Category Archives: Western District History

“Claremont” Portland

It’s been 18 months since our Portland visit and I’m still trying to find a moment to share some photos.  Recently I got around to writing the Portland Botanical Gardens post that had sat in my drafts for months with just photos waiting to be fleshed out.  It’s the fleshing out that is my downfall as you will see soon see.

While in Portland, I stole myself away and took the Portland Historic Buildings walking tour.   Incredibly for a town of its size, there are more than 200 buildings in the Portland CBD that date back to the 1800s.  It was on that self-guided tour that I found “Claremont” at 65 Julia Street, just along from the St Stephen’s Church.

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I had only intended to share the photos of “Claremont” and give a small amount of information about the former residents, but as usual, once I got searching at Trove I couldn’t leave it at that.  There was very little information about “Claremont” elsewhere online, save for an entry on the Victorian Heritage Database that only gave the person who had the house built and an early resident, information I had from the walking tour guide.  But it was Trove that took the story of “Claremont” an extra step.  Or two.

Stephen George Henty  had “Claremont”  built in 1852.  He rented the property to his brother Francis, but Francis only used “Claremont” as his seaside residence while his country residence was Merino Downs Station” and his city residence was “Field Place”  at Kew in Melbourne.

BUILDING an Aristocracy for AUSTRALIA. (1934, December 15). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 19. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58435596

FRANCIS AND MARY-ANN HENTY – BUILDING an Aristocracy for AUSTRALIA. (1934, December 15). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 19. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58435596

As “Claremont” was not a permanent home there was not much to be found about it in the papers until 1889 when Francis Henty passed away at “Field Place“.  He left “Claremont” and the furniture to his daughter Caroline Henty (1849-1914).  As he was able to bequeath “Claremont“, formally owned by his brother , it is likely that Stephen Henty left the house to Francis at the time of his own death in 1872.  I have not been able to find information about Stephen Henty’s estate at either PROV or Trove.

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

The Will of the late Mr. Franis Henty. (1889, March 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63592299

The three daughters of Francis Henty also inherited “Merino Downs”.

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

The Late Mr. Francis Henty. (1889, March 16). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), p. 513. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19812393

In 1900, the sisters registered a Deed of Partition and “Merino Downs” was split into three separate properties, “Merino Downs”, “Talisker” and “Wurt Wurt Koort”  with each sisters retaining a property each.  Caroline took charge of “Talisker Estate .

Caroline was quite a catch and a year after her father’s passing she married  Alexander Magnus McLeod (1846-1910), not a bad catch himself.  With Caroline and Alexander living at the “Talisker Estate”, Alexander’s spinster sisters Catherine (1845-1919) and Constance (1859-1934) and, at times, his bachelor brother Wallace (1855-1919) took up residence at “Claremont“.

The McLeods were the children of John Norman Mcleod and Agnes Patterson.  John owned “Castlemaddie” at Tyrendarra and “Maretimo” at Portland.  Incidentally, John purchased “Castlemaddie” and while he was waiting for the sale to go through, he had “Maretimo” built.  Constance was born at “Maretimo” in 1859.

"MARETIMO", PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895.  Photographer: O.Dolphin.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no.  H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

“MARETIMO”, PORTLAND, VICTORIA. ca.1874-ca.1895. Photographer: O.Dolphin. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H31761 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/172772

While I can’t find when Alexander McLeod’s siblings went to live at “Claremont“, at least one Miss McLeod was in residence  in 1902, although she was heading off for a summer holiday.

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

[No heading]. (1902, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 10. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page332030

Another possible guide was the death of the McLeod sister’s mother Agnes Patterson in 1901.  Her obituary stated  she had moved into town from “Castlemaddie” and passed away in Julia Street.

There was also a death of a baby at “Claremont” in 1904.  I did try to find a link between Phyllis Mary Crawford and the McLeods or the Hentys, but after a quick look without success, I gave up.  The story was getting deep enough.

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Family Notices. (1904, April 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10315347

Claremont” hosted the St. Stephen’s girls confirmation class in April 1909 as they gave thanks to Catherine and Constance for making their confirmation veils.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1909, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63987683

The Portland branch of the Australian Women’s National League was established during a meeting at “”Claremont” in January 1911.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1911, January 11). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63979327

Through the years, the  McLeod sisters occasionally ran advertisements looking for staff.  In 1912, a general servant was required.

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

Advertising. (1912, December 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64003591

In 1914, Caroline McLeod (Henty) passed away.  Her probate documents listed “Claremont” and the two acres of land it stood on to the value of £160,000.  Her estate was placed in trust for her two daughters Caroline Agnes Henty McLeod ( 1892-1943) and Alexandra Frances Henty McLeod (1894-1943) aged 22 and 20 respectively at the time of their mother’s death.  In the meantime the girls’ aunts and uncle continued to live at “Claremont“.

In July 1919, Wallace McLeod passed away aged 64 at “Claremont“.

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Portland Guardian. (1919, July 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959256

Two months later his older sister, Catherine was dead.

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

Portland Guardian First Issue August 20, 1842. (1919, September 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63959741

The death of her brother and sister in such close succession, led Constance to reconsider her future at “Claremont“.  On June 9, 1920 she held a auction of furniture.

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

Advertising. (1920, June 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021540

A week later, her friends gave her a send off in the St Stephen’s Parish Hall.

ST STEPHEN'S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH HALL, PORTLAND

Constance was going on an extended holiday.  She was most likely heading to New Zealand to stay with her sister Jessie, married to Frederick Loisel.  Jessie  was present at the send off and lived in New Zealand by that time.

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Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

Presentation to Miss McLeod. (1920, June 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021677

In 1934,  Constance passed away in New Zealand.  She and her sister Jessie had just departed Hamilton, New Zealand bound for Portland for the Portland Century Celebrations, when Constance fell ill and died.

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

Obituary. (1934, October 8). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64286992

After the deaths of Wallace and Catherine and the departure of Constance, “Claremont” was vacant.  In June 1920, the Estate of Caroline Henty, advertised “Claremont” for lease by tender with a term of three years.

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

Advertising. (1920, June 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64021641

There is something about the  staircase in the foyer of “Claremont”.  I think it is because I can imagine the likes of Mrs Mary-Ann Henty, wife of Francis, or her daughter Caroline, sweeping done the stairs in their crinolines while in summer residence.  The State Library of Victoria holds a photograph of Caroline Henty in her crinoline, if you care to imagine further.

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Taking up the lease of “Claremont” in 1920 was Caroline Florence McLean , daughter of Hector McLean and Mary Ann Humphries of Casterton.  Only a year after her arrival another death occurred at “Claremont“, that of returned WW1 soldier Benjamin Byard.   Reading Benjamin’s War  Service Record I found that he only made it as far as England when he fell ill with tuberculous.  He spent time in hospital in England before returning to Melbourne and was again confined.  Once released he travelled to his hometown of Casterton to meet up with friends.  It was suggested to him that he visit Portland and he ended  up at the home of Caroline McLean.

When I initially found this story, I couldn’t understand how Ben just seem to pitch his tent in “Claremont’s” front yard. It was after finding out more about Caroline that I found her Casterton link and that went a long way to explaining how Ben chose her front yard to pitch his tent.

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

A Pathetic Ending. (1921, August 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64024369

It was a happier time at “Claremont” in June 1922, when Maud McLean of Casterton, Caroline’s sister, married James Anderson of East Malvern, at St Stephens Church.  The wedding breakfast was held at “Claremont

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

Family Notices. (1922, June 22). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64026127

After seven years at “Claremont” it was time for Caroline to move on.  An afternoon tea was held as a send off.  One of the attendees was Sarah Wadmore, author of Portland’s Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

Valedictory Tea. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64256993

After the departure of Caroline McLean, “Claremont” was put up for sale as a guest house.

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

Advertising. (1927, May 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64257015

By November 1927, “Claremont‘ was a guest house accommodating professionals such as Nurse Frances the Chiropodist.

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

The Portland Guardian. (1927, November 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259180

There were vacancies at “Claremont in June 1929.

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

Advertising. (1929, June 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269647

While I can’t find who owned “Claremont” at this point, I do know that Janet Kosch took over the registration of the boarding house in 1930.  Prior to that there was a Mrs McIntosh and then Norman McIntyre holding the registration.

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

Borough Council. (1930, November 20). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64293741

In 1934, the two acres of land that made up the “Claremont” property were subdivided.  Again it is not clear who the vendor was, the Henty estate or a new owner from a possible sale back in 1927.

"Claremont" Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

“Claremont” Sud-division. (1934, October 15). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287062

Mrs Kosch was still running the “Claremont” guest house in 1943 when her son visited her and her husband while on leave from service.

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

NEWS OF THE FORCES. (1943, October 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64387036

In 1948, after 18 years running the “Claremont” guest house, Mrs Kosch retired.  She held a furniture sale on April 22, 1948.  In 1952 she passed away at Heywood.

    Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

Advertising. (1948, April 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64414613

“Claremont” continued on as a guest house to at least 1954.   In recent years it has been a bed and breakfast and an art gallery, as it was when I visited.  It has also been for sale.  The listing is seen on this link:  http://www.homehound.com.au/65+julia+street+portland+vic+3305/       The verandah has changed and a photo of the original verandah can be seen on this link http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72863

In at least the first 100 years of existence “Claremont” was many things but never a family home.  There were  never children raised under its roof or playing in the yard, memories were never kept of a treasured family home.  It was always a temporary house, even when the Misses McLeods and Miss McLean where in residence, they were more out than in.  Now. at the end of my search, I think the reason I kept digging for information is that I wanted to find “Claremont’ as a home, not a just summer residence or a guest house, but I never did.

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It’s Official

Door locked.  Check.  Phone off.  Check.  Coffee. Check.  Chocolate. Check.  It’s time to hit Trove. The Hamilton Spectator has arrived!

 

[No heading]. (1918, May 16). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 1. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page13332555

[No heading]. (1918, May 16). Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 1. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page13332555

Margaret Kiddle wrote in Men of Yesterday: a social history of the Western District of Victoria 1834-1890 (1961)

“The Hamilton Spectator…was known as ‘the Argus of the west’.  In a district chiefly pastoral it remained conservative in tone but its reporting both of local and larger events was excellent.  Moreover it ran special articles of high literary merit such as Peter Campbell’s ‘Rough Sketches of Colonial Life’ which were published during the sixties.  In the eighties, it gave sound information through weekly agricultural letters”. (p. 457)

Margaret Kiddle’s description of a 19th century Hamilton Spectator could be from today.  The district is still a farming area, there is still excellent reporting on all events, special articles and agriculture news.  The conservatism, from the time of editors such as George Mott or his successor George Rippon, however,  is no longer a part of the paper’s make up.  Rather, the Spectator claims it is neutral.  This stance and the history of the Hamilton Spectator is available to read in an  historic  timeline of the paper on their website.

I grew up with The Spec.  Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon we would get our Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday editions.  Go figure.  Mum had a shop and a paper boy would drop her copy off.  Small change would sit on the counter awaiting his arrival.  Alternatively, Nana would go to the newsagent in the main street and wait, with others, for the Spec to arrive.  If all that failed, we could always stop at the milk bar on our way home.

To our family and most others in Hamilton, the Spec was, and still is, an important part of daily life.  Each edition meant something different for everyone.   For me, the Thursday edition would have the netball draw for the weekly match at Pedrina Park. The Tuesday paper would have the results of the netball, more times than not a losing result for my team.  Saturday was the big edition with more classifieds, maybe a farming supplement, and weekend “Amusements”.

“Amusements”?   Having grown up in Hamilton during in the 1970s and 1980s, I now delve into my childhood memories and the file “Hamilton Amusements” is practically empty.  The grand picture theatre became an army disposals store in the mid 1970s, there was an occasional roller skating rink, Blue Light discos and drives to Lake Hamilton to delight at water going over the spillway after heavy rain… but no matter how trivial the “amusement”, we could find it in the  Spec.

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After I left Hamilton in 1986, I kept reading the Spectator.  Mum remained in Hamilton for the following nine years and she saved them for me.  When she left Hamilton there was a dilemma, how would we get the Specs?  Thankfully a generous family member saved us copies.  They would deliver a box full of Specs when they passed through town.  Mum and Nana would read them first and then pass them on to me.   We have another family member living in Hamilton now and she passes them on to my Dad to read, then on to me and then Mum.

I particularly like the regular history features and the Tuesday regular “Where Are They Now”.  I’m often tear out articles, about Western District history or items about family members.  I don’t do this with my current local paper that I don’t buy.  It is run by a large multimedia company and that is the difference.  That is why I prefer to read the Spectator.  It is a run by a small company with only two other papers, the Portland Observer and the Casterton News under its control and it is for that reason the Spec, I believe, is in touch with the community and gives readers what they want, local content and an outlet for opinion and debate.

The Spectator is not the only paper that as come online during the past few days useful to Western District researchers.  There is also the Cobden Times and Heytesbury Advertiser (1914-1918), the Cobden Times (1918), the Clunes Guardian and Gazette (1914-1918) and the Creswick Advertiser (1914-1918).  I have found a wonderful article about my great-uncle Bill Riddiford in the Creswick Advertiser and an article about my great-grandfather in the also recently released Lang Lang Guardian (1914-1918) from Gippsland.  I will share both in future Trove Tuesday posts.

Now it’s time to get back to Trove.  Although there are only four years of Specs online there are 267 matches for Harman, 418 matches for Hadden and 112 for Diwell  just some of the names I am searching.  I will have to stay patient however, many of the articles I want to read are still in  the “coming soon” status so I will have to wait for my Electronic Friend to tell me when they are available but there are exciting times ahead.

 


Portland Botanical Gardens

The Western District has many historic botanic gardens, most established from the 1850s to the 1870s when it was the thing for a town to do, if nothing else, to keep up with the neighbouring town.  For some it was scientific purposes, to acclimatise plants and sometimes animals, as with the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.  There is a sense of history walking through each garden and the tall specimen trees such as oaks, redwoods and pines whisper the tales of times past.

The Portland Botanical Gardens, like the rest of the town, ooze history.  Each botanic garden is unique in some way and Portland is no different and is unlike other gardens I have visited including  Hamilton and Geelong.

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

Land for the gardens was first marked out in 1851, but it took a few years of public meetings for the gardens to be established.  In 1853, the Honourary Secretary  remarked on the “advantages of  a botanical garden, and the study of botanical science”.

PORTLAND. (1853, August 5). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), p. 1 Edition: DAILY., Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE GEELONG ADVERTISER AND INTELLIGENCER. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86412916

PORTLAND. (1853, August 5). Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 – 1856), p. 1 Edition: DAILY., Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE GEELONG ADVERTISER AND INTELLIGENCER. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86412916

At a public meeting six months later, on February 4, 1854 chaired by James Blair, Stephen Henty proposed that a committee be formed to get the gardens up and running.

    BOTANICAL GARDEN. (1854, February 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved June 30, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71569639

BOTANICAL GARDEN. (1854, February 9). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved June 30, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71569639

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS c1891.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image No.  H42199/21 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/183906

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS c1891. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H42199/21 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/183906

Works began in 1858, assisted by Alexander Elliot from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, however a lack of funds was slowing progress.

MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF PORTLAND. (1858, March 5). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64570632

MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF PORTLAND. (1858, March 5). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64570632

By November however, the gardens were beginning to take shape and the curator’s cottage was under construction.

CURATOR'S COTTAGE

CURATOR’S COTTAGE

DOMESTIC INTELIGENCE. (1858, November 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64509473

DOMESTIC INTELIGENCE. (1858, November 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64509473

In 1859, a letter to the Portland Guardian questioned the practice of allowing horses to graze in the gardens overnight.  “Delta” wondered why the committee could keep their horses at the gardens while “the great unwashed are warned at the gate, Dogs not Admitted”

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510907

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510907

BOTANICAL GARDENS. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510906

BOTANICAL GARDENS. (1859, May 2). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64510906

If you visit the Portland Botanical Gardens, look up at the tall trees and think of those that planted them or as you walk the paths consider the hands that carved them.  The story behind these features is my favourite story about the gardens.

Table Talk. (1863, April 23). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64628622

Table Talk. (1863, April 23). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64628622

At a meeting of the Portland Historical Committee in 1932, the secretary told the story of the Chinese prisoners and their work at the Portland Botanical Gardens.

Historical Committee. (1932, March 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64297702

Historical Committee. (1932, March 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64297702

On the wall of the curator’s cottage is a plaque recognising previous curators of the gardens from the kindly William Allitt in 1861 through to Colin Ellingworth, curator from 1982-1987.

373Andrew Callander was curator from 1922-1949.  Upon his appointment, Mr Callander set about tidying up the gardens and building a ti-tree green house for seedling propagation.

    THE PORTLAND LIFEBOAT. (1926, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64252901

THE PORTLAND LIFEBOAT. (1926, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64252901

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H32492/1655 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64772

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/1655 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64772

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/66929

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/66929

At one time both croquet and tennis were played at the gardens and there were often tensions between the two groups and any other group that hoped to share the space.

TABLE TALK. (1876, November 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63336790

TABLE TALK. (1876, November 3). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63336790

THE LAWN TENNIS GROUND AGAIN. (1887, September 2). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65410048

THE LAWN TENNIS GROUND AGAIN. (1887, September 2). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65410048

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CROQUET LAWN

Croquet won out and is still played today.  The tennis courts were converted to rose gardens.  The rosary was first proposed in 1930 but it was 1931 before there was further action.

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Borough Council. (1931, April 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64294863

Borough Council. (1931, April 13). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64294863

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“Wandering Willie’s Wife” visited the Portland Botanical Gardens in 1926 and felt compelled to write a letter to the editor of the Portland Guardian on the subject of a nameless lifeboat on display in the gardens.  Could it have been the lifeboat, captained by James Fawthrop, used to rescue  survivors from the wreck of the  S.S. Admella ?  Why wasn’t there a name plaque?

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THE PORTLAND LIFEBOAT. (1926, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 10, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64252901

Three years later, “Wandering Willie’s Wife” wrote to the editor again, prompted by the announcement that a “tablet” with the story of the  lifeboat Portland would be placed beside the boat.

OUR LETTER BOX. (1929, May 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269425

OUR LETTER BOX. (1929, May 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64269425

The lifeboat is now removed from the elements and is housed in the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre.

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LIFEBOAT PORTLAND

ABC Southwest broadcast a story about the Portland Botanic Gardens in March 2009.  The story, including audio and better photos than my own (excluding the wonderful historic photos I found at Trove) can be found by following the link http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2009/03/26/2525642.htm

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)


On the ALG Trail

It must be said, I am an unabashed Adam Lindsay Gordon fan.  Stories of his horsemanship got me in the first time I visited Blue Lake around age seven, during the mid 1970s. As a horse girl, the idea of a man and his horse jumping over the edge of the lake was fascinating .

Unlike school children of the first half of the 20th century, Adam Lindsay Gordon’s poetry was not on the curriculum by the 1970s and 80s. Therefore, my introduction to his poetry was the 1946 edition of  Poems of Adam Lindsay Gordon found in a second-hand book shop.  By then I had heard of his horse racing deeds, his tragic and untimely death and visited his cottage in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.  How did a dare-devil horseman write such tender words?  How could a hardened horse-breaker, find beauty in the death of a steeplechaser in The Last Leap?

“Satin coat that seems to shine

Duller now, black braided tress,

That a softer hand than mine

Far away was wont to twine

That in meadows from this

Softer lips might kiss

..

All is over! this is death,

And I stand to watch thee die,

Brave old horse! with ‘bated breath

Hardly drawn through tight-clenched teeth

Lid indented deep, but eye

Only dull and dry”

(Extract from The Last Leap, first published: Sea Spary and Smoke Drift, Gordon, Adam Lindsay, Melbourne : George Robertson, 1867.)

ADAM GORDON. (1911, July 1). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 8. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58447919

ADAM GORDON. (1911, July 1). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 8. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58447919

During our recent visit to Nelson, we crossed the border into South Australia to visit nearby Port McDonnell.  Just out of the town is Dingley Dell Conservation Park, site of  Dingley Dell Cottage, once a holiday home of Adam Lindsay Gordon.  On the day, the temperature was in the low forties and a Total Fire ban, forced the closure of the cottage.  That was disappointing as the cottage houses some great ALG memorabilia, but we still could explore the grounds.

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Gordon spent a lot of time writing while at Dingley Dell during the years 1864 to 1868. He published his work “The Feud” in the Border Watch in August 1864 and wrote poems such as “The Song of the Surf”  inspired by the rugged limestone coast.

In 1912, ALG’s widow, Margaret Park, then Mrs Peter Low, recalled Dingley Dell in an interview published in the Chronicle (Adelaide)

ADAM LINDSAY GORDON. (1912, March 30). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 39. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88693399

ADAM LINDSAY GORDON. (1912, March 30). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), p. 39. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88693399

This is the cottage in 1891.  It was still owned by the Gordon family at that time.

Image Courtesty of State Library of South Australia B16893 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/17000/B16893.htm

DINGLEY DELL circa 1891 Image Courtesty of State Library of South Australia B16893 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/17000/B16893.htm

Again, around 1907.

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DINGLEY DELL, circa 1907 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia B45883 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/55000/B54883.htm

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IMG_20130104_102317_671

The day we left Nelson,we continued on the ALG trail  to Mt Gambier’s Blue Lake, site of Gordon’s legendary leap.  Set in a volcanic crater, Blue Lake itself is full of mystery and on the day the water was eddying and swirling. Add the tale of  Adam Lindsay Gordon and it was almost haunting.

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During Gordon’s life, and the early years after his death in 1870, despite having some published works, his poetry largely went unrecognised.  It was publications after his death that, by the late 1870s, saw him gain critical acclaim in Australia and overseas and his star began to rise.

The Argus. (1877, October 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5941600

The Argus. (1877, October 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5941600

Searching newspaper articles from his life and beyond, it was the mid 1880s that the legend of Gordon really took off.

Try as I might, including searching the Border Watch every year from 1861 until 1885, I could not find any articles from during his lifetime about the “famous leap”.  Obviously there are limited editions of the paper, particularly through the 1860s.  For example the August 30, 1864 edition in which Gordon’s “The Feud” was published is not available.

It was 1881 before I could find any reference at all and it was written as though the leap was common knowledge. Surely I could have found some mention over a 20 year period, even in with limited editions.  Even obituaries at the time of his death did not mention “Gordon’s Leap”.   The  December 31, 1881 issue of the Northern Argus (Clare, S.A.)  included the article Notes of a Holiday to the South East described Gordon’s feat at Blue Lake.

NOTES OF A HOLIDAY TRIP TO THE SOUTH-EAST. (1881, December 13). Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97285462

NOTES OF A HOLIDAY TRIP TO THE SOUTH-EAST. (1881, December 13). Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97285462

A  Letter to the Editor in the Border Watch of August 28, 1886 was the next reference I found,  proposed the erection of a monument to Gordon.  From that time on there was rarely an article written about Adam Lindsay Gordon that didn’t mention his leap.

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THE POET GORDON. (1886, August 28). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77547978

THE POET GORDON. (1886, August 28). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77547978

This touching letter from H.W. Varley of Adelaide came with “a couple of guineas” enclosed.

THE GORDON MEMORIAL. (1886, September 15). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77548266

THE GORDON MEMORIAL. (1886, September 15). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77548266

Despite a number of men present on the day of “the leap”, consensus could not be reached on the exact point Gordon jumped the fence.  Nor could they agree to the exact nature of the leap or the horse Gordon was riding, was it Modesty of Red Lancer? Even the exact day is unclear.  The Mt Gambier Aquifer Tours website, suggests it was the day after the Border Handicap Steeplechase during the winter of 1864.  I found the results of that race in the Border Watch of July 29, 1864.  The race was on Wednesday July 27, 1864.

MOUNT GAMBIER RACES. (1864, July 29). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77009190

MOUNT GAMBIER RACES. (1864, July 29). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77009190

This makes sense as the leap apparently occurred after a bet was placed by Gordon on a “square up” race with the first and second placegetters, Robert Learmonth and William Trainor.

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BLUE LAKE LOOKING TOWARDS THE AREA (ON LEFT) OF ADAM LINDSAY GORDON’S LEAP

The obelisk was finally placed at a site suggested by William “Billy” Trainor one of Gordon’s closest friends and confidants.  It was right that the American Billy, a former circus performer, was at the laying of the foundation stone as was John Riddoch another of Gordon’s confidants.  In the last years of Gordon’s life, he corresponded extensively with Riddoch sharing his deepest feelings.  The letters were published in 1970 in  The Last Letters 1868-1870:  Adam Lindsay Gordon to John Riddoch.

MEMORIAL OF A. L. GORDON. (1887, July 9). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 5. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46794085

MEMORIAL OF A. L. GORDON. (1887, July 9). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 5. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46794085

188

The same view toward the monument taken around 1930.

Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia B72412 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/72500/B72412.htm

Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia B72412 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/72500/B72412.htm

IMG_20130105_100617_888

From Mt. Gambier we crossed the border back into Victoria and the Western District.  We were soon heading for the “Fields of Coleraine”.  Coleraine racecourse was one often frequented by ALG.  Part two of the five-part Hippodromania is the verse “The Fields of Coleraine

On the fields of Col’raine there’ll be labour in vain

Before the Great Western is ended,

The nags will have toil’d, and the silks will be soil’d.

And the rails will require to be mended.

..

For the gullies are deep, and the uplands are steep.

And mud will of purls be the token,

And the tough stringy-bark, that invites us to lark,

With impunity may not be broken.

(Extract from “The Fields of Coleraine”. Published in Sea Spray and Smoke Drift, 1867)

Unfortunately, keeping with  racing parlance, heads were turned for home and there was no stopping at Coleraine (I suppose I had called a rest stop at the Casterton Historical Society, 30 minutes earlier), so I have no photographs of the obelisk in Gordon’s honour beside the Glenelg Highway, east of Coleraine.  A little further on is the Coleraine Racecourse and opposite is Mt Koroit homestead, former home of John Kirby, owner of 1911 Melbourne Cup winner The Parisian.

Before Gordons’s death, he spent time in Ballarat and that is where my ALG trail ended but where it will resume at another time.  However, it was during his time in Ballarat that Gordon suffered his greatest loss, the death of his 11 month old daughter Annie.  He plunged into deep sorrow and moved to Melbourne where he wrote his last poems, his melancholy evident.  Alice’s death, a bad race fall and ongoing financial difficulties saw him sink to his lowest ebb.  He eventually took his own life on Brighton Beach on June 24, 1870 at the age of 36.

When Adam Lindsay Gordon died,  little was written about him, save for coroner’s findings and the standard obituaries, but this moving piece, from the Australian Town and Country Journal  months after his death, by the “Wandering Bohemiem”, a literary writer, brings to light a man many of his Western District contemporaries never saw, and a side only those  of the “supreme brotherhood” would truly understand.  The extract of verse, taken from “A Song of Autumn” published in 1870, was apparently the last he wrote. Clearly written with his dear Annie in his heart it shows the depths he had sunken to.

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LITERATURE. (1871, February 18). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 18. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70464980

LITERATURE. (1871, February 18). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 18. Retrieved January 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70464980

And Eastward by Nor’ward

Looms sadly my track,

And I must ride forward,

And still I look back,—

Look back — Ah, how vainly!

For while I see plainly,

My hands on the reins lie

Uncertain and slack.

..

The warm wind breathes strong breath,

The dust dims mine eye,

And I draw one long breath,

And stifle one sigh.

Green slopes  softly shaded,

Have flitted and faded —

My dreams flit as they did —

Good-night!— and — Good-bye!

(Extract from  “A Basket of Flowers”, Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes, Bush ballads and galloping rhymes /​ by the author of “Ashtaroth”. [A.L. Gordon]. Melbourne : Clarson, Massina, and Co., General Printers, 1870.

SOURCES:

Adam Lindsay Gordon Craft Cottage

The Adam Lindsay Gordon Commemorative Committee Inc

Brighton Cemetery

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online

Dingley Dell Cottage

Mt. Gambier Aquifier Tours

Trove Australia


Ship Mates

The Casterton Historical Society newsletters, as featured in Nifty Newsletters, ran a series of extracts from the book Tales of Casterton: the Waines murder and other stories by Jack Gorman.  In the September 2005 issue, Part 1 of the story stated that convicted murderer George Waines arrived in Victoria aboard the Duke of Richmond.

This is a particularly interesting find as my ggg grandmother, Margaret Diwell, who appeared as a witness at George’s murder trial, also arrived on the Duke of Richmond, along with her husband William.  This answers the question has to how she came to know the Waines, other than the fact they lived reasonably close together.

I have a database of Duke of Richmond arrivals and  I did a search but no George Waines.  I then went to an online passenger list of the Duke of Richmond that I often refer back to.  No George Waines.

So a-Troving I went.  An article from the Bendigo Advertiser, reporting on the hanging of Waines, supported his arrival on the Duke of Richmond.  But there seems to have been a case of mistaken identity Waines was keen to amend before his death.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

I did find a George Waines in the Australian Convict Transportation Registers(1791-1868) .  Convicted in Warwickshire,  he left England for Tasmania in 1843.

Back to the Duke of Richmond passenger list.  George’s wife was Jane so I thought I would look at  first names instead of surnames.  Sure enough, there was a George and Jane Whainer both aged 29 from Yorkshire.  George’s age matches his birth date of 1823, but Yorkshire?  Both the  Casterton Historical Society Newsletter and the article above, state George was born in Dorset, England, with the Bendigo Advertiser narrowing it down to Sherborne.

Back to Trove and look what I found:

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

POPULATION OF THE GOLDFIELDS. (1860, October 22). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87947401

George was from Yorkshire, Sherburn as opposed to Sherborne, Dorset.  This and the claim George “was one of the most notorious poachers in the district” helps support something I found on the England and Wales, Criminal Registers (1791-1892).  In 1849, George Waines of Yorkshire was sentenced to  three months imprisonment on a charge of larceny.  Maybe he wasn’t as squeaky clean as he wanted people to believe.  No matter the impression he tried to project, nothing could save him from the gallows.

Using FreeBDM I found a marriage of  George Waines in 1847, registered in the Scarborough district of Yorkshire.  From the same Volume there are two Janes, Jane Winter and Jane Jewett

That settled, back to the original aim of my post, the friendship between Margaret Diwell and the Waines, particularly Jane.  So it seems they met on the Duke of Richmond, the same ship another set of ggg grandparents sailed on, James and Susan Harman.  The Diwells spent around five years in Portland after arrival, then they went to Casterton in 1858.    The CHS newsletter says  that once in Casterton, the Diwells lived close to both the Waines and the Hunts.  As the Hunts purchased land off George Waines in 1856 at Casterton, the Waines must have arrived in town before the Diwells.

It sounds like Jane Waines would have been a good friend.  The CHS newsletter describes her as “a comely woman, a vivacious personality full of joy and fun…” . George was not described  in such a favourable way, although he did hold Jane in high regard.

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

EXECUTION OF THE CONVICT WAINES. (1860, July 18). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945170

Of course I did wonder what happened to Jane after George’s death.  George had thoughts about what she should do.

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

THE CASTERTON MURDER. (1860, April 30). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), p. 3. Retrieved February 6, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1204764

On the Victorian Marriage Index, a Jane Waines married Thomas James Brooks in 1861.  From there I lose her.  I can not find a death record for either Jane or a Thomas James Brooks that I can definitely say is them.  I can’t get a lead on the town Jane lived in so that is making it hard to search for her at Trove.  I wonder if she stayed on in Casterton?  Did Margaret Diwell see her again?  Did Margaret and Jane’s relationship falter during the trial period, given Margaret also knew Mrs Hunt well.  So many questions.

As the Harmans were also on the Duke of Richmond, I have a picture in my mind of James Harman, back in 1860 in Port Fairy, looking up from his paper of choice, maybe the Belfast Gazette and remarking “Do you remember the Waines and the Diwells from the ship Susan?”


Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored  for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of  Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

There are  the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on a letter she wrote on Christmas Day, 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry, comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women.  Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible.  This is where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also  listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed.   This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognized separately,  include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as a Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.


Nifty Newsletters

When I visit my local library and see masses of newsletters from the region’s family history and historical societies jammed into cardboard magazine holders, I think that while such a resource would be useful, where would I start?  Being a working mum with limited time, they are just not an option.  Also, membership of those societies would be great as I would receive a newsletter in the mail, but again my current status means I have to give consideration to each membership/subscription I take out.

Luckily some societies have newsletters available on their websites and I can read them easily from home when I choose.  Newsletters online that are the most helpful to my research are from the Casterton and District Historical Society (2005-2012) and the Warrnambool Family History Group (1990-1999 & 2004).  Both include a list of the main topics in each newsletter allowing me to easily select an issue.

The Casterton newsletter, “Historical Happenings” has items relevant to different areas of my research such as the History of the Casterton Racing Club Inc, a series of articles about the Hunt murders and Dance Halls and Orchestras of Casterton.  There is also information about surrounding towns such as Merino, Sandford and Wando Vale.  The March 2011 newsletter even recommends a new magazine called “Inside History.”  I’m sure many of us would endorse that recommendation!  The newsletter opens as a Word document.

The Warrnambool newsletter, “The South-West Genealogist“, includes indexes of Pioneer women of Victoria, school records and a lot of information on Irish settlers.  There are also many birth, deaths and marriages in the regular column “Historicals” and there are 19th-century BDMs notices from the “Hamilton Spectator” which have been most useful.  The newsletter opens as a PDF document.

Thank you to both for providing such a wonderful online resource.


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