Tag Archives: Lewis

Passing of the Pioneers

This is the fourth “Passing of the Pioneers” and includes a chess champion who lived in Merino and plenty of Irish influence.  They highlight some of the pioneers of Victoria’s Western District by way of their obituaries as published in The Portland Guardian.  If you would like to read the full obituary, just click on the pioneer’s name.

Mrs J. HAY  – Died October 4, 1888, Portland.  This obituary demonstrates the tone of many at the time.

OBITUARY. (1888, October 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63590480

George BEVAN – Died October 17, 1888, Portland.  George owned and died at the London Hotel in Portland.  His family notice shows he was born in Somerset, England and was 59 at the time of death.  George had been in Portland since the early 1860s and was a keen sportsman and former Town Councillor.

Mrs Mary EGAN – Died October 1912, Greenwald.  Mary Egan was 86 at the time of her death and had lived in Victoria for 60 years.  She originally went to Tasmania from Ireland with her parents as a small child.  Mary married Francis Egan who had passed away 30 years earlier.

W. S. P. LEWIS – Died October 4, 1915, Hamilton.  William Sudgen Price Lewis was the step son of Richard Lewis, a former owner of “Rifle Downs” at Digby.  Born in Tasmania in 1835, William and his brother came to live with Richard Lewis when Richard and their mother married in 1841.  In adult life, William leased “Hilgay” station for a time, bred fine livestock and was a member of several racing clubs.  He later retired to Hamilton.

John H. ROW- Died October 27, 1926, Portland.  Mr Row was a Portland jeweller.

Advertising. (1879, March 27). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNINGS.. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63341984

John McDONNELL – Died October 17, 1930, Moree.  Mr McDonnell was originally from Ireland and arrived in Australia in 1863 via Liverpool.  He was considered one of the oldest people in the district.  He married Catherine FAHEY and they selected land at Moree in 1865.

Catherine Bridget SAMPEY – Died October, 1933, Melbourne.  Catherine Sampey arrived in Melbourne, from Ireland aboard the “Red Jacket” in 1852.    She travelled on to Chetwynd with her brother James Sampey and she later married Patrick WHITE of Casterton.

Mrs Elizabeth GLOVER – Died October 12, 1933, Casterton.  Elizabeth Glover was 100 when she died.  Arriving from Ireland aboard the “Frances Henty” at age 21, 79 years before, she was still able to converse in Welsh and Gaelic in her later years.

Mrs J. T. SUTTON – Died October, 1934, Portland.  Born in Tipperary, Ireland but remembered as “a true type of  a fine old English lady”, Mrs Sutton arrived in Australia as a six year old in the mid 1850s.  She married Frances Sutton in 1874 and together they had six daughters and two sons.

Ernest John SEALEY – Died October 25, 1935, Casterton.  In his younger years Ernest Sealey worked as a bullock driver transporting wool.  In later worked on Portland’s deep-water pier, hauling logs from the forests to the pier.

Charles PRATT – Died October 26, 1935, Birchip.

Obituary. (1935, November 4). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64290777

And so begins the obituary of Charles Pratt.  Charles or Charley has he was widely known, was born at Mumbannar in 1870.  In 1891, he went to Beulah in the Mallee and worked with his step brother and later selected his own land near Watchupga.  He married Annie LAVERY in 1914 and they had three sons.

Thomas Denton CLARKE – Died October 5, 1937, Hamilton.  Thomas, born around 1847 at Liverpool,  was the son on Captain Thomas H. Clarke who was a trader in Portland.  Thomas jnr was a champion chess player and a composer of chess problems.  He won many competitions for both pursuits.  Composing problems up until his death, it was considered probable, according to the obituary, that he was the world’s oldest composer.

Mr James McCLUSKEY – Died October, 1942, Koroit.  James McCluskey was born at Portland in 1857, not long after the arrival of his parents on the ship, “British Empire“.  Soon after, the family travelled by bullock wagon to Kirkstall near Warrnambool.  In his early working life, he drove pigs to Port Fairy in order to load them on the steamer “Casino” to go to market in Melbourne.

Mary PRATT- Died October 7, 1942, Greenwald.  Mary, the widow of George COWLAND, was 87 at the time or her death.  There were 12 children in their family.  Her obituary recalled her pioneering traits.

OBITUARY. (1942, October 26). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64382483


Passing of the Pioneers

The September “Passing of the Pioneers” in the Portland Guardian saw  several prominent Western Victorian residents pass away and two of my own relatives.

Richard LEWIS – Died September 1890, “Bryngola” near Digby.  Richard owned some well known stations in the Western District including “Rifle Downs” and “Hilgay”.  An excellent biography of Richard Lewis is on the Ballarat Genealogical Society website.  Richard died as a result of Bright’s disease.

Samuel CROSSDied September 4, 1901,  Hamilton.  Samuel was 79 at the time of his death and had been in Australia since 1849 after travelling from Sussex, England.  He worked in, and owned, department stores including the Beehive Store in Hamilton.  In his later years he was a librarian at the Hamilton Mechanics Institute.

Jacob THEISINGER – Died September 13, 1901,  Portland.  Jacob, also a sufferer of Bright’s Disease, had been in the colony since around 1854.  He was a popular person around town and was a member of the Portland German Band.

R. STAPYLTON-BREE – Died September 17, 1907,  Hamilton.  Robert Edwin Windsor Sandys Stapylton-Bree was a Hamilton stock and station agent and well know identity not only in Hamilton, but also Portland.  He married the daughter of Stephen HENTY, Annie Maria.  His funeral was well attended with Dean Parkyn presiding over the service .  He and Archdeacon Hayman had motored the 119 mile trip from Ballarat in five hours.

Mrs D. McPHERSON – Died September, 1921,  Hamilton.  The former Miss STEWART was born in Kingussie, Scotland in around 1825 and travelled with her husband, Duncan McPherson, to Australia in 1851 on board the “Hooghly”.  While Duncan went off to the goldfields, Mrs McPherson waited in Melbourne until they journeyed to Portland.  For a time, she and her husband ran the Dartmoor Hotel.  She was a mother of eight children.

Mrs Elizabeth LAMB – Died September 18, 1825,  Millicent.  Mrs Lamb had grown up near Portland and the Guardian notes she rode 80 miles each day to school.  I am assuming this is a round trip, or it was a short school day.

Miss ROBERTSON – Died September, 1925,  Gringalgona.  Miss Robertson arrived in Sydney with her family in 1847 from Scotland.  They travelled to the Coleraine district by bullock wagon.

Mrs Margaret Emily CAMERON - Died September 5, 1928,  New Zealand.  Mrs Cameron was born Margaret McDonald.  Her parents were early pioneers and she spent time around Portland and Hamilton as a child with one of early memories being that of Adam Lindsay Gordon and his riding feats.  Margaret moved to New Zealand as a new bride and raised 12 children.

Mrs Margaret BELL – Died September 7, 1933,  Hamilton.  Margaret was born in County Caven, Ireland in 1853 to Mr and Mrs William Best.  They arrived at Portland on board the “General Hewitt” in 1856.  After time in Portland the Bests moved to Heywood when Margaret was nine. She married James Henry BELL and remained in the Heywood area.

Miss Ada Catherine HAYMAN – Died September 1934,  Portland.  Ada was born in Axminster, Devon, England in about 1858.  She arrived at Portland with her parents and siblings in the 1860s.  This is an interesting family.  Ada’s father was a doctor and practiced in Harrow, Edenhope and Ararat.  One of her brothers was a doctor, another Archdeacon Hayman presided over R. Stapylton-Bree’s funeral (above).  Another brother W.R. Hayman was one of those who organised the  Aboriginal cricketers’ tour of England in 1868.  The biography of one of the players, Johnny Mullagh, describes the part Hayman played.

Finlay McPherson PATON – Died September 1936,  Tarrayoukyan.  Finlay Paton was born at Sterlingshire, Scotland and after landing at Portland, took on the job of ringing the church bell and did so for 15 years.  This could have been just one of the reasons for his “magnificent physique”.  Maybe it was because he claimed that he was one of those that carted stones to build Mac’s Hotel in Portland.  Or was it lifting four bushel bags of wheat from the ground to a wagon, with little trouble.  He really must have been a fine specimen. As were his team of horses used for his carrying business. Bred by Finlay they were the “admiration of the district”

William DIWELL – Died September 1939,  Jeparit. William was my ggg uncle.  His obituary mentions his work as a builder and the several buildings in Portland remaining, at the time of his death, as memorials to his work.  It does mention he was a native of Portland, however he was born at Merino.  It correctly states his wife Frances was a native of Portland.

Thomas Haliburton LAIDLAWDied September 1941,  Hamilton.  Over 500 people were reportedly at the funeral of Thomas Laidlaw, a Hamilton stock and station agent.  Thomas was the son of pioneers, Thomas and Grace Laidlaw.   The obituary offers a great description of the early days of Thomas Laidlaw senior in the colony with his four brothers.  Thomas junior, along with building his successful stock and station business was at one time a Shire of Dundas Councillor, president of the Hamilton Racing Club and chairman of directors of the Hamilton and Western District College, today Hamilton and Alexandra College.  Laidlaw is one of the names that if I hear it, I think of Hamilton.

Henry MORTIMER – Died September 6, 1948,  Portland.  Another ggg uncle of mine, Henry was the son of James Mortimer and Rosanna Buckland.  He was born in Cavendish and was 80 at the time of his death at Portland.  He is best known at this blog as Mr Mortimer of Mr Mortimer’s Daughters.  This was an informative notice as it listed Henry’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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