A small band of Pioneers come together for August Passing of the Pioneers. They include the first Mayor of the Borough of Portland and a crew member of William Dutton’s whale boat.
William McLEAN – Died August 28, 1888 at Port Fairy. At the time of his death, William McLean had resided at the Port Fairy Benevolent Asylum for 10 years and was known to all as “Old Billy”. In 1887, he spoke about his life from his time in his birthplace of Scotland. William was born around 1790 and when around 20, he joined the navy and was a crewman on the HMS Warspite which brought him to Sydney while escorting convicts in 1822. After meeting some whalers, he decided to jump ship and join them. The whaling ship belonged to William Dutton, one of the first whalers to Portland Bay and William was with him.
When asked who was the first to Portland Bay, William Dutton or the Hentys, William replied that Dutton and his crew were there long before the Hentys. Later, William spent time whaling at Port Fairy where he settled.
Mary GRIERSON – Died August 1914 at Port Fairy. Mary Grierson was born in Scotland in 1827 and arrived in Victoria with her parents in 1839. They had sailed aboard the David Clark with Port Fairy’s Captain Mills at the helm. Mary married David Thomas in 1846 and they settled at Rosebrook, near Port Fairy. They had a family of 12, six girls and six boys. Mary was a member of the Presbyterian church and her goodwill was known throughout the district.
Thomas BEVAN – Died August 1915 at Colac. Born in Devonshire, England in 1829, Thomas Bevan arrived in Geelong in 1851. He moved to Beeac and became a local preacher for the Methodist Church. Thomas worked hard to build the community and had a strong involvement in all aspects of public affairs. He was also a musician, with violin and flute his instruments both learnt while still in England.
George HAYNES – Died August 18, 1916 at Port Fairy. The Port Fairy Town Hall flag flew at half mast the day George Haynes passed away. George was one of Port Fairy’s earliest residents and the first Mayor of the Borough. George was born in Staffordshire in 1826 and at the local grammar school. In 1854, he and his wife travelled to Australia, landing at Melbourne where they remained for around a year. George then moved on to Port Fairy where he settled and established a merchant business, Haynes and Young. Married twice, George had seven children from his first marriage.
Joseph LEWIS – Died August 27, 1916 at Port Fairy. Joseph Lewis was born in Staffordshire around 1824 and travelled to Australia aboard the Royal Saxon, landing at Williamstown, Victoria in 1841. Also on board was a relative of Charles Dickens. After some time working at Little River Joseph travelled to the Grampians with a Mr Dwyer and they attempted to run cattle. Unsuccessful, Joseph moved on to Port Fairy and purchased the property Glenview, residing there until old age when he moved into the Port Fairy town. Joseph left a widow, four sons, four daughters, 32 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Denis BERMINGHAM – Died August 17, 1917 at Port Fairy. Denis Bermingham was from Ireland and arrived in Port Fairy aboard the Chance during the 1850s. Spending time at Koroit and then Woodlands, Denis worked on the land. After moving to Port Fairy the 1880s, he worked for a few years on the harbour. Denis and his wife had 13 children, nine of whom were still living at the time of Denis’ death.
Robert LEISHMAN – Died August 28, 1917 at Port Fairy. Robert Leishman was born in Scotland around 1830 and arrived in Victoria as a boy in the 1850s. After some time spent at Woodford, he settled at Crossley and for many years ran the farm Cockpen. He had also spent some time working on Korongah Station, then owned by Messrs. Knight and Lydiard. It was there, during the 1870s that Robert’s wife passed away. During their time together they had a family of five. In the last years of Robert’s life, he moved to Rosebrook and then Bank Street, Port Fairy.