Category Archives: Western District History

W is for…What Else Could It Be?

Naturally I had to rejoin the Gould Genealogy Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge at “W”.  W is for Western District and that means a lot to me not only because this blog is called “Western District Families”.  I was born and raised in the Western District and all the families of my maternal lines, going back six generations, chose to settle in the wonderful Western District.

One of the highlights of the Western District is the geography.  Entering from the east, the Western Plains lead to the rise of the Grampians and on to the volcanic plains and green rolling hills beyond.  To the south are the forests of the Otways, the south-west coastline and volcanic Tower Hill .

I will take you on a geographical journey through the Western District, just a glimpse really, beginning with two colonial artists, Nicholas Chevalier and my favourite, Eugene Von Guerard.  These  artists and others, traipsed around Victoria sketching and painting.  Von Guerard also travelled to Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand.  Looking at their paintings reminds me of the lives they lived for the sake of their art.

Chevalier’s sketch shows the Serra Range including Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt at the southern end of the Grampians.

View of the Grampians, Western District [art original] N. Chevalier.
State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/100967

Moving south-west, dormant volcano Mt Eccles near Macarthur has played a part in my family history.  My gg grandfather Reuben James Harman, son of James Harman, owned property at Mt Eccles.  It was also a favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

Crater of Mt. Eccles, von Guerard, Eugene,1811-1901,artist.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/46307

I prefer von Guerard’s depiction of Lake Surprise, the crater lake of Mt Eccles, to my own (below).  I remember as a child asking about the name “Lake Surprise”.  The answer:  When you get to the top of the crater and see the lake, you get a surprise.  Fair enough.

LAKE SURPRISE, MT ECCLES CRATER LAKE

A little north of Mt Eccles is the volcanic lava flow, the Harman Valley at Byaduk, named after my Harman family.  In the distance is the source of the lava, Mount Napier.

THE HARMAN VALLEY, BYADUK

To the south-east is Tower Hill, another dormant volcano.  It lies between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

TOWER HILL

Further south is the famous Loch Ard Gorge, named for the Loch Ard which wrecked on the treacherous coastline.  The only two survivors, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael were washed on to the beach at Loch Ard Gorge.

I find standing on the beach in the Gorge a haunting experience.

LOCH ARD GORGE

East along the coast line is one of the most iconic views, not only of Victoria, but Australia.

THE 12 APOSTLES

North-west, and back where we started, are the Grampians.

HALLS GAP, GRAMPIANS

The Grampians are a perfect place to leave the subject of the Western District and move on to another “W” which has been a part of my family since the 1860s, the Wannon River…

W is for…Wannon River

The Wannon River begins its’ flow at the base of Mt Abrupt in the Southern Grampians.  It flows toward Dunkeld, around the base of Mt Sturgeon and leaves the Grampians heading north-west toward Cavendish. Along the way it passes by Mokanger , workplace of both the Mortimers and Haddens.  Through Cavendish, it passes close to the cemetery, burial place of members of those two families.

From Cavendish, the river begins a southward journey toward two of the Hamilton district’s jewels, the Nigretta and Wannon waterfalls.  As the river progresses west, the Grange Burn joins the Wannon, having flowed from just east of Hamilton, the city founded on the Grange.  This section of the river was another favourite fishing spot of my grandfather William Gamble.

On the river flows to Tahara and then Sandford. I have family links to Sandford with Julia Harman, daughter of James Harman residing there with her husband George Holmes.  Two children were born their including WW1 casualty Arthur Leonard Holmes.  My gg uncle William Diwell also spent some time around Sandford.  In 1914, he completed extensions to the St Marys Church.

The Wannon River then joins the another great river of the Western District, the Glenelg River, having passed through some of Victoria’s most beautiful countryside.  It is not surprising Joseph Hawdon, travelling overland to Adelaide with Lieutenant Alfred Miller Mundy of the 21st Regiment in 1839, endorsed Major Thomas Mitchell’s description five years earlier. Major Mitchell followed the Glenelg River from its’ beginnings in the Grampians through to the sea at Nelson. It is little wonder all of my direct ancestors stayed in the Western District after settlement.

(1839, September 26). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 1 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8723904

After the merge with the Wannon, the Glenelg flows on to Casterton where I have many family links.  My ggg grandfather George Jelly, father of Elizabeth Ann Jelly, was one man who could say he had conquered the river.  His obituary read:

“He was a remarkably good swimmer and by his abilities in this direction was instrumental in saving many persons from drowning and rescuing the bodies of many others who had perished in the river” 

He even dived for the bones of Robert and Mary Hunt, murdered by George Wains in 1860.

By the time the Glenelg River reaches the sea, it, the Wannon and Grange Burn have passed by many of the places my ancestors lived, worked, fished, swam and were laid to rest.

The Wannon River between the Nigretta Falls and the Wannon Falls, about 20 kilometres from Hamilton, would be the section most frequented by myself and my family before me.  My own memories come from family visits, Sunday drives with Nana, school excursions and birthday parties.

The following views near the Wannon Falls are from the State Library of Victoria Collection and were captured around 1878 by  Thomas J. Washbourne , a Geelong photographer.

Wannon River Scene – Washbourne, Thomas J. photographer.Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/53092

Wannon River Scene Washbourne, Thomas J.,photographer.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Victorian Patents Office Copyright Collection (VPOCC) http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/52931

THE WANNON RIVER AT THE WANNON FALLS

Of the two waterfalls, I prefer the Nigretta, especially after rain.  The Wannon Falls could be described as pretty in the way they drop off the edge, but the Nigretta Falls are, at times, spectacular.

Nigretta Falls on the Wannon River
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – collection: Cogger album of photographs http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/41740

The Vagabond (John Stanley James) described the Nigretta Falls in his series “Picturesque Victoria” which appeared in The Argus.  In the  April 4, 1885 edition of The Argus , The Vagabond wrote of his visit to the Wannon.  He enjoyed the hospitality at the Wannon Inn and then marveled at the “miniature Niagara”

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1885, April 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 4. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6073697

This photo taken in August this year by my friend Catherine, after good rain, sees the Nigretta looking like the minature Niagara Falls as described by The Vagabond.

NIGRETTA FALLS – Image courtesy of Catherine Huisman

It was pleasing to see that the old viewing platforms still remain at the Nigretta Falls.

NIGRETTA FALLS VIEWING PLATFORM

An impressive wooden staircase now leads down to the falls, but the original steps remain.

The Wannon Falls (below) holds memories of walking beyond the viewing platform, down to the rocks and behind the falls, but only when they were flowing lightly as they are in this photo.  A new viewing platform now prevents such precarious escapades, even undertaken while on school excursions!

I have two framed prints of the Wannon Falls by Louis Buveot, painted in 1872.  One hangs on a wall as a constant reminder of Hamilton, the Wannon River and the waterfalls.  The original hangs in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. To see  the original click on the link – Wannon Falls

The topic of the Wannon River gives me an opportunity to share my all time favourite family photos.  As a little girl when I first saw Nana’s old photo album, these photos captured my imagination.  When Nana came to live with us she kept her photo albums in her wardrobe. I would take them down, sit on her bed and go straight to this photo.  It was near the beginning of the album which had black, much turned pages.

From right: Nana, (Linda Hadden), my great-grandmother (Sarah Elizabeth Harman) and my great auntie Alma’s (Nana’s sister) mother-in-law Mrs Issac William Short (Catherine Gissane Tilley).

They are standing on the original lower viewing deck.   The four photos from a day at the Wannon where originally very small.  It wasn’t until I enlarged them on a computer, that I noticed Nana’s coat hanging on the railing.

I think the reason I like this photo is because Nana looked exactly liked she did when I knew her, but with long braids and I still can’t believe she was only about 15.  Even the small research assistant thought Nana was the lady in the middle when he first saw it.  He only knew her as an older person and does not think of her as having been a child too.

The second photo was taken from the lower viewing deck, looking toward the upper level.  I didn’t like standing here as a child and as you can see the rail was high at the front  and difficult to see over and to the right of  Nana was a gap between the fence and the rocks.  I much preferred the lower deck.

Recent years have seen a rotunda built at the Wannon Falls reserve with information about the waterfall, the local geography and history.

On our visit, the small research assistant said “Look Mum, they even have family history here for you”  He was right. There is a lot of my family history at the Wannon Falls.


Alice Hawthorne – The Western Mare

On October 3, 1857, a small grey mare known as “Alice” lined up for a match race with her rival Veno, from the colony of New South Wales, a race that would in time be remembered for its significance in setting the foundations for what has become Australia’s greatest horse race and strengthening the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry in Australia.  It was a  time when inter-colonial rivalry was high, but this period of  racing’s history shows that the racing fraternities of each colony, while still highly competitive, where able to work together in a harmonious way to develop the industry we have today. This story is not so much about the match race,  rather the life of the grey mare and the mark she left on Australian racing history.

“Alice”, bred at Mt William Station in the Western District and owned by great racing supporters, the Chirnsides , was born sometime around 1849.    Her sire was Delpare, an imported horse and her dam, Polly McQuinn, a part-Arab mare, bloodlines common in the early days of racing in Australia.   “Alice” was branded with the Chirnside’s  “key” brand.  Horses bearing that brand could never be sold.

DEATH OF ALICE HAWTHORNE. (1860, August 18). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 – 1860), p. 2. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59873244

At age three “Alice” was broken in and she spent time as a stock horse but, unlike her mother, she was not a good riding horse.  The Chinese workers at the station used her to carry rations to workers situated at out stations on the property but she developed a fistula wither, a painful condition, and was turned out.   During this time she became loose on the station roaming the bush for 15 months. She ran with a wild horse and the result was a foal which died.  Time in the bush had not served her well, but back on pasture, she blossomed.

Put to work again, “Alice” was used by Robert Christison, a horse-breaker at Mt William, to act as  “nursemaid” to the young thoroughbreds he was breaking in.  On one occasion, the young horses had missed a muster and Christison chose  “Alice” to bring them back to the main paddock.  What a surprise he received.  This article, “Racing and Romance, Two Western Mares” includes excerpts from the book “After Many Days” by Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh that recount that day:

RACING AND ROMANCE. (1928, September 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2 Supplement: The Argus. Saturday Camera Supplement.. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3956921

The little mare, who not long before had roamed the bush, impressed and ousted the talented Miss Campbell from her prime stall in the stables.  She was also given her name,  Alice Hawthorne.

Her first race was at Hamilton over a mile and half.  “Alice” won, kicking off a remarkable career which would span the next four years.  As was racing in those times, “Alice” returned to Hamilton the following day and backed up the win.

HAMILTON. (1856, January 21). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-It

It was not long before Alice Hawthorne was racing at Ballarat, Geelong and then Flemington.  This sketch shows her storming down the outside to win the Turf Club Autumn Cup of 1857.

Flemington: Past and Present. (1891, October 24). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), p. 13. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63613318

It was this race and others that saw Alice Hawthorne considered one of Victoria’s best horses and in turn her name was given as a challenger to a N.S.W. horse in a match race of £1000 aside.  The Victorians wanted to nominate three horses and select the best on the day, however this was rejected by their N.S.W. colleagues who nominated just one horse, the chestnut Veno.  Alice Hawthorne it was.

LOCAL NEWS. (1857, July 1). The Hobart Town Mercury (Tas. : 1857), p. 2. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3244328

There were some doubt in the minds of the Victorians that “Alice” was up to the task and her odds went out.  Others considered the home track advantage would help her.  Veno’s arrival in Melbourne created much interest with crowds of people gathering to see the Sydney horse.

VICTORIA. (1857, August 1). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 – 1860), p. 2. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59867006

Meanwhile there were security fears for “Alice’ and her trainer Mr Green built a stable at his home to accommodate her safely.

VENO AND ALICE HAWTHORN. (1857, August 29). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 – 1860), p. 2. Retrieved August 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59867185

This thorough description of “Alice”, including her physique, action and temperament is unlike anything seen today.  The Melbourne correspondent noted her “fine, even temper which nothing can ruffle is the theme of universal admiration”.  Jokes were often made about her arrival at the starting line for races, looking like she had just had a sleep. This probably helped her settle in her races and run out the three miles.

ALICE HAWTHORN. (1857, September 5). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 – 1860), p. 2. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59867231

Those attending the Great Inter-Colonial Match race from Sydney could take up the offer from the Australian Steam Navigation Company of a return ticket at a reduced rate.

THE WRECK OF THE DUNBAR. (1857, September 5). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), p. 5. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64986713

In the preceding days, something akin to the call of the card was held at the Tattersall’s Hotel in Russell Street, where the original challenge was offered.  A healthy amount of money was wagered, all with a sense of good sportsmanship.

Chair, Mr Goldsborough welcomed the sporting men of Sydney, including trainer Mr Rowe, and reassured them that they “would be met upon all occasions in the hearty spirit of true sportsmen”.

At the gathering,  a decision was made to set up a subscription room at the Tattersalls Hotel for those of “good respectability and conduct’ for a season ticket of ten shillings.   The Produce Stakes was also devised, open to horses from all colonies.

VENO AND ALICE HAWTHORN. (1857, October 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28633161

On the morning of October 3, 1857, all roads led to Flemington.  For others, a steamer up the Saltwater River (Maribyrnong River) was the preferred transport.

SPORTING INTELLIGENCE. (1857, October 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7139724

As feared by many Victorians, it was not  Alice Hawthorne’s day, with Veno winning the three mile race.  “Alice” was not disgraced but could not match the stamina of Veno.

FIRST RACE. THE MATCH FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP.—VICTORIA V. NEW SOUTH WALES. (1857, October 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 1 Edition: Second Edition.. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13001270

Veno’s trainer accepted another challenge with the horse backing up two races later against Victorian Van Tromp.  Veno raced another three miles, finishing in a faster time than his race against “Alice”, beating Van Tromp by two lengths.

The Victorian racing fraternity were left questioning their horses’ bloodlines and those from the colony of N.S.W. left no doubt  where Veno hailed from as this headline from the Empire, a Sydney newspaper shows.

[SECOND EDITION.]. (1857, October 8). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), p. 3 Edition: 2nd edition. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60261613

This article from The Argus, written in the days, stressed how important breeding better Victorian horses was if they were to match it with the other colonies and the need for good horse races such as the match race, to make sure that the standard of horse improved.

The Argus. (1857, October 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7139706

It was not long before “Alice” was back racing and on December 2, she was at Ballarat, once again a winner.

THE RACES. SECOND DAY. (1857, December 3). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 – 1864), p. 2. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66045460

On Thursday February 18, 1858, Alice Hawthorne won the Great Metropolitan Handicap at Flemington, redeeming herself with those her dismissed her both before and after her match race with Veno.

VICTORIA JOCKEY CLUB RACE MEETING. (1858, February 26). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), p. 3. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60426399

“Alice” continued to race and win.  Just over twelve months after her match race, she was still considered Victoria’s leading three miler, although some thought this was because she had nothing to beat.

No title. (1858, November 6). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 – 1860), p. 2. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59869552

October 1, 1859 was the first running of the Australian Champion Sweepstakes at Flemington racecourse.  Horses from the colonies of South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania were among the entries, true inter-colonial racing.

One of the entries, The Barber from South Australia, had an unfortunate and unexpected link to the Western District. The Barber’s transportation to Melbourne was the steamer Admella.  The Admella struck trouble along the South Australian coast near the Victorian border and the Portland lifeboat Ladybird  with Captain James Fawthrop at her helm went to the rescue.  All the horses aboard the steamer drowned, except for The Barber, who amazingly came to shore, two and a half miles away from the wreck.  He was then walked overland to Geelong and travelled by rail to Melbourne.  Not surprisingly he finished close to the tail of the field in the Sweepstakes.

“Alice”, by this time at least 10 years old, acquitted herself well in the three mile race running fourth behind the winner Victorian Flying Buck,  a three year old.

THE CHAMPION RACE DAY. (1859, October 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5689255

Alice Hawthorne ran her last race in November 1859 in  the Turf Club Welter Handicap over three miles.  She won by 10 lengths and retired with £5000 in stakes money, the highest of any horse in the colonies.

VICTORIA. (1859, November 26). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 – 1860), p. 4. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59871699

The Chirnsides sent their mare to stud for a meeting with their imported stallion Peeping Tom. It is not clear if the mating was successful.

On August 12  1860, the mare they called “Alice” passed away at the Chirnside’s Point Cook property at 12 years of age, only nine months out of racing.  Her lungs that gave her the stamina to run long distances had failed her.

MELBOURNE NEWS. (1860, August 16). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87945829

DEATH OF ALICE HAWTHORNE. (1860, August 18). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 – 1860), p. 2. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59873244

“Alice” went from the foothills of the Grampians to matching it with some of the leading horses in Victoria and the other colonies.  She easily could  have remained at Mount William Station as nurse maid to the future stars of the Chirnside’s stables.  It was only for her demonstration of brilliance rounding up the escaped horses that saw her rise to becoming a household name.   She saw hard racing considering many of her races were over three miles, a mile further than the Melbourne Cup.  Horses from her time could run two three mile races in a day, just as Veno did on October 3, 1857.

In 1861, the first Melbourne Cup was run.  Racing was building up to a race like the Cup from the time of the Great Inter-Colonial match race, the Great Metropolitan Handicap and the Sweepstakes, but unlike those races it has endured and strengthened over 150 years.  Racing was evolving, as it was suggested it should after the 1857 match race, by creating great horse races to improve the stock.  Unfortunately for Victoria, Archer from N.S.W. won the first two cups.  Banker, bred by Woodend hotel keeper Joseph Harper, finally won for the colony in 1863.  The Great Inter-Colonial match race began the stream of horses across the borders to race in Victoria.  Today, Victorian racing is International, with overseas horses not only racing  here in the spring, but taking the main prize.

Alice Hawthorne and her rivals of the time have a place in Australian racing history.  While the leaders of the Australian colonies were struggling to work together on a united front, the connections of these horses were showing their political counterparts how to do it.  The Sporting Notes of The Argus of March 24, 1865 praised those involved in racing.  Between the Great Inter-Colonial match race in 1857 and 1865, the racing clubs of the colonies had agreed on a single birth date for all thoroughbreds, August 1 and Victoria had revised its Weight for Age system to come into line with the other colonies.  The correspondent said “It would be remarkable, if meeting pleasantly on the neutral ground of sport, the Australian colonies were thereby hereafter to meet in an equally friendly spirit to deal with  more important questions”

SPORTING NOTES. (1865, March 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5734367

At the time of the death of Andrew Chirnside,  The Border Watch reported that Alice Hawthorne helped make his name in racing circles.

SPORTING NOTES. (1890, May 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77489433

I came to know about Alice Hawthorne while searching for articles about Mt. William Station at Trove .  My ggg grandfather James Mortimer and his family arrived at Mt William Station around 1853, about the time “Alice” was broken in.  He was there when she was working as a packhorse and when she rounded up the young horses.  When Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh was at Munthum Station and heard the stories of the Delpare mare, James Mortimer was at Mt William Station.  Was James Mortimer one of the stockmen who rode Alice her and dismissed her as a riding horse?  He at the very least would have heard the talk of her.

The talk of her continued for years after.  Donald McDonald, in 1928, put Alice Hawthorne’s racing career into perspective.

RACING AND ROMANCE. (1928, September 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2 Supplement: The Argus. Saturday Camera Supplement.. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article395692


Spring Fashion

Spring has arrived and a girl’s thoughts turn to a new season’s wardrobe.   This was no different in 1940, 1900 and even 1860 with retailers promoting new season’s trends from as early as July.  Ladies in Western Victoria would have required their woollens for a few more months , but a new Spring outfit was necessary for the milder days and social outings.

Mr David Jones was offering a “Grand Show” of spring wear at his shop on Main Road, Ballarat in 1858.

Advertising. (1858, September 15). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 – 1864), p. 1. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66050200

In 1862, the Old Criterion Store on Main Road Ballarat offered 1000 parasols for sale, perfect  to keep the Australian sun’s harsh rays at bay.

Advertising. (1862, October 13). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 – 1864), p. 1. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66327869

A sample of spring fashions from 1878.

Spring Fashions. (1878, September 7). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), p. 7. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63335118

Spring fashions for the elegant lady of 1885.

[No heading]. (1885, August 24). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 – 1889), p. 133. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5739497

The following article appeared in the Portland Guardian on August 1881and offered spring fashion tips for the ladies of the Western District.  White, all shades of red and heliotrope were the colours of the season.  Grey was the new black and black was back.  Cashmere and plaid wool fabrics were popular as were ribbons and beading for embellishment.

THE LADIES’ COLUMN. (1888, August 31). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE PORTLAND GUARDIAN. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63589936

The 20th century arrived but fashion was so last century.

THE LADIES’ COLUMN. (1905, July 25). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved August 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30351894

Fashion began to evolve during World War 1.  One change was dress length, with hems going up to save material.  An interesting website Fashion Era offers further examples of fashion during this period.

SPRING FASHIONS. (1915, August 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 12. Retrieved August 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1544786

T

These dresses from 1918 show traditional styles were still popular.

Spring Fashions. (1916, September 2). The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889, 1914 – 1918), p. 7. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74835347

But things were changing and this dress, also from 1918, is an example of that.

COMING FASHIONS. (1918, July 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 12. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1404142

I love this stylish advertisement for Allans The Drapers of Fibrace street Horsham from 1927.

Advertising. (1927, September 2). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72996175

Fancy the Phryne Fisher look?

FASHION FORECASTS. (1928, August 3). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72676520

I can’t resist sharing more of the wonderful 1920s fashions, again from the “Horsham Times”.

Advertising. (1929, October 4). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72672337

Another stylish look,  this time from 1930.

Woman’s Interests. (1930, July 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78010734

The Great Depression saw a rise in the number of sewing columns in the newspapers.  This article gave advice on how to recycle a frock.  The full article is here

“THE ARGUS” SHOOPING PAGE. (1930, August 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 12. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4104490

Patterns were back for Spring 1935.

Gay Patterns for Spring Frocks. (1935, August 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 15. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11757450

World War 2 saw a dramatic drop in the number of “spring fashion” articles in the papers, more so than the Great War.  The years 1942, 1943 and 1944 had very few and those I found were mostly for sewing patterns.   Families relied on coupons to buy goods, there was rationing of goods including fabrics and the fashion houses of Paris closed.  If a woman wanted to keep up appearances, there was little alternative but to make a frock or remodel one from last season.  The latter half of the 1940s saw a rapid increase in fashion articles as women turned again to the fashion stages of Europe for inspiration and cast aside their drab wartime clothing.

BE CHIC… but coupon canny. (1942, October 17). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 7. Retrieved August 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46446873

A few bright notions to cope with a war budget. (1942, January 10). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 24 Section: Fashion Portfolio. Retrieved August 31, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54876753

Shock, horror “Hems to go higher” in 1952.  Just wait until the 60s!

Hems to go higher. (1952, May 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved August 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23197518

I could have continued to the 1960s but that would have gone on for some time as I do like the fashion particularly from the latter half of the decade. I could have gone on to the 70s too.  While fashion from that decade was much maligned during the 1980s, anyone who saw Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo was reminded of the great fashions of the 1970s.  I think the 1980s would have pulled it up though. Agreed?

Looking at  fashions of  different eras is beneficial to the family historian especially if you are trying to date photos.  It also gives us some idea of what our female ancestors might have endured for either the sake of fashion or managing with what was available.  The long, impractical dresses of the 19th and early 20th century make me think of my ggg grandmothers on farms, getting in and out of buggies and tending fires for washing and cooking.  Consider how your grandmothers or great grandmothers managed during the Depression when money was tight or  World War 2 with coupons and rationing.  No wonder my Nana was good at sewing, darning and knitting. It was a necessity.

***If you are interested in learning how your female ancestors washed their big dresses during the 1850s, the Sovereign Hill Education blog has great posts on washing, drying and ironing.


Portland’s Immigration Wall

Portland’s Immigration wall  is a great way to remember those ancestors who first set foot in Australia at the harbour town.  Located on the “Ploughed Field” opposite the Portland hospital and overlooking Portland Bay, the wall has plaques unveiled by grateful descendants of early pioneers to the south-west of Victoria.

The “Ploughed Field” is where Edward Henty ploughed the first sod of earth in Victoria in 1834 with the Henty plough, on display at Portland’s History House.

Some of the families remembered:

Both William and Isabella Robb are buried at the Old Portland Cemetery.

I know a little of Richard and Jane Price thanks to their grandson’s marriage to my first cousin 3 x removed.  Allan James Price married Ada Harman, daughter of Alfred Harman, in 1911.  One of the organisers, Lynn Price,  invited me to the unveiling of the plaque and family reunion in 2009.  I met Lynn via the Rootsweb Western District mailing list.  It was disappointing I was unable to attend as a lot of time has gone into remembering the Price family.  This is seen at the Price family website.   It has photos of the reunion as well as a later event, the unveiling of headstone for Richard and Jane at the Heywood cemetery in 2010.

For more information on how you can see your family on the Immigration Wall, go to the Glenelg Shire website.

I hope one day plaques will be on the wall for my ggg grandparents James and Sarah Harman and William and Margaret Diwell and daughters Elizabeth and Sarah Diwell, all of whom first set foot on Australian shores at Portland Bay off the “Duke of Richmond“.


M is for…Methodist

This really should have been a post for the “W” week of the Gould Genealogy Alphabet challenge, but I have another “W” word in mind for that week (guess which word that will be).  To be precise,  “W is for…Wesleyan Methodist” would have been more apt as it is the branch of Methodism that the Harman family followed, but due to an overload of “W”‘s, I’ll turn it upside down and make it “M is for…Methodist”.

What did I know about Methodism before I discovered the Harman’s faith?  Nothing except for a link to temperance.  Therefore, over the years I have tried to find out more about the religion as I think it is definitive in finding out more of what the Harmans were really like, especially James and his brother Walter who were Local Preachers with the church.

It was the role of  local preacher that I discovered was one of the characteristics of Methodism.  This from the “Advocate” of Burnie on August 16, 1952 gives something of the background:

The Methodist Local Preacher. (1952, August 16). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69442373

I have also found that James did preach at Hamilton Methodist Church on occasions, found in the history  Uniting we now stand : a history of the Hamilton Methodist Church  by Joan A. Smith (1999).  The Hamilton church was originally at 41 McIntyre Street before moving to Lonsdale Street in 1913.  In May this year a gathering was held recognising 150 years of Methodism in Hamilton.

The Byaduk Methodist Church built 1864, was the first church in the town and a weatherboard Sunday School was added in 1889.  Located on the Hamilton/Port Fairy Road which runs through the town the Byaduk church, along with the Hamilton church,  are now Uniting Churches.  This cam about after three churches, the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational came together in 1977.

FORMER BYADUK METHODIST CHURCH

Prior to the Byaduk church’s construction services were held in the home of John B. Smith, an early leader of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria.   In 1866, Smith went to Portland  and travelled a circuit which took him throughout the south-west.  His recollections were published in The Portland Guardian of June 25, 1928.  If you have Kittson, Lightbody or Hedditch links, this is worth reading in full.

Early Methodsim. (1928, June 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved August 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64266132

Smith was also a co-author of the book The Early Story of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria  available online.  Of course there is a lot in the book about John Smith himself who “.. had a clear grasp of the plan of salvation, and a touching and pathetic way of speaking of the “wrath to come”.”(p.269).

Also of Smith:

“The well-worn family Bible used morning, noon, and night for family worship, told of his love for the Psalms and the words of the Lord Jesus and few could use them (even the deep vast words of the fourth gospel), or the plaintive phrases of the Psalms, or the less familiar lines of shaded beauty found in our Hymn Book, with greater feeling and effect” (p269)

The influence of this holy man of God and of other kindred spirits make Byaduk a bright spot in the Hamilton Circuit, while the personal worth and , social standing of Mr. Peter Learmonth as a Christian and a citizen, and the active sympathy and generous help of the Wissins’ and Learmonths’ on the one hand, and the uno-rudsins labours of devoted Local Preachers on the other, have served to sustain the cause and comfort the Minister’s heart”(p270)

Peter Fraser in Early Byaduk Settlers, describes an early Methodist service at Byaduk:

“They conducted the services differently from now.  In singing hymns. the preacher read a verse and the congregation sang the verse, then he read another and the congregation sang it and so on to the end of the hymn.  In prayers, most of the congregation knelt; and when the preacher was praying, some in the congregation would sing out AMEN, BE IT SO HALLELUIAH and other words, while others in the congregation would grunt and groan all the time, but it must have been a nuisance to the preacher as the Methodist Ministers stopped it many years ago.” (p. 14)

Peter also names some of the local preachers of which there was an abundance.  They included Mr John Henry Oliver senior, father-in-law of Jonathon and Reuben Harman, and his son John Henry junior.  Also Daniel Love, John Holmes and Samuel Clarke, just to name a few.  George Holmes senior, father in law of Julia Harman, was superintendent of the Sunday School for over 40 years.

James and Walter seemed the most devout of the Harman family, with both spreading the word as local preachers. Also, Walter and his wife Lydia established the Sunday School at Ensay and Walter travelled many miles preaching.  Walter’s son Henry was an elder of the Omeo Methodist Church and I have previously told the story of the Omeo Methodist Minister Ronald Griggs .  The church closed ranks around Griggs and continued to support him at the time of his murder trial in 1928.

The post In Search of the Extraordinary Monster looks at the Port Fairy Methodist church.  Port Fairy was the home of the Harman family before they moved to Byaduk

Reuben James Harman, son of James and my gg grandfather,  was buried in the Methodist section of the Ballarat New Cemetery, with the faith continuing on to the next generation.

GRAVE OF REUBEN JAMES HARMAN & EMMA LORDEN – BALLARAT NEW CEMETERY

I know there is so much more to find about the Harman family link to the Wesleyan Methodist Church.  My ggg grandfather was a great servant of the church and saw some changes during its development in Byaduk and Hamilton.   He was still alive when the Hamilton Methodist Church moved to Lonsdale Street, but  a major change occurred a year after his death.  In 1917, the Methodist Church of Australia at its Melbourne conference ruled that local preachers were to become known as lay preachers.

METHODIST CONFERENCE. (1917, May 26). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), p. 6 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50927004

A post on the website Gospel Australia, has a great post “Poor Old Tom Brown”.  I have included the link but now the site is only working intermittently.   It  describes a man who was a Local Preacher in New South Wales and he is very much how I imagine James Harman to have been.

If you have Western District family  who were Methodists, I highly recommend you read the The Early Story of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Victoria.  Various towns throughout the Western District were represented along with many names.  Other areas of Victoria are also covered.

If any one has any idea how I can get a copy of  Uniting we now stand : a history of the Hamilton Methodist Church  I would love to hear from you.  There is a copy in the reference section of the Hamilton Library but it would be nice to have a copy of my own.

There is one question about the Harmans and their Methodist faith that I may never have answered.  Why did Joseph Harman, father of James and Walter, change his religion from Methodist to Presbyterian by the time of his death in 1893?  Mentioned in his obituary in “The Hamilton Spectator” it has had me wondering ever since I first read it.

 


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 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64259147

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)


Mystery Photos

Isn’t  it frustrating when you find old family photos but don’t who the subjects are?  Not long ago Mum found some photos of Nana’s we didn’t know she had. We don’t know who the people are and we have no one to ask.

I was recently contacted by Catherine Simmins, who has family links to the Western District.  She is facing the same dilemma with some photos passed on to her family some time ago.  Some were identifiable but others remain a mystery.

Catherine asked me if I could post the photos in the hope someone may recognise the subjects.  Alternatively,  if anyone is better at dating photos than myself, help in that area would also be appreciated.

THE PHOTOS

PHOTO 1

Also from Meek’s

PHOTO 2

 

PHOTO 3

The following three photos go together.

PHOTO 4

 

PHOTO 5

 

PHOTO 6

THE CLUES

The Family

Catherine’s family from the Western District included the family names THOMAS, McPHERSON, JONES and McDONALD.

Alfred Charles THOMAS (Catherines great-grandfather) was the son of  William THOMAS and Hannah JONES.  He was born in 1869 at Hamilton.  Alfred married Sarah Ann McPHERSON, the daughter of Angus McPHERSON and Christina McDONALD.

Alfred and Sarah had a large family of 11  children.

Alfred’s obituary lists the names of their children, their married names and locations.

Obituary. (1937, August 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64276614

Sarah’s obituary:

OBITUARY. (1940, February 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64395373

Of course, there is a good chance that the photos are not of this branch of the THOMAS family but have some link.   Catherine has offered a suggestion as to who the family in Photos 3, 4 and 5 could be.

Sarah Ann McPHERSON’s sister, Margaret Jessie McPHERSON married Donald McBEAN in 1891.  They had five known children:

Jessie Christina Jane born 1891 at Hamilton married Arch. NAISMITH

Alexander Angus born 1895 at Hamilton

Mary Monivae born 1900 at Hamilton

Margaret Murial born 1903 at Hamilton married Alfred BONE

Dorothy Jean born 1913 at Portland

This is the Family Notice for Donald McBean:

Family Notices. (1930, March 6). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64291722

I think Catherine’s hunch could prove correct given the number of children, their sex and the age differences in the children.  If that is baby Dorothy McBean, the  family photo could be from around 1914.

**My interest piqued when I saw the name Mary Monivae.  Monivae, my former secondary school in Hamilton, named after the Monivae homestead, the school’s first site during the 1950s, was formally owned by Acheson Ffrench and James Thomson.  I wonder if Donald McBean worked at the property or they simply liked the name. I’ll save that one for later!

The Photographer

James Meek, tobacconist and photographer of Gray Street Hamilton took Photos 1 and 2.  The earliest reference I can find of Meek in Hamilton was 1884 when he played a role in the investigations of a well-known murder case of the time “The Pierrepoint Murders”.  Pierrepoint is just out of Hamilton and Meek took a photograph of the murder victim to help with the identification process.  Interestingly a member of my Bishop family found his way into one of the witness statements.

Meek also spent some time in Portland in the mid 1890s

Established August 1842. (1896, February 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63634459

James Meek appears to have had a studio at Clunes during the early 1900s,  but I have also found references of him in Hamilton up until 1920.  There are a number of  photographs taken by James Meek at Trove

If you think you can help Catherine name the subjects in these wonderful photos, please leave a comment.  It would be much appreciated.


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