Tag Archives: Hazeldine

Passing of the Pioneers

A small band of pioneers for January, ranging from the rich and influential through to a bullock wagon driver who drove produce to the ports, to aid the rich and influential become more so. There is also the obituary of Catherine Grady, an Irish Famine orphan.

Francis HENTY: Died January 1889 at Kew.  Francis Henty featured here several times, was one of the Henty brothers, early European settlers at Portland. Francis had a house at Portland, one that I have written a post about, Claremont, but he spent much of his time at the Henty property, Merino Downs, and in later in life, his home Field Place in Melbourne where he passed away. Noted in his obituary, that while his presence was often not felt in the town, post the settling of Merino Downs, Francis Henty’s donations over the years were much appreciated.

The Portland Guardian,. (1889, January 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63591640

The Portland Guardian,. (1889, January 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63591640

FRANCIS HENTY (c1890) Artist unknown.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H24630 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/91524

FRANCIS HENTY (c1890) Artist unknown. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H24630 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/91524

Catherine GRADY: Died 3 January 1916 at Macarthur. Catherine Grady was born around 1836 in Wexford, Ireland and arrived in Port Fairy at seventeen. She married Archibald Hamilton there are they moved to Mt. Napier station where they remained for many years, then on to Macarthur where they both remained until their deaths.  Catherine was a nurse and it was said she attended over 300 maternity cases. Catherine and Archibald raised a family of twelve children.  I found Catherine on the Famine Orphan Girl Database on the Irish Famine Memorial (Sydney) website.

John Sinclair COX: Died 11 January 1918 at Hamilton. John Cox was born in Ireland in 1850 and travelled to Victoria with his family around 1857.  He resided in the Hamilton district almost from that time and ran a successful butcher shop. At one time, he ran for the Shire of Dundas but was unsuccessful. John passed away at Greenwood Park, Hamilton and left a widow, two sons and one daughter.

Matthew TOWNSEND: Died January 1916 at Portland. Matthew Townsend was born in Cambridgeshire in 1832 and arrived in Adelaide in 1857, but travelled on to Digby. In 1865, he opened a store in Digby that he ran for forty-three years, including forty as postmaster. Matthew married around 1867. He had many stories to tell of the old times in Digby included four-in-hand coaches, wool wagons and visits by Adam Lindsay Gordon. In his later years, Matthew moved to Portland where he passed away. He was buried at Digby cemetery.

Mary Ann MURPHY: Died 26 January 1918 at Willaura. Mary Ann Murphy was an early pioneer, born around 1843, and she and her husband Patrick Nicholson, settled at Warracknabeal in the “early days of agricultural development”. Around the turn of the century, Mary Ann and Patrick moved to the Ararat district, taking up a sub-division at Willaura,  Mary-Ann and Patrick raised a family of fourteen.

Elizabeth Jane PETERS: Died January 1923 at Warracknabeal.  Elizabeth Peters was born at Digby on “Black Thursday” 1851, her father having arrived with the Hentys some years before. After her marriage to Henry Lang in 1872, they settled at Merino. After Henry’s death, Elizabeth moved to the north-west of Victoria to live with her son, where she remained until her death.

Mark KERR: Died 31 January 1925 at Portland. Mark Kerr was born around 1850 at Portland, and it was noted he was born in the “Police Paddock”, not far from the place he died seventy-five years later. Having been born in a paddock, it was fortunate Mark’s father was a doctor, but it was thought he didn’t practice in Portland. Mark Kerr worked as a teamster, driving bullock wagons from the north with wool and other produce for the Port of Portland. At one time, he owned the Emu Flats Hotel at Kentbruck, built by another Passing Pioneer, John Johnstone. He later returned to Portland where he remained until his death.

Eliza HAZELDINE: Died 12 January 1941 at Portland. Born around 1857 at Portland, Eliza Hazeldine, a former student of John Hill of Portland, joined the Education Department at 15 and the first school she taught at was North Portland. She later taught at Koroit, Corindhap, Queenscliff, Coleraine and Casterton. Mary Ann was a resident of Casterton for about five years and it was there she met her future husband Job Lea. After marriage, she left teaching but Job passed away after two years of marriage, leaving Mary Ann with two babies. After nineteen years, she returned to Portland before opening a store at Condah Swamp, including the first post office there. Condah Swamp was later named Wallacedale, where she resided for twenty-two years. In 1919, she again returned to Portland and remained there until her death. One of Mary Ann’s son, Charles was killed at Gallipoli in 1915.

William BOYLE: Died 3 January 1942 at Camperdown. William Boyle was born in Ireland around 1868 and arrived in Victoria as a 15-year-old. Keen to see Australia, he travelled along the southern coast and then inland, droving stock from Central Australia to the Western District. William later established newsagents in Camperdown that he ran for 50 years. He was also a foundation member of the Camperdown Bowling Club and was playing up until weeks before his death.


Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

You have found your ancestor’s date of death, but you are wondering how they died.  You could buy a death certificate, but a certificate for all relatives can be a costly business.  Newspapers are the answer.  With the growing number of Australian newspapers available to search at Trove, there is a good chance you may find an article on your relative’s demise.  In turn, it may lead to an obituary which can also be a wealth of information, but I will discuss those in a future post.

When I began reading old newspapers, I was amazed at the number of deaths and accidents reported, compared to today’s papers.  It seemed even the smallest of accidents could make newspapers right around Australia.  Death reports were explicit and sparing little detail.  However, despite the nature of these reports, I do find them intriguing reading and they can show when, where and how a family member died.  Also accident reports show information that you may never have found otherwise.  I may never have known that my great great grandmother lost the top of her finger or my great great aunt was bitten by a snake.

Horse related accidents were naturally common whether  falls or buggy accidents.  As the years passed, motor cars where the culprits, with many stories of them rolling or hitting trees.  The increasing number of  motor cars also caused some problems for those still using horses as their main source of transport.  Fire was also a common cause of death or accidents.  Candles, coppers and fire places all increased the risk of burns.

Following are some examples of deaths and accidents involving my family members found in the papers at Trove:

Charles Bishop worked at Weerangourt Station, Byaduk,  but I found he also died there.  While chopping wood in 1916,he suffered heart failure and died at the age of 60.   I found this reported in four newspapers.

I feel sorry for poor James Elston.  He died at only 21.  The first article I found on him was in 1901, eight years before he died.  James had broken his leg, but this was the fifth break in two years.  He was sent to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.  The Barrier Miner published in Broken Hill reported the accident as a possible record breaker.

A Marino Boy Puts Up a Record. (1901, August 29). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888-1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 4, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44302344

In March, 1908, James was back in hospital.  He had been thrown from a buggy and fell on a fence.  As a result he fractured his spine between the shoulder blades and was crippled, his condition critical.  In January 1909, it was report that James had succumbed to injuries at the Hamilton Hospital.

Robert McClintock died from heart strain and tetanus as a result of chasing a fox.  This was in 1913 and Robert was only 18.  I decided to search Trove with the phrase “chasing a fox” and it threw up many articles about  deaths and accidents incurred while chasing foxes.  Some had fallen from horses, others accidentally shot by themselves or others died  the way of Robert McClintock.

Jane Diwell’s death in 1909 demonstrates the dangers women faced doing simple housekeeping tasks.  Married to Samuel Hazeldine,  Jane was in a back shed at their home in Murtoa boiling up beeswax and turpentine, when her clothes caught fire.  Despite desperate attempts by her husband to save her, she died from her burns.  Samuel received severe burns to his hands.

Frederick Hazeldine of Murtoa, was watching the eclipse of the sun in 1910, when the 10 year old slipped off a fence and broke his arm

Frank Coulson was only 17 when he met his fate in 1935.  His body was found near Digby.  He had sustained a fractured skull and his pony’s saddle and bridle were lying close by.  Different articles tried to offer and explanation to his death from having been kicked in the head by the pony or haven fallen awkwardly as the pony jumped a fence.

George Gamble lost his life after a cave in at the Colac Brick Works in 1910.  He was dug out but later died at the Colac Hospital,

Mary Jane Hodgins(Mrs Matthew Gamble, below), my great great grandmother,  lost the top of her finger in an accident involving a horse.  Notice that this took place in Colac, Victoria, but was reported as far away as Maitland, New South Wales

GENERAL NEWS. (1877, September 1). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843-1893), p. 7. Retrieved June 4, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18829977

In 1906, Amy Margaret Bubb, Mrs Benjamin Combridge, was bitten by a snake which had hidden in a mattress.  Her daughter Amy was darning the mattress and noticed something she thought was mice, moving inside.  She called her mother who hit the mattress and was bitten by a black snake on the wrist.  Young Amy ran to the neighbours’ house almost a kilometre away through paddocks and returned with a Mrs Arklay.  By this time, Amy snr’s arm was black.  Mrs Arklay made an incision and drew black blood from the wound which saved Amy.  This article ran in Tasmania and Adelaide as well as The Argus.

I had known that my great, great, great grandfather William Diwell had died in a fall at the Merino Flour Mill in 1871, but I have since found that he was severely injured three years earlier.  In 1868, the Merino school-house verandah was falling down, so William volunteered to remove it.  Part of the verandah fell on him and his was pulled out suffering a severe head injury.  By all accounts if the full verandah had of fell on him he would have been crushed to death.  He was 43 at the time and I think he may have been lucky to make it 46 when he did die.

The most gruesome article I have ready about one of my family members, is that of my great, great, great grandmother Ellen Barry, Mrs Gamble.  Ellen was a feisty Irish woman, often in the courts and rather fond of a drink.  One night in January 1882, Ellen was home alone in her cottage in Colac, when a fire broke out.  The next day, the coroner found that due to Ellen’s propensity for a tipple, it was most likely she had knocked a candle which started the fire.

A WOMAN BURNT TO DEATH. (1882, January 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), p. 8. Retrieved June 5, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11530343

These few examples prove how much you can find out about  your ancestor’s death, not to mention their life before death.  If you are using Trove, it is useful to search  all the papers available because as Mary Jane Hodgins’ accident  shows, incidents can be reported interstate.  You can use filters to narrow your search down, particularly if you have a specific date.

In a future post I will share some of the other articles I have found which don’t relate to my family, but show the value of these stories in developing an understanding of  how precarious life could be for those living in the 19th and early 20th century.  We can also learn how death was considered in those times by the style of writing and the depth of description.  Most importantly for family historians, our ancestors become more than just a one-dimensional date on a page.


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