, not only about “W.P’s” life but also the early days of Portland.  William Anderson demonstrated the qualities shown by many other pioneers:

Obituary. (1927, May 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from

William McINTYRE:  Died May 23, 1936 at Hamilton.  William McIntyre arrived at Portland in 1852 with his parents aboard the “John Davis“.  He was born in Inverness, Scotland only three years earlier.  By 1855, the McIntyres arrived at Muddy Creek near Hamilton via Strathdownie and South Australia.  William was a gun shearer, with his record being 209 sheep in one day.  He also was a good athlete, winning many prizes at sports days from Penshurst to Branxholme.

Mary MUMFORD:  Died May 5, 1940 at Camperdown.  Mary Mumford was born in England in 1845, and arrived in Australia with her parents in the late 1840s.  She married Frederick TILL in 1863 and lived in Cobden.  Frederick was killed in an accident, leaving Mary with four children.  She married John PETER and they had a further five girls.  It is not mentioned what happened to Mr Peter, but Mary left Cobden for Cowley’s Creek where she resided for 25 years.  Later in life she married Mr NELSON.  At the time of her death she had one son, six daughters, 44 grandchildren, 55 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.  Her son William Till played a part in the rescue of the two survivors of the “Loch Ard

Mary LOUREY:  Died May 3, 1941 at Glenormiston.  Mary Lourey was the last surviving child of Thomas and Johanna Lourey.  She was born at Kirkstall around 1858.  Twenty-two years later she married Thomas KELLY and they eventually settled at Glenormiston.  Thomas was behind the construction of the Glenormiston butter factory.  At Mary’s funeral at the Noorat Catholic Church, the children from St Joseph’s School formed a guard of honour.  The cortege was said to stretch from Noorat to Terang where Mary was buried.

Henry C. WILLIAMSON:  Died May 25, 1948 at Portland.  Henry Williamson was a pioneer of the fruit growing industry in the Gorae district.  He and his brother grew apples and later built cool stores at Gorae which were a profitable ongoing concern.  Henry retired into Portland and was a prominent member of the Wesley Church and the Portland P & A Society,

Robert J. MALSEED Died May 1950 at Portland.  Robert Malseed was the youngest son of Irish immigrants, Stewart and Margaret Malseed.  Robert was born at Portland in 1860 and married Elizabeth Ann TRENEAR in 1888.  Robert and Elizabeth lived all their married lives at 88 Garden Street, Portland where Robert had an orchard.  One of his proudest moments was representing the Malseed family at the 100th anniversary reunion of the arrival of his parents.  He was the oldest surviving member of the Portland Oddfellows Lodge.

Passing of the Pioneers

April Passing of the Pioneers reminds me how much can be learnt about Western Victorian history from reading  pioneer obituaries.  This month sees some prominent men of 19th century Western Victoria, James Dawson, James Thomson and John Kirby.

I am also learning more about the wonderful homesteads dotted throughout the Western District.  The Monivae, Longerenong and Mt. Koroite Homesteads are all mentioned this month.  If you click on the homestead name in the obituary, the link will take you through to the Victorian Heritage Database and relevant homestead’s listing.  I am finding the links to this site, even from Google, a little temperamental lately.  If it does not go directly to the homestead, just click the link again and you will have success.

James DAWSON:  Died April 19, 1900 at Camperdown.  James Dawson was born at Linlithgow, Scotland in 1806.  His mother, Johannah Park, was a niece of explorer Mungo Park.  James left Scotland in 1840, bound for Victoria.  He initially purchased a property on the Upper Yarra at Melbourne, but later bought a property at Port Fairy.  He erected a house he had brought  in pieces from Scotland.  The property was known as Kangatong Estate.  While there, he commissioned artist Eugene von Guerard to paint nearby Tower Hill.

He sold the property and moved to Keilor then Camperdown.  After two years away in Scotland, James returned and was appointed Protector of Aboriginals,  a role that saw his greatest contribution  to Victorian history.  He was also an honourary superintendent of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and amateur taxidermist.   A large collection of his taxidermy was presented to the Museum connected to the Melbourne Mechanics Institute.

William BAILEY:  Died April 25, 1906 at Ballarat.  Born in about 1828, William arrived in Victoria in 1848.  He went to Ballarat during the gold rush and remained there until his death.  The Ballarat papers were speculating at the time of his death the value of his estate, thought to be £400,000 thanks to mining and squatting.  He had a number of children who had been successful including Stephen who was a station owner at Orange N.S.W.  The boys were also good cricketers.

Mrs LEVETT:  Died April 22, 1909 at Portland.  The wife of Mr F.F. Levett, Mrs Levett was 85 years old at the time of her death.  She had been in Victoria since her early teens.  She had many stories about the early days of the Portland district.

James ALGIE: Died April 17, 1910 at Stawell. Jame Algie was a veteran of the Crimean War.  He was born in Glasgow around 1832 and joined the 71st Highland Light Infantry from Glasgow in 1849 and served in Greece and India.  He had lived in Stawell for 40 years.

Thomas CLOHESY:  Died April 24, 1910 at Hamilton.  Thomas Clohesy had been in Victoria since in 1871.  He made the journey from Ireland with his father and brother, but sadly his father passed away on the voyage.  He at one time worked at the estates of the Chirnside brothers.

James THOMSON:  Died April 25, 1910 at Hamilton.  James Thomson was born in Balnachole, Scotland in 1823.  He and his wife travelled to Australia in 1852.  With him he brought sheep farming experience which he tried,  first at Edenhope in a partnership and later at Hamilton at the well known Monivae estate.  James purchased “Monivae” in 1870 from the estate of Police Magistrate Acheson Ffrench.  The property was 18,000 acres and James ran Angus cattle and Lincoln sheep.  The Victorian Heritage Database  lists he also bred rare Scottish ponies, collie dogs and goats.

I have an interest in the history of the Monivae property and it’s homestead as I attended Monivae College in Hamilton which, for a short time in the 1950s, ran the school from the homestead before moving to the current site. The school retained the Monivae name.  At school we learnt a lot about Acheson Ffrench, the original owner, but I knew nothing of James Thomson’s links to the homestead.  Ffrench named “Monivae” after Monivaea Castle, his father’s castle in Galway, Ireland.

I discovered, thanks to the Victorian Heritage Database, that James Thomson built the existing Monivae homestead, known as “Old Monivae”, rather than Ffrench.  Ffrench had lived in another home on the property and it was later left empty by Thomson.  The bluestone for the new homestead was taken from a quarry on the property.   James also donated bluestone for St. Andrew’s  Presbyterian Church, which stands with the Hamilton Anglican Church on Hamilton’s “Church Hill” .  Their spires are landmarks on the Hamilton skyline.  Nana and several other Haddens were married at the Presbyterian Church.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton

James INGLIS:  Died April 12, 1914 at Ballarat.  James Inglis ran the Ballarat coachbuilding business of J. & J. Inglis. with his brother John.  His father started the business in 1860 after he took his family from Melbourne to Ballarat.  James was just three at that time.  The original business was at Market Square but  later moved to nearby Creswick Road.

Robert DALGLEISH: Died April 12, 1914 at Learmonth.  Robert Dalgliesh arrived in Ballarat around 1850 from his native Roxboroughshire, Scotland.  He tried his luck on the diggings, brought property with his brothers, then returned home to Scotland in 1856.  In 1860 he was back and brought a property at Learmonth, “Salwick Hall”,  from his brother.  It was there that he died in 1914.

William UREN:  Died April 19, 1914 at Berringa.  Before travelling to South Australia with his wife during the 1860s, Cornish born William spent time in Chile, South America.  He and his father worked in silver mines.  While in South Australia he worked in the copper mines before moving to Ballarat.  He was a shift boss at the Midas and Lone Hand mines.

Agnes LUNDY:  Died April 16, 1916 at Horsham.  Agnes came to Australia from Scotland during the 1860s and worked for Sir Samuel Wilson at Longerenong near Horsham.  That is where she met her future husband, William McClintock.  William was a cousin of Sir Samuel and worked as an overseer at Longerenong.  They remained at Longerenong for some time, before William bought land and bred find woolled sheep and thoroughbred horses.

Sybil GAIN:  Died April 28, 1921 at Horsham.  Sybil Gain was 90 years old at the time of her death and was one of the Horsham district’s oldest pioneers.  She arrived in Victoria from Scotland during the 1850s.  She married three times.  Her husbands were  John Morrison who she married at 19, William Knipe and John Gillies.  Gillies was a pioneer of the  flour milling industry at Horsham while Sybil was a foundation member of the Horsham Presbyterian Church.

John RUNDELL:  Died April 19, 1925 at Condah.  Born in Cornwall around 1840, John Rundell was a well known member of the Condah community.  He arrived as a child aboard the “Birmingham” with his parents and spent time with his father at the Ararat goldfields.  He married Matilda Hardy upon his return.  Matilda later died and John married Agnes Willling.  John was a road contractor and spent many years building roads between Portland and Hamilton for the Shire.

Mrs James Henry BALL:  Died April 12, 1929 at Hamilton.  Mrs Ball was an early pioneer of the Portland district, having arrived in Adelaide around 1856 from Donegal, Ireland.  It was in Adelaide that she married her husband, James Ball.  They then journeyed to Portland where James farmed.  After the death of James Ball, Mrs Ball moved to Hamilton.

Mrs Hannah BARR:  Died April 13, 1934 at Lyons.  Hannah Barr would have had some great pioneering stories to tell.  She and her husband ran the first and apparently only hotel in the Lyons/Greenwald area.

Obituary. (1934, April 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from

Mrs John MOLLOY: Died April 1934 at Hamilton.  Mrs Molloy was born in England and travelled to Portland with her parents aboard the “Flora McDonald” .  While in Portland she knew Stephen, Edward and John Henty and had many stories to tell about them.  She moved with her parents to Coleraine and after her marriage she moved to Hamilton.  She was a devout Roman Catholic and crocheted an alter cloth for the St. Marys Church, Hamilton.

Eliza CALLAWAY:  Died April 3, 1942.  Eliza was the daughter of Charles and Anne Callaway and was born in Amherst, Victoria in the mid 1860s.  During the 1870s, the Callaways moved to the Heytesbury Forest near Timboon where Charles selected 240 acres.  He cleared the land and grew hops until red spider began destroying the crops .

Obituary. (1942, April 10). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from

John Finn KIRBY:  Died April 7, 1942 at Portland.  John Kirby was quite a man.  Born at “Springbank” Casterton in 1858, he completed his schooling at Ballarat College.  He then worked for seven years as a stock and station agent in Ballarat, before returning closer to home in 1882 to work as a stock and station agent at Coleraine.  He eventually bought the business.

Among his many positions around the district, he was both a Councillor and three time president of the Wannon shire.  He was a chairman of directors of the Western District Butter Factory Ltd. and a Justice of the Peace.

John was a talented sportsman and excelled as footballer, including a stint in the metropolitan league.  Probably his greatest sporting achievement was as a racehorse owner.  His horse The Parisian won the 1911 Melbourne Cup.  He also had success with a steeplechaser, Napier which won the Great Eastern Steeple at Oakbank, South Australia and the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool.

John Kirby married Elizabeth Crowe in 1885.  They resided in the Mt. Koroite homestead overlooking the Coleraine racecourse.  The Victorian Heritage Database mentions extensive renovations to the homestead after Parisian’s success in the Cup.

Robert Arthur LIGHTBODY: Died April 1949 at Drik Drik.  Robert Lightbody was the third son of the wonderful Rebecca Kitson remembered in the January Passing of the Pioneers.   Robert had fine clerical skills and was a Justice of the Peace, secretary of the Drik Drik Butter factory,  Drik Drik P & A Society, Drik Drik school, Drik Drik Repatriation commitee and the Drik Drik cricket club.  As if wasn’t busy enough, he was also a local preacher of the Methodist church for 65 years.  His wife, Ellen Jones, must never have seen him.  All that activity must have contributed to him living to the ripe old age of 93.

Passing of the Pioneers

I enjoy finding stories of pioneer women, as they give me some idea of the lives lived by my own pioneering female ancestors.  March Passing of the Pioneers introduces a plucky pioneer, Elizabeth Cole (Mrs E. Dalziel).  Elizabeth and another pioneer, Annie Alexander both made their mark in rolls not traditionally considered the domain of women.   Among the passing gentleman, I enjoyed the story of John McClounan, a well travelled pioneer.

Mr John Lang CURRIE: Died March 11, 1898 at St Kilda.  John Currie was a Western District pastoralist.  He was born in Selkirkshire, Scotland in 1818 and came to Australia in the 1840s and purchased Larra Estate near Camperdown in 1844.  He later bought Tintanga and Gala Estates.  He bred merino sheep known for the high quality of their wool.  For more information, his biography is on the Australian Directory of Biography site.

THE PASSING OF THE PIONEERS. (1898, March 12). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

John McCLOUNAN: Died March 2, 1902 at Green Lake.  John McClounan was born in Scotland in 1832, but left when he was 21.  But not straight to Australia.  He first travelled to America were he spent seven years and then on to New Zealand for around six years.  He and his brother, his travelling companion, then moved to the goldfields of N.S.W. and then to Victoria and Deep Lead near Stawell.  They gave up on mining and moved to Green Lake to farm.  It was on this property John died, forty years later.  He was unmarried.

Mrs James DAVIDSON:  Died March 1907 at Warrnambool.  Mrs Davidson was “another pioneer “Mother of Israel”” lost to the Western District.  At 91, her husband had died 46 years before and according to the obituary, she “trained up five sons and four daughters to man and womanhood”

John Henry OLIVER:  Died March 23, 1909 at Horsham.  John Oliver was the brother-in-law of Jonathon and Reuben Harman.  The obituary states John arrived in Melbourne with his family in 1848.  It was in fact 1849 aboard the Courier.  John had spent time around Byaduk where his family settled, however he bought land at Sailors Home near Dimboola in the early 1870s.  After a stroke, John did return to Byaduk  trying to regain his health, but he eventually returned to the Wimmera to live out his last months.

Mr W.S. WARD: Died March 14, 1913 at Ballarat.  On arrival at Geelong in 1857, Mr Ward headed straight for the goldfields of Ballarat.  He mined the “Hit and Miss” shaft at Creswick before taking time of mining to run the coach on the Ballarat-Buninyong Road.  The lure of gold was too great and he headed to the goldfields of N.S.W. and one time drilled for coal in Gippsland.

Margaret CAMPBELL: Died March 10, 1914 at Casterton.  Margaret arrived at Portland with her parents in 1855 after sailing aboard the “Athleta” .  She married Donald Ross in 1857.  She was  around 26.  They moved to Hamilton, then Sandford before settling in Casterton on the corner of Jackson and Clarkes Street in the house both Margaret and Donald died about 50 years later.

James FERGUSON: Died March, 1914 at Beulah.  Scottish born James was one of the early settlers at Beulah and was known around the town as “The Laird”.  He was one of the first representatives of the newly formed Karkarooc Shire in 1896.  In 1908, he travelled to England and visited the place of his birth in Scotland.

Dugald MAIN:  Died March 9, 1916 at Ballarat.  Dugald arrived in Geelong aboard the “Star of the East” in 1854 and then settled in Ballarat.  He was a builder by trade and sat on the committee of the Ballarat Orphan Asylum.

Alexander McKAY:  March, 1919 at Carlton.  Alexander, formerly of Mortlake, was a Scot through and through and was a keen participant in Highland games throughout the district.  He was an excellent player of the pipes and excelled at the heavy lifting events of the games, such as the caber toss.

Edmond DWYER:  Died March 14, 1930 at Condah.  Edmond at 92, was the last of the pioneers to arrive on the “General Hewitt” in 1856.  He initially went in search of gold near Beaufort at the Firey Creek diggings, before turning to road contracting at Portland.  He worked the road from Portland to Hamilton for many years.

Mrs A.W. McLEAN:  Died March 4, 1932 at Hotspur.  Mrs McLean was a very old pioneer when she passed away in 1932.  She was born in the Isle of Skye in 1838 and was a teenager when she arrived at Portland with her parents, the McDonalds,  in 1853 aboard the “New Zealand“.  She married Mr. A McLean in 1860 and they settled at Hotspur and raised eight children.

Mrs A FREDERICKS:  Died March, 1932 at Portland.  Mrs Fredericks maiden name was Jones and she was born in Portland in 1859.  She first married a Mr Jennings and they had two sons, before she married Alfred Fredericks.  They had a further six children.

Mrs John JACKSON:  Died March 11, 1934 at Hamilton.  Born in Lancashire, Mrs Jackson arrived at Portland with her parents, John and Sarah Rigby, in 1859.  They settled at Heywood where she married John Jackson.  They later moved to Hamilton.  Mrs Jackson left a large family of 10 children, 32 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren (this was reported as 7 great great grandchildren, so they either forgot the great-grandchildren or it was meant to read great-grandchildren).

Emma HOLMES:  Died March 1935 at Drik Drik.  Emma was a knitter.  She knitted during the Great War for the troops and later for the Methodist Babies Home at South Yarra.  Emma arrived at Portland as a seven-year old in 1852.  She married William Mullins and they settled at Drik Drik, with Emma considered to be the first white woman to settle there.  Surely a tough time for a new bride.

Annie Gray ALEXANDER:  Died March 14 1937 at Toorak.  Annie Alexander was born near Beechworth around 1861.  She married Henry William Witton in the early 1880s.  They took up residence at Dimboola in the 1890s.  After Henry’s death, Annie did something a little different to some of the pioneer women I have written of before.  She published the “Dimboola Banner” newspaper until 1918.

Mrs John TRELOAR:  Died March 20, 1939 at Portland.  Mrs Treloar was an active member of the Myamyn community even up until months before her death at aged 90.  She was born at South Portland and later married John Treloar at Myamyn where they lived out there lives.  Mrs Treloar had a large family of 13, eight of whom were still living at the time of her death.

Elizabeth COLE: Died March, 1942 at Bostocks Creek.  What a great pioneer Elizabeth Cole was.  Born at Poplar, London in 1845, she came to Australia with her parents in the early 1850s.  She married Alexander Dalziel at Lethbridge in 1862.  At the time of her death, Elizabeth and Alexander had 120 descendants including 65 great-grandchildren.  What got me about Elizabeth was she was that she had been a bullock driver and one with great skill.  She also had memories of Eureka, could recall Lethbridge as a canvas town and the slab huts of Port Fairy and considered kangaroo a delicacy.  In her later years, she enjoyed listening to that modern contraption, the wireless.

PIONEER DIES IN 97th YEAR. (1942, March 17). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

Mary MURRAY:  Died March 17, 1944 at Hamilton.  Mary’s father was an overseer for Edward Henty at Muntham where she was born.  At the time she was the first white child born at Muntham.  At some time she married Mr Hallam and had many great pioneering stories.

Jean EDGAR:  Died March, 1947 at Harrow.  Jean was another wonderful pioneer who had been in Victoria for 90 years.  She arrived aboard the “Severn” which carried another great pioneer, the thoroughbred King Alfred, one of Australia’s early champion sires.

OBITUARY. (1947, March 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from

In 1874 she married into the pioneering Minogue family at Harrow where she lived for the rest of her life.

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

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

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

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).

Passing of the Pioneers

Seventeen more obituaries of Western District pioneers join the collection this month, and what a group they are.  I must say I had to pass a lot over, but it will ensure Passing with the Pioneers will be going to at least January 2014!  New papers at Trove has guaranteed that.  Obituaries came from the “Portland Guardian“, “Horsham Times” and “Ballarat Courier“.

There are a couple of special ones, those of  James HENTY and Rebecca KITTSON and I highly recommend that you read the obituary in full.  I actually found Rebecca’s obituary rather moving and after driving through the Bridgewater area recently, I have great respect for her family and others that settled there.  To read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name and the obituary will open in a new tab.  Some are a little hard to read, but magnifying the page helps.

I have also included a “young” pioneer who has a family link to me.  Thank you to Rachael Boatwright for allowing me to include a photo of her family member.

James HENTY – Died January 12, 1882, Richmond, Victoria.  I thought trash magazines today told all, but the obituary of the Honourable James HENTY M.L.C. shared every detail of the last 24 hours or so his life.  How can I possible give a summary of the life of James HENTY, one of the famous pioneering HENTY clan?  Instead,  read the obituary, it is great!  Sadly I think James’ life may have ended prematurely, if that is possible at 82, due to a collision with a Newfoundland dog the week before.

Hugh MCDONALD – Died January 30, 1899, Portland.  This is a timely obituary coming so soon after my Portland trip.  While there,  I learnt something of the wreck of the steamer “Admella” in 1859 and the Portland life boat crew that went to her aid.  Hugh McDONALD was one of the brave men on board the life boat during that daring rescue.

William GARDINER – Died January 17, 1904, Warracknabeal.  William GARDINER, another pioneer with an interesting life.  He arrived in Victoria in 1849 aboard the barque “Saxon” and spent time in Melbourne, Geelong and the goldfields, before heading to New Zealand.  On his return to Australia, he lived in Port Fairy and Hamilton, working as a journalist, before moving to the Wimmera as a correspondent for the “Belfast Gazette”.  He like it so much, he decided to select land at Warracknabeal.  He also worked as a correspondent for the “Horsham Times” and built houses!

Jean MccCLINTOCK  – Died January 19, 1904, Melbourne.  While only 40 at the time of her death and not an “old pioneer”, I have included Jean as she was the sister-in-law of  Alfred Winslow HARMAN.  Jean married William MILLER and they resided at Rupanyup.  After some illness, Jean travelled to Melbourne for an operation, but she died as a result.

Jean McClintock & William Eaton Miller. Photo courtesy of Rachael Boatwright & family.

I must say William is sporting a fine moustache and would have been a contender for Inside History Magazine’s Movember fundraiser  Hairy Mancestors.

Joseph JELBART – Died January 17, 1904, Carapook.  Joseph worked as the mail contractor between Carapook and Casterton up until his death.  Prior to that he had worked as a blacksmith and a wheelwright at Chetwynd, Merino and Natimuk.  Interesting coincidence, just as Joseph did, his father and brother both died on a Sunday morning in the same house.

Rachel Forward READ – Died January 15, 1904, Lower Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel Forward READ and her husband Richard Charlton HEDDITCH arrived in Adelaide in 1838 and settled at Cape Bridgewater from 1845 after a stint teaching at the Portland Church of England school.  They resided at the Lal Lal Homestead.  The  Victorian Heritage Database listing for Lal Lal includes a letter home by Rachel after their arrival at Cape Bridgewater.  Rachel was buried at the Cape Bridgewater cemetery rather than the Hedditch family cemetery at Lal Lal.

Donald McRAE – Died January 12, 1914, Tooan.  Donald McRAE was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1842 and travelled with his parents to Portland.  In 1865, he moved to Muntham near Hamilton to farm with brother.  The pair eventually selected 320 acres of land each at Natimuk.  Donald was a member of the Horsham Caledonian Society.

Samuel WALKER – Died January 24, 1914,  Ballarat.  Samuel WALKER was born in Cheshire, England around 1828 and travelled to Australia in 1852.   After his arrival on the goldfields of Ballarat, he set up a soda water factory which proved profitable for him.  He then became a partner in Evans and Walkers and worked as an accountant.  He was also the registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at Ballarat from 1872.

Mrs Selina HARRIOTT – Died January, 1917,  Wickliffe.  Selina HARRIOTT had resided at Wickliffe for almost 60 years.  She was twice married.  Her first husband was Mr HAGUE and her second, George HARRIOTT.

Phillip ORMSBY – Died January 12, 1918 at Ellerslie.  Phillip ORMSBY was born in County Cork and attended the Dublin University as a young man to study medicine.  The lure of Australia was too great, and he abandoned his studies to sail to Australia on the “Champion of the Seas” in the early 1850s.  After three years on the Ballarat goldfields, he selected land on the banks of the Hopkins River at Ellerslie.  He was one of the founding members, and chairman for eight years of the Framlingham and Ellerslie Cheese and Buttery Factory.  Phillip was also president of the Shire of Mortlake for two years.  Only months before his death, one of Phillip’s sons was killed in France.

Mrs HARDINGHAM – Died January 3, 1919,  Horsham.  Mrs HARDINGHAM was born in Norwich, England around 1831 and travelled to Australia with her husband, Mathias HARDINGHAM in the mid 1850s.  From Geelong they travelled to the Horsham area and were two of the first pioneers in that district.  Mathias ran the Horsham Hotel for some time.

Mrs Christine SANDERS – Died January 8, 1921, Vectis.  Christine SANDERS was born in Yorkshire, England around 1835.  As a teenager, she travelled to South Australia with her parents.  She married Robert SANDERS who had also travelled with his parents on the same immigrant ship.

John W. DAVIS – Died January 24, 1928,  Horsham.  John or “Jack” as he was known, arrived in Australia as a three old, living in Williamstown and then Stawell.  He played with the Temperance Union Band in Stawell and then moved to Horsham in 1877 to play with one of two brass bands in the town.  Known throughout the northwest for his ability as an euphonium player, Jack was also a bandmaster at Natimuk and Noradjuha.

Rebecca KITTSON – Died January4, 1929, Portland.  What a grand old pioneer Rebecca KITTSON was.  A colonist of 88 years, she was a month from her 102nd birthday.  Arriving in Melbourne from Ireland aged 11,  she spent the next year in Melbourne, before joining her family at Cape Bridgewater where her father James Kittson had settled.  She married Reverend William LIGHTBODY, a Wesleyan minister in 1852.  This obituary is a “must read”.  Mrs LIGHTBODY, as she was known for most of her life, was the last surviving member of her family and the obituary gives a glimpse at how the KITTSON’S came to be in Australia.

Obituary. (1929, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from

Adrian ANDERSON – Died January 16, 1932, Horsham.  This is a first for Passing of the Pioneers.  Adrian ANDERSON was an immigrant from the United States.  Wisconsin to be precise.  He arrived aged four, with his parents and resided in Western Australia until he was 10.  The family moved to Victoria, where he remained.  He ran a shop in Jeparit before his death in the Horsham Base Hospital.

Agnes Sarah COOK - Died January 18, 1942, Casterton.  This obituary begins “Born in a small house on the banks of the  Glenelg River at Casterton 79 years ago…”.  Agnes was a lady that like the past and the future, knowledgeable about the history of Casterton, she also liked to predict the future.  Agnes married  Robert SYLVESTER and they had four children.

Helen GULL  – Died January 18, 1942, Casterton.  Helen was born on the ship “Helen” during her parents’ voyage to Australia in 1852.  The GULL family became respected pioneers throughout the Western District.  Helen married Frederick PERRY in 1876 and they resided at well known Western District properties, Rifle Downs at Digby and Runnymeade at Sandford.  Frederick later ran the Digby Hotel.

Passing of the Pioneers

The final “Passing of the Pioneers” for 2011 sees another 13 Western District pioneers remembered.  That takes the number of obituaries recorded into the sixties.  The information in each listing is from the newspaper obituary which is a secondary source.  If I have found a pioneer interesting, I may include further information, for which there will be a reference available. All “Passing of the Pioneers” posts can be found under “Obituary” in the Category tab in the side bar.

“Passing of the Pioneers” will be back in 2012 and with more Western District newspapers available at Trove, there were will be even more obituaries to choose from. I have also updated the post “The Horsham Times goes Digital” to reflect the current additions at Trove.

Mrs Bridget Priscilla JENNINGS – Died December 1904 at Hamilton.  Bridget was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1834 and arrived in Australia in 1848.  She married John Jennings in Adelaide in 1849 and they moved to Hamilton in 1852 where she resided until her death.

Richard PRICE – Died December 15, 1904 at Milltown.  Richard Price arrived in Victoria in the late 1850s and settled at Digby.  He later went on to Heywood before making his final home at Milltown where he worked in the sawmilling trade.  He had eight sons and two daughters.

John PERMEWAN – Died December 23, 1904 at Ballarat.  Born around 1837, John Permewan gave his name to the well known stores of Victoria, Permewan Wright & Co. He was known around Australia in commercial circles.  Permewans still exists in Hamilton.  It has seen a couple of name and location changes, but I would often visit there with my parents in the 1970s and 80s for horse feed and saddlery, but it also stocked hardware and still does today.

Mrs Effie McLEOD – Died December 1914 at Romsey.  Effie McLeod is the oldest pioneer I have come across to date.  She died at aged 106.  Effie was from the Isle of Skye, Scotland and arrived in Australia in around 1852.

Mrs Margaret MULRANEY – Died December 16, 1914 at Nhill.  Margaret was the wife of Bernhardt Mulraney and they arrived in Australia from Ireland during the 1850s.  After spending time around Hamilton,Mt. Gambier and Goroke, they settled in the Mallee at Nhill.  Margaret was 80 at the time of her death.

John HARRIES – Died December 18, 1914 at Stawell.  John Harries was born at Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1843 and arrived in Stawell in 1875.  Like many with Welshmen, John could sing and was a member of Prout’s band at Ballarat and sang in the Presbyterian church choir.

John THORNTON – Died December 15, 1919 at Mount Myrtoon.  John was born in Yorkshire in 1835 and travelled to Australia at age 18.  He spent time in Melbourne and Gippsland before settling at Mount Myrtoon.  He set up a successful stock and station business with links to Dalgetys. He was an accomplished cricketer and played for Victoria in his younger days.  He was the Melbourne Cricket Club’s oldest member at the time of his death.

Mary D. McLEOD – Died December 1928 at Narracoorte.   Mary McLeod was born in the Isle of Skye in 1842.  After her mother died when she was 11, her father moved the family to Australia.  Mary took on the role of mother to her younger brothers.  After they arrived in Melbourne, they travelled to Portland and then Narracoorte, South Australia by bullock wagon.   She later married Angus MORRISON and they eight children while living around the Apsley area.

Mrs Benjamin LEAR – Died December 17, 1932 at Branxholme.  Mrs Lear was born in Edinburgh and having seen the boat the Julia Percy built in Scotland, she was offered passage to Australia by the ship’s directors, whom she knew.  Her husband worked on the Julia Percy, and continued to do so for some years after.  Mrs Lear would have been popular among Portland  children.  She was a confectioner, with a shop in Bentick Street, Portland for many years.

Annie PITTS – Died December 12, 1934 at Portland.  Annie Pitts was born in Somerset, England and travelled to Australia with her parents, James and Sarah when she was three.  She married John JENNINGS of Portland when she was 21 and they had 10 children.  Annie was 85 at the time of her death.

Louisa BROWN – Died December 26, 1937 at Camperdown.  Louisa was just a baby when her family arrived in Victoria from Westminster, England.  She married Henry SHARP, a stonemason, at Terang.  They had four daughters and five sons, with the sons forming a quarrying business, Sharp Bros.

OBITUARY. (1937, December 30). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from

Nicholas WHITE – Died December 17, 1942 at Portland.  Born in 1869 at Cape Bridgewater, Nicholas was a farmer but a keen sporting interest and was knowledgeable about all matters of  cricket and horse racing.  His wife had previously passed away and they had one married daughter, Ethel.

James Trotter KITTSON  – Died December 11, 1945 at Cape Bridgewater.  James was a member of the pioneering Kittson family.

OBITUARY. (1945, December 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 26, 2011, from

James left a wife, son and daughter and was buried at the Bridgewater cemetery.

Passing of the Pioneers

November sees more interesting obituaries from the “Portland Guardian“.  The “Horsham Times” is now available at Trove, so I have included obituaries from that paper.

Read about a long time manager of “Burswood”, the Henty homestead, a man who grew new teeth at 80 and two women who lived in the same houses for over 60 years.

Benjamin EDRICH – Died November 18, 1887, Portland.  The “Portland Guardian” reported at the time of Benjamin EDRICH’s death that another resident “had been removed by the hand of the Grim Destroyer”.  Benjamin had been in the hotel business for many years.

George BUSH – Died November 18, 1909, Portland.  George BUSH arrived in Portland in 1853 in his early twenties.  A seaman, George was instrumental in rescuing  passengers from the wreck of the “Jane” at Bridgewater some years later.

Peter GOLDSMITH – Died November 23, 1909, Portland.  Peter GOLDSMITH arrived in Portland in 1853 aboard the “Cornelius” captained by Thomas H. CLARKE. Clarke’s son Thomas Denton CLARKE was mentioned in the October Passing of the Pioneers.  Four months after his arrival Peter GOLDSMITH married Miss BLAY and they had nine children.  He was 85 at the time of his death.

Michael TOBIN – Died November 13, 1916, Murtoa.  The “Horsham Times” reported the death of Michael Tobin, a Justice of the Peace and former Councillor with the Dunmunkle Shire.  Michael arrived at Geelong in 1853, with his parents from Kilkenny, Ireland.  He worked with his father who ran a carrying business to the diggings.  Michael later lived in the Warrnambool area where he married Mary CLUNE.  In 1872, Michael was one of the first settlers in the Wimmera.

Obituary. (1916, November 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from

George JARRATT – Died November 1919, Portland.  George JARRATT arrived in 1848 to Portland and married soon after.  He and his wife, a daughter of Thomas KEAN, had 12 children.

Rose Genevive McCRYSTAL – Died November 8, 1920, Caulfield.  Rose McCRYSTAL, was the daughter of well-known Portland resident Pat McCrystal.  She married W. PEARSON, and moved to Hamilton.  After her husband was killed in a buggy accident, she moved back to Portland where she married Antonio RIZZO in 1891.  They later returned to Hamilton.

William POLAND – Died November 20, 1922, Portland.  William POLAND arrived in Portland in 1856.  He met Edward HENTY and acquired the position of manager of “Burswood”, the Henty’s original homestead.  William held the position for 25 years.

“HOME, SWEET HOME.”. (1934, November 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 1 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from

Mrs ROW – Died November 3, 1923, Portland. I enlarged this obituary to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

OBITUARY. (1923, November 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from

Mrs Row was 94 when she died in 1923, however the obituary reads she arrived in Portland in 1836 as a married woman!  I think this may have been a typo.

Mrs Isabella ROBB – Died November 8, 1927, Portland.  Mrs ROBB managed to pass Mrs ROW (above) for the longest time in one house.  She lived in the same house for 65 years.  Originally from Scotland, Isabella arrived in Portland aboard the “Indian Ocean” in 1854 with her husband William.  She was 96 when she died and left seven children, 23 grandchildren, 29 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild.  She was buried at the North Portland Cemetery.

Sarah MILLARD  – Died November 10, 1927, Paschendale.  Sarah MILLARD was the daughter of William MILLARD of Narrawong.  She married William Henry ANNETT in 1870 and they 10 children, eight sons and two daughters.  William or Henry as he was known was also known as the “Father of Wallacedale”.  He died only weeks earlier than Sarah on September 29.  Unfortunately I missed his obituary for the September Passing of the Pioneers, as it appeared in an October issue, but it will definitely appear in September 2012.  Henry’s obituary is one of the best I have read, and what a life he led, especially before he married Sarah.  If you can wait until next year, this is the link:  Obituary of William Henry Annett.  I also spent too much time trying to find a link between Sarah MILLARD and William MILLARD, the winner of the first Stawell Gift.  He may have been Sarah’s brother, but there were a lot of Millards.  Research for another time.

Mrs Agnes CHEQUER – Died November 10, 1942, Horsham.  Agnes CHEQUER arrived in Brisbane with her new husband Ralph in 1886 aboard the “Roma“, having married in their home country of Scotland before departing.  Over the years they spent time in Melbourne, Portland and Quantong.  At Quantong, the CHEQUERS cleared the land and planted orchards and for thirty years Agnes helped Ralph with the orchard work.  One memorable events in the CHEQUERS was in 1911 when they travelled to England for the coronation of King George V.

James COLES – Died November 18, 1944, Stawell.  James COLES was born in the mid 1850s close to the Melbourne GPO.  After time in Avoca, James moved to Stawell as a teenager, later to marry Louisa GILHAM.  He remained in Stawell until his death at 91, aside from a short stint at nearby Fyans Creek.

Thomas THOMPSON – Died November 17, 1945, Portland.  Thomas THOMPSON from Ireland, began his time in Australia in Western Australia as a miner.  Unsuccessful he headed to Victoria and the Portland district.

OBITUARY. (1945, November 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from

Annie KERR – Died November 1947, Portland.  Annie KERR was the daughter of early Portland residents, her father a doctor.  Interesting that he had not practiced before his arrival in Portland!  Annie went on to marry John NEWTON.

J.L.R.BAKER – Died November 27, 1950, Hamilton.  J.L.R.BAKER appears to have been a single gentleman who enjoyed tennis and summer trips to Portland.  The obituary reported he was known throughout the Commonwealth for his calligraphy skill.

Carl Frederick Wilhelm PULS – Died November 12, 1953, Lower Norton.  Carl PULS had many claims to fame, but one was his ability to grow new teeth at the age of 80.  Carl was a respected pioneer of the Horsham district and was sadly found dead by his car after a trip to gather wood.

John BERRY – Died November 12, 1953, Horsham.  John BERRY’S death came on the same day as Carl ULS (above).  The BERRY family were pioneers in the Blackheath district, north of Horsham.  They later moved to Horsham and John attended the Horsham State School.  John married Ethel KNIPE of Ballarat and worked at Horsham car dealer Wilson Bolton for over 40 years.  He held one of the first driving licenses in Victoria, but had driven previous to that, in a time when a licences was not required…scary.  I noted that John had a brother James from Hamilton.  This may have been the same James BERRY of James Berry & Sons Jewellers , a long established business in Hamilton when I was growing up there in the 1970s and 80s.


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