Tag Archives: Henty

Passing of the Pioneers

Once again an interesting band of Western Victorian pioneers were found in newspaper obituaries from February.  There is a tightrope walker, philanthropist, a motor car pioneer and several hardy pioneer women.  It continues to amaze me the lives the pioneers lived.  I mean, who could imagine a tightrope walker living in Portland in the 19th century, in fact at anytime!

Thomas STODDART -  Died February 20, 1905,  Ballarat.  When next in Ballarat admiring the many statues in Sturt Street and the Botanical Gardens, thank Thomas Stoddart.   He was responsible for getting the ball rolling for leading Ballarat identities to give statues or money towards statues, to the city.  From digger to stock broker, Stoddart donated 12 statues to the city of  Ballarat in 1884 after a trip to Europe.  This act of philanthropy saw some of Ballarat’s other wealthy citizens  bequeath money to fund more statues.  In fact,  John Permewan who featured in December Passing of the Pioneers donated the well know “Hebe” which stands in Sturt Street.   As well as the obituary from the “Horsham Times” a lengthier obituary appeared in The Argus on February 21.

“FLORA”

“POMONA”

John COFFEY   -  Died February 9, 1908, Melbourne.  John Coffey was born in Limerick, Ireland and came to Australia with his brother in the 1860s.    He first went to the Wimmera while carting between Melbourne and the Wimmera. Making a permanent home there, he worked as a farmer and a hotel keeper .  He left a wife, Catherine Almond, five daughters and three sons.

Thomas HENNESSY  - Died February 19, 1908, Horsham.  Thomas Hennessy arrived in Victoria in 1859 aboard the “Royal Charter” from Limerick, Ireland.  He began farming around Koroit, lost a leg, and moved to the Pimpinio district where he farmed for many years.  An accident prior to his death, contributed to his demise.

James DAVIDSON  – Died February 12, 1913, Narrawong.  James Davidson, born at Narrawong, was described as a “good all-round citizen” in his obituary.  He was involved in the mounted rifles and athletics.

Mrs Thomas LANG – Died February 14, 1914, Hawthorn, Victoria.  Born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1920 she arrived on the “Star of the East” in 1855.  Her husband Thomas was a well-known horticulturist in the late 19th century.   Mrs Lang was a principal of a girls’ school for a time.

Mrs Mary Ann LINDON – Died February 15, 1915, Willaura, Victoria.  Born in Buckinghamshire, England, she came to Victoria in her 20s during  the 1850s.  She worked at Golf Hill Station at Shelford for George Russell, before moving to Sandford where she married William Lindon.  Mary Ann lived at Willaura with her daughter for the last 10 years of her life.

Edward Harewood  LASCELLES -  Died February 12, 1917, Geelong.  Lascelles is a well-known name in WesternVictoria.  Not only does his name form part of the Geelong wool broking firm Denneys Lascelles & Co, the town of Lascelles  in the Mallee was named after him.  Edward Lascelles was born in Tasmania in 1847, married Ethel Denney and they had six children.  He was a leader in vermin extermination on his property in the Mallee and was the first to introduce share farming in Victoria.

Mrs John WHITEHEAD  – Died February, 1918, Dandenong, Victoria.  Mrs Whitehead arrived in Victoria with her widowed mother in 1863.  The following year she married journalist, Mr Dudeney, who had gone to Ballarat to report on the Eureka Stockade riots.  Only after a few years of marriage, Mr Dudeney passed away and she married John Whitehead a worker at the Ballarat Post Office and later the GPO in Melbourne

Mrs Martha PHILLIPS  – Died February 14, 1918, Buninyong.  Martha Phillips was a colonist of 64 years, arriving in Victoria to join her husband on the goldfields of Ballarat.  Mrs Phillips enjoyed telling stories of the goldrush days.

OBITUARY. (1918, February 18). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 6 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75176846

Mrs Robert CLARKE  – Died February 18, 1920, Bondi, N.S.W.  Mrs Clarke, her husband Robert and four children sailed for Australia in 1857.  One child, Agnes died during the journey.  At the time of their arrival the train line to Horsham was under construction, so the family took a coach to Stawell, then bullock wagon to Horsham.  She was one of the many pioneer women who coped under tough conditions.

Obituary. (1920, February 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73190179

William HANLON  – Died February 19, 1923,  Portland.  William Hanlon was the mayor of Portland 11 times.  His interests within the municipality included President of the Portland Free Library.

William ROBERTSON  – Died February 2, 1924, Portland.  A colonist of 77 years, William Robertson arrived in Portland as a five-year old with his parents.  He had travelled to New Guinea and Western Australia as well one time riding in the Great Western Steeplechase at Coleraine.

Charles Francis PATTERSON  – Died February 17, 1933, Portland.  Charles was born in Portland in 1857 and spent some time in Western Australia on the railways.  It was there he met his future wife and after marriage, they returned to Portland to raise 10 children.  Charles was a popular figure around the town and he worked in the fish distribution business.

Alfred Irvine HOGAN  – Died February 8, 1934, Portland.  From tightrope walker to sawmiller, Alfred Hogan was an interesting chap.  Arriving in Portland as a young man, he gained notoriety as a tightrope walker performing daredevil tricks in the mould of “Blondin” the French tightrope walker.  Age must have caught up with his tightrope walking feats and he turned to sawmilling, with his obituary crediting him as a pioneer of sawmilling in the Portland district, an industry which became one of the biggest in the area.  Alfred also had a keen interest in Australian Rules football and was one of the people behind the development of Hanlon Park, which is still home to the Portland Football Club today.

Mary Jane SPIKEN  – Died February, 1934, Warrnambool.  Mary Jane Spiken’s mother Anna Harland arrived in Victoria with members of the Henty family.   Anna married John George Spiken with Mary Jane born around 1861 at the Henty homestead.  Mary Jane married William Jenkins and they had seven children.  She was a wealth of knowledge on the early days of Portland.

Fanny Ann MALSEED  – Died February 13, 1936, Myamyn.  Fanny Ann was the daughter of James and Eliza Malseed of Mount Richmond.  She married Thomas Edmund Adamson around 1886 and they raised eight children.

Richard YOUNG – Died February 16, 1939, Horsham.  Richard was born at Clunes and moved to Horsham with his parents as a 10-year-old.  He married Isabella Anderson and they raised a large family.  Richard was a keen footballer and  played for United Traders football club.  He was a founding member of the Horsham Football Club and was an active member of the local fire brigade.

Walter Birmingham EDGAR  – Died February 22, 1939, Portland.  Walter Edgar was born at Pine Hills Station at Harrow in 1856.  Educated at Hamilton College, he achieved the double honor of dux of the college and athletic champion.  Despite studying civil engineering  at Melbourne University, he returned to Pine Hills to take up agriculture pursuits.  In 1882 he married Jessie Swan of Konongwootong.  In the years before his death, Walter toured England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden with his daughter.  In his younger days, Walter was something of a cricketer and golfer.  He and his father played some part in the Aboriginal cricket team touring England in 1867.  The team included Johnny Mullagh who Walter often played cricket with.

Obituary. (1939, February 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved February 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64391911

Ann NIVEN  – Died February 24, 1942, Coleraine.  Ann Niven’s came to Australia at five, but without her parents.  They arrived at a later date, but until then Ann was under the guardianship of Mr and Mrs Christorphen.  They lived where Balmoral now stands, but then it was only bush.  She married William Bird, living at Wombelano and then for the last 32 years of her life, at Coleraine.  Mrs Bird was the mother of 11 children.

Mr Patrick HENRY – Died February 1942, Terang.  Patrick Henry, with his parents, settled in the Woodford area upon their arrival in Australia in 1866.  He began driving bullock wagons as a teenager and worked in that occupation until he was 86.  When he finally retired, it was thought he was the oldest bullock wagon driver in the Western District.

Thomas Turner SHAW Died February 1, 1949, Beaumaris, Victoria.  Thomas Shaw was a not only a pioneer of fine merino wool production but also motoring in Victoria.  He drove one of the first steam cars and was also a founding member of the Royal Auto Club (RACV).


St Stephen’s Church, Portland

During our recent trip to Portland, while the fish were biting, I managed to sneak away for a walk around the town of Portland.

One building I visited was St Stephen’s Anglican Church on the corner of  Julia and Percy Streets.

St Stephens Church Portland

The foundation stone was laid on March 24, 1855.

St Stephens Church Foundation Stone

The Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser reported on the laying of the foundation stone.

Local Intelligence. (1855, March 26). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71571938

I wonder if the reporter still had a job after overlooking the lunch that followed the ceremony.

I was impressed that the organisers of the day were able to secure Lieutenant Governor of the Colony, Sir Charles Hotham for the event.  However, after reading some articles about Hotham at Trove, and fitting the Portland visit into his timeline, I realised then he probably was trying to get as far away from Melbourne as possible.  The heat was on.  I would also imagine the Henty brothers’ connection to the church may have also been a factor.  Incidentally, Hotham was dead by the year’s end, having caught a chill, which exacerbated his already failing health.  This extract was published in the Empire (Sydney 1850-1875) on the same day as the report on the foundation stone ceremony and the tone is similar to other reports on Hotham at the time.

VICTORIA,. (1855, March 26). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 5. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60180148

Despite the church receiving a bell in 1864 from Stephen Henty, it was not until 1907 that the bell was hung.

St. Stephens' Church Bell. (1907, July 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63966019

Some histories of the bell may tell a different story of the bell’s origins as local historian Noel F. Learmonth had to admit in his article of October 29, 1951.  After reconfirming the story from 1907 article, he went on to say:

ST. STEPHEN'S BELL. (1951, October 29). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: MIDDAY.. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64429927

Entrance of St Stephen's Church, Portland

A SHORT HISTORY OF ST STEPHEN'S CHURCH FROM 1869 TO THE PRESENT DAY. (1943, August 30). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64386337

I wish I had read this article before I visited.  I would have like to have seen Stephen Henty’s stained glass window.

Interior of St Stephen's Church

The organ on the wall of the altar has been in place since 1882.

In 1953, the church celebrated its 97th anniversary.  The Portland Guardian of May 14, reported on the event and included an extract from one of Noel Learmonth’s books  “The Portland Bay Settlement”.  A nice touch was when the congregation sang “Happy Birthday” to the church.

St. Stephen's Church 97th Anniversary celebrated. (1953, May 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64434755

If you are interested in more history of the St Stephen’s Church, an article from the Portland Guardian of August 30, 1943, “A Short History of St Stephen’s Church from 1869 to Present Day” is worth a look.  It also includes a list of the 1943 members of the Ladies Guild.


Passing of the Pioneers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obituary. (1929, January 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64268096

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

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

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


In the News – November 16, 1922

The Portland Guardian of November 16, 1922, reported much excitement surrounding the town’s birthday celebrations beginning that day, including “Back to Portland” celebrations.  Former residents had started to return and reacquaint themselves with old friends.

Portland's Gala Week. (1922, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 15, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64027013

One article “Coming Home” , is reminder of how useful newspapers are in assisting our research.  Included is a list of all those who had indicated they would be attending the reunion.

Each name includes the present town of residence, some with an address.  The following are just a few of the names:

(1922, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 4 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 14, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6065696

Other well-known names included Henty, Holmes, Kittson, Malseed and Silvester.

Advertising. (1922, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 14, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64027014

Advertising. (1922, November 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved November 15, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64027000


Passing of the Pioneers

The Portland Guardian was mindful of the contribution made by the early pioneers toward developing the south-west.  They offered regular items titled “Passing of the Pioneers” or “Passing Pioneers” and often mentioned in obituaries that “…one by one are old pioneers are passing”.  As early as 1889, they were lamenting the loss of the links to the early settlers and suggesting that the efforts of those who passed be recognised.

The Portland Guardian,. (1889, January 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 18, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63591640

Established August 1842. The Portland Guardian,. (1899, July 7). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved July 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63676630 MLA citation

In 1921, the paper spoke of the many unwritten histories that had gone before, but  now we can see The Portland Guardian lived up to its charter of 1889,  successfully recording the histories of many of the local pioneers.  By doing so they are now helping us learn more of our families and gain a sense of life in the early days of the Western District.  Of course, The Guardian was not alone.  References to the “passing pioneers” are found in most of the papers on the Trove website.

Obituaries are a secondary source with the information coming from the knowledge of those still living and I have noticed errors in obituaries of my family.  But they can offer  leads to look in places you may never of thought of  such as Masonic lodge records and local council records. What ever you do or don’t get out of an obituary, no-one can deny they are often a good read.

July was a month when many “Passing of the Pioneers” columns appeared.  Cold winters in the south-west saw many of the older residents “cross the Great Divide” as the Guardian would put it.

Some of the more notable passing pioneers in the month of July were:

James PARKER:  Died  July 6, 1889, Heywood.  James PARKER’S obituary is an interesting read.  Born in Tasmania, he came to the mainland as a whaler.  Later he had some luck at the Creswick goldfields only to have an encounter with bushranger Captain Moonlight.

William TULLOH: Died July 19, 1889, Portland.  This is a lengthy obituary of a Portland resident of nearly 50 years, whose death saw half closed shutters on homes around the town.  Born in Scotland in 1812, he left a wife, four sons and a daughter at the time of his passing.  I have  found a site with more detail of William and his wife Eliza Mary KEARTON.

James BARNETT: Died July 18, 1892, Portland.  James was known as “Old Barney” around Portland and while the Guardian credit him as a pioneer, they make judgement in saying that he did not make the most of his opportunities as other early settlers had done.

Alex THOMSON:  Died July 1897, Hamilton.  Scottish born Alex THOMSON was prominent around the Hamilton area as a Shire of Dundas Councillor for 21 years.  At the time of his death he was the owner of Pierrepoint Estate near Hamilton and was also an active member of the Pastoral and Agricultural society.

Mr Thomas Webb SMITH:  Died July 29, 1914, Branxholme.  Thomas served on the Borough of Portland council and was mayor from November 1871-November 1873.  He was also a member of the Goodfellows and Freemasons.

Annie Maria HENTY:  Died July 2, 1921, Hamilton.  Annie was from the most famous south-west pioneering family of them all, the Henty’s.  The daughter of Stephen HENTY, Annie married Hamilton stock and station agent Robert STAPLYTON BREE in 1874.  The Bree name is preserved in Hamilton with a much used road of the same name in the town.

Ann Eliza KEEPING:  Died July 9, 1921, Portland.  Annie Eliza KEEPING arrived in Australia aboard the “Eliza” and married John FINNIGAN in 1857.  She was 82 at the time of her death.

Joseph Bell PEARSON:  Died July 7, 1922, Portland. Yet another interesting character.  According to his obituary, Joseph was born on the voyage from England to Tasmania.  His family moved to the Retreat estate near Casterton in 1844.  He was a noted horseman, with several good racehorses which he would ride himself.  One of his jumps racing rivals was Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Mrs Sarah BEAUGLEHOLE:  Died July 7, 1923, Gorae West. Sarah was the wife of the late Richard BEAUGHLEHOLE and she died at 73.  Richard selected land at Gorae West and transformed swampland into flourishing orchards.  Sarah and Richard had 12 children.

Mary HEDDITCH: Died July 1, 1930, Drik Drik.   Mary HEDDITCH was born in Portland in 1844 and moved with her family to Bridgewater in 1846.  Her elder brother drowned when she was a teenager leaving her to take on some of his duties.  As a result she became an accomplished horsewoman, helping her father with the cattle.  She married James MALSEED and together they had seven children.

Mrs Phillipa DELLAR:  July, 1931, Portland.  Mrs DELLAR, the daughter of a doctor,  was herself something of a substitute doctor for those living in the Willenbrina area, near Warracknabeal.  Later she and her husband William DELLAR moved to the Portland district.  They had nine children.


Ghosts of Yesteryear

“It is a good thing sometimes to go back among the ghosts of the past, if only to restore our sense of proportion. There is so much that is senseless and ephemeral in modern life that contemplation of the simplicity, the loyalty, the courage, the earnestness and high purpose of our forefathers, gives us a better sense of human values and helps us to sort the meretricious from the wise and good.

There was a greatness in that settlement of Portland and the Wannon valley that surpasses most modern things. Still, we are what we are, and if we cannot do those big things today from lack of opportunity, we can still perhaps, do some little things in a great way and not be lacking. 

 These timeless words are those of Mr E.M. Webb a writer for The Herald, Melbourne in an article which appeared in the Portland Guardian on April 19, 1938 .  Mr Webb had driven through the Western District en route to Portland.  A spur of the moment decision saw him visit the town of Merino and in turn he was taken back to time of Major Thomas Mitchell and the Henty family, both significant in the exploration and settlement of the area.

Along the Road to Merino. (1938, May 19). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876-1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved May 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64279106

Webb recounts a lovely story of an unexpected meeting of John and Francis Henty and Major Mitchell at Portland.  Each party thought they were alone in the area and were surprised to come across each other.  Major Mitchell told of land worthy of grazing in the Wannon valley and the Henty’s heeded is advice which saw them settling in the Merino area.  He  compares his trip from Merino to Portland to that of the Hentys by bullock wagon which he suggests would have taken four hours, twice as long as his driving time.  Today it would take about one hour.  He also gives acknowledgement of the pioneer women such as Mary Ann Henty, who faced the hardships head on with their husbands.

I’m sure we can take something from Mr Webb when we research our family histories.  To understand more about the history of the places they lived and the challenges they faced as pioneers helps us to create a vision of our ancestors’ lives.  It is then that we can fully appreciate how we came to be where we are today.


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