Biographical sketches of the Prominent Resident in the Immediate Neighbourhood of Hamilton.

Ball, Henry, Easter Downie, near Casterton, a native of Gloucester, England, came out to Adelaide, S.A., by the ship Nabob in 1855, and commenced his trade of blacksmith, but, his health giving way, he went to Mount Gambier in 1860 as a farm hand, and was there ten years, after which he rented 80 acres of land near Mingbool, and farmed it successfully for three years. He then took up 113 acres in the same locality, which he afterwards purchased, farming and dairying on it until 1884, when he sold out, came over to Victoria, and joined his son at Easter Downie, who already had a farm there. The farm, Park Hill, on the Glenelg, Limestone Creek, comprises 380 acres. They have also 580 acres of selected land, and 1000 acres leased from the Crown. Mr. Ball has lately purchased 80 acres of rich river-flat agricultural land, and carries on farming and grazing successfully. He owned the first threshing-machine in the district. He is the eldest son of Mr. James Henry Ball, a well-known resident of Mount Gambier.

Barry, John J., Casterton, is a native of Victoria, who entered the service of the Postal department many years since. After being for a time in the Melbourne post-office he was transferred to several branch offices, and was then appointed relieving postmaster for county districts, travelling in this capacity all over the colony. In 1876 he was appointed post and telegraph master, receiver and paymaster, land officer, and deputy-registrar of births and deaths at Casterton, which position he still holds. He is a member of the committee of the Mechanics’ Institute, chairman of committee of the Casterton racing club and president of the committee of the athletic and sports club, also vice-president of the Casterton Horticultural Society. The Casterton post and telegraph offices and courthouse are one block of buildings, situated in Henty-street, in the centre of the township, and were erected in 1875. The edifice is a many-gabled building, at one side of which are the postmaster’s private rooms, and is surrounded by a well-kept garden. It is intended shortly to enlarge the post-office premises.

“Caramut House” The Residence of H. F. De Little, Esq.
Victoria and its Metropolis, Past and Present, 1888
Coloured by Remembering the Past in Colour

Bolan, John, Balmoral, is a native of Mitchellstown, county Cork, Ireland. He left Ireland in December, 1853, and landed at Portland, Victoria, in March of the following year. For the first twelve months he was with Mr. Officer at Rockland, after which he was engaged in various stations until 1865. He then selected 1000 acres, which he now owns and occupies, his station being named Bellevue. Mr. Bolan and family own over 3000 acres of land, which is devoted to sheep-farming.

Bull, George Arthur, Dunkeld, is a Victorian native, who went to Christchurch, New Zealand, with his parents when a body, and remained there for his education. He then returned to Victoria in 1873, and commenced as assistant to his uncle, Mr. Henry Cotton, who had established a storekeeping business in Dunkeld in 1865, and who carried it on until 1877, when he succeeded by Mr. W. Templeton, Mr. Bull transferring his services with the business. In 1878 the store was destroyed by fire, and the site and remaining out-buildings were purchased by Mr. Bull’s father, who erected another shop, and carried on the business, under the style of George Bull and Son, until October, 1886, when he relinquished it in favour of Mr. G. A. Bull, who now conducts it. The store, dwelling, and outbuildings are situated in Dunlop-street, close to the railway station, and occupy one acre. The shop is stocked with every class of general storekeepers’ goods and drapery, Mr. Bull’s trade extending all over the district.

Burt, Thomas John, Casterton, was born in Kent, England, and came out to Adelaide, S.A., by the ship Constance, in 1846, being then a youth. He commenced his colonial career as a jockey, and in 1862 came to Victoria, and followed his calling, riding in all principal races at Hamilton, Casterton, Horsham, and in various other districts, and competing against such well-known riders, in those days, as Mr. A. Lindsay Gordon, William Trainor, (now of the Koroit Hotel, Coleraine), T. Wells, Steve Mahon, Dick Dalrymple, Mallelly, Fergusson, Billy Bell of Heywood, and others. During that time he worked for a while for £1 a-week for Mr. George Chaffey, then the proprietor of the Glenelg Hotel. In 1872 he started hawking, and remained at that occupation four years, and then (1876) built a store at Brany Creek, Gippsland, and eighteen months afterwards purchased the Mitchell hotel, now the Victoria Hotel, at Bairnsdale, remaining there about three and a-half years. He then removed to Casterton, and purchased the Glenelg Hotel from his former employer, Mr. Chaffey, and now carries it on. This hotel is situated on the bank of the Glenelg River, east of the township, and is a large and comfortable house of thirty-four rooms, with mail-coach and livery stables and offices adjoining, and occupies two acres. Mr. Burt has other valuable properties in the district, namely, 1400 acres of first-class grazing land at Dergholm, on the banks of the Glenelg, the Dergholm Hotel, and 65 acres attached, and also 242 acres at Bairnsdale, Gippsland. As a remarkable incident in Burt’s earlier life may be mentioned his feat of race-riding at Thebarton, the Adelaide (S.A.) racecourse, where on Cockahoop, in 1854, he cleared a jump of some 30 feet of water.

Cameron, Archibald, Coleraine, is a native of Argyleshire, Scotland, who came out to the colony with his parents in 1857. They settled near Branxholme, where Mr. A. Cameron lived about ten years.  He then bought his present place, Ardmohr, about six miles from Coleraine, of 1200 acres, where he devotes himself mainly to grazing. He is the son of Mr. Hugh Cameron.

Cameron, John, Dunkeld, was born in South Australia, where his father owned the Penola station from 1842 to 1863. His father at that time came over to Victoria and purchased four stations, namely, Avoca Forest, Strathfillan, Nattie Yallock, and Dallinyong. He afterwards took possession of the Warrayure station, comprising 11,700 acres, near Lake Linlithgow, between the township of Hamilton and Dunkeld, and intends shortly to subdivide the property into small farms.

Carmichael, George J., Penshurst, is son of Mr. William Carmichael, runholder, of Harton-hills station, near Macarthur, and a native of the colony. In 1856 he went to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he remained for his education until 1865, when he returned to Australia, and managed his father’s station until 1875. He then took charge of the entire horses Dancer, Break o’ Day, and Argonaut, travelling them until 1880, when he took the management of the Banatta station, New South Wales, for Mr. Ricketson. In 1881 he returned to Victoria, and acted as agent at Penshurst for Messrs. R. S. Bree and Co., of Hamilton, until 1884, after which he engaged in Ballarat with Messrs. James Johnston and Co., stock and station agents. In March, 1887, he purchased the Mount Rouse flour mills, Penshurst, which he now conducts. The mill is situated close to the township. It is complete in all details, working three pairs of stones by steam power. It stands on two acres of ground, and turns out from fifty to sixty tons of flour monthly. Mr. Carmichael is agent for the South British Insurance Company, and secretary of the local Australian Natives’ Lodge.

Church of England, Coleraine. This parish formed part of one of the earliest established parochial districts of the original diocese of Melbourne, and necessarily is included now in the bishopric of Ballarat. The handsome church edifice (Holy Trinity), erected about twenty-five years ago, has lately been furnished with the first set of village carillons that have been introduced into the colony. The present vicar, the Rev. C. L. H. Rupp, landed in Melbourne direct from Germany in 1848. He was ordained from Moore College, New South Wales, in 1862, and became curate to Archdeacon Braim, of Belfast (now Port Fairy). Subsequently he held the following parishes:- Cranbourne, Dandenong, Belfast, Learmouth, Koroit, and in 1884 he accepted his present charge, comprising five outlying districts besides Coleraine itself.

Connor, Dr. Samuel, M.D., Ch.B., M.A.O., Coleraine, is a native of Stonyford, county Antrim, Ireland, and came to Australia in 1882. He received his medical education at Queen’s College, Belfast; graduated in Queen’s University, Ireland, in 1881; in Royal University, Ireland, in 1885; in Melbourne University in 1886; and was four months in the hospitals at home. Shortly after his arrival in the colonies he settled in Coleraine, where he has no an extensive practice. In 1884 he went to Great Britain for a trip, and availed himself of the opportunity to visit many of the hospitals there. Dr. Connor holds Her Majesty’s commission of the peace for the western bailiwick.

Cussen and Ingpen, Casterton. This firm of auctioneers, &c., consists of Messrs. John Finn Cussen and T. L. Ingpen. Mr. Cussen is a native of Sydney, N.S.W., who commenced business on his own account in Casterton in 1877 as proprietor of the Casterton News, and also as auctioneer and land agent, the latter in conjunction with Mr. James. In 1881 he sold out of the newspaper, and devoted the whole of his time to the auctioneering business. In 1882 Mr. James severed his connection with the firm, Mr. Cussen admitting his present partner, Mr. Ingpen, into the business. The firm does a large business as auctioneers and stock, station, and corn-mission agents; their premises, consisting of three offices and auction-rooms, being in a central position in Henty-street, and contained within a lofty building 40 feet square. Mr. Cussen is a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick.


Cuzens, James, Balmoral, is a native of London, England, who arrived in this colony in 1849. In 1855 he, in partnership with his brother, started business in Geelong as general storekeepers, and carried it on for one year. He then travelled with goods about the country for some six years, and in 1862 settled in Balmoral and established his present business of general store-keeper. He has one of the principal establishments in the district for the supply of the surrounding country, his stock consisting of soft goods, iron-mongery, groceries, boots and shoes. Mr. Cuzens was for one year a member of the Wannon shire council.

De Little, H. F., “Caramut House,” Caramut. The land around the residence of Caramut was first taken up about 1838 by Mr. Muston, who settled near the present site of “Cararnut House”; the creek which runs through the garden is called Muston’s Creek after him. The land changed hands several times until about 1850, when De Little Brothers bought the estate, which was then somewhat larger than at present, though not in the same compact state. The Duffy Land Act of 1862 led to the cutting up of the run, and the Messrs. De Little purchased as much of it as they could. In 1864 Mr. Henry De Little bought out his brothers, managed the estate himself, and made it his residence. He died in 1870, leaving it in the hands of trustees. Under the able supervision of the present manager the estate was brought into its present compact state by exchange with surrounding estates and defining the boundaries. The estate consists of about 19,000 acres, well fenced in, and kept in perfect order. It is the kind of country which grows the fine silky quality of wool that always commands a high price in the market. The Caramut wool is now one of the best known clips, and in 1886 brought the second highest price for washed wool in the London market. When the brothers De Little first came to Caramut they found a small stone building erected by the last owner; our illustration (above) shows the present “Caramut House,” a commodious bluestone structure, built by Mr. Henry De Little about 1865, and twice added to since.

Doyle, John, Casterton, is a native of the district, and commenced his career at farming in 1869, during which year he took first-prize medal at the Coleraine ploughing match, being then about fifteen years of age. Since then he has carried off numerous prizes for ploughing in the shape of stakes, sets of harness, swingle trees, &c. He won the silver cup first-prize at the Merino, Sandford, and Casterton Agricultural and Pastoral Society’s match in 1880, and the champion cup in 1886 at Mount Gambier. He purchased a farm of 75 acres at Carapook, near Sandford, in 1878, which he still owns, and continued farming until October, 1886, when he took possession of the Bridge Inn, Casterton, the property of his father, and now conducts it. The hotel is a large one, finely situated near the bridge at the east end of the township. It contains twenty-two rooms, including a spacious billiard-saloon, recently added.

Edgar, David, J . P., Harrow. This gentleman, the proprietor of the Pine Hills station, is a native of Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and arrived in Victoria in 1838. He was employed for one year by Bailey Bros. at Werribee and Carngham, and was next with the Furlong brothers, and for them went in November 1840 to the Grange, where the town of Hamilton now stands. In 1842 he went to Heywood, where he kept an inn for seven years, after which he bought, in partnership with Mr. Birmingham, Mullagh station, and soon afterwards Pine Hills. In 1855 the partnership was dissolved and the property divided, Mr. Edgar taking Pine Hills. Mr. Edgar has been a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick since 1864, and was a member of the shire council for many years. In 1862 he was elected a member of the North Harrow road board, and for the following ten years continuously held the seat, being also chosen chairman four times. On the proclamation of the district of Kowree as a Shire, on the 24th January, 1872, he became a member of the council, and continued such until 1884, occupying the presidential chair four times during that period, and on the expiration of his term of office, he was presented with an illuminated address from his brother councillors. His estate consists of 14,000 acres, and he has settled on his sons 25,000 acres besides. He has been largely identified with the improvements of the locality in which he resides. Mr Edgar married, in 1844, Sarah O’Meara, a native of Ireland, who came with her parents to Tasmania in 1830, and to Victoria in 1841. Of his family of ten children, three sons and two daughters are still living.

Frewer, John B., Penshurst, came with his father to Victoria in 1852, from England, his native country, being then but a boy. Soon after landing he went with his father to the Fryers Creek diggings, the latter being fortunate there, but on returning to Melbourne, and investing in unlucky speculations, he lost near all his hardly-earned money, and died shortly afterwards. Mr. J. B. Frewer and his mother then, in 1855, embarked in the hotel-keeping business at the Old Swan Hotel, Ballarat. In 1861 he took a trip to England, his mother dying during his absence. On his return in 1866 he spent some years working for others in various places, and in 1879 started business on his own account at the Victoria hotel, Macarthur, remaining there seven years. In 1882 he settled at Penshurst, and now conducts the Penshurst Hotel, one of the leading houses of the district.

Henderson, George, Coleraine, was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, learned his trade as mechanist, blacksmith, and coach-builder in England, and came out to the colony in 1862. He went first to Portland, and was then for a time in Melbourne, but returned to Portland, and remained there several years. In 1875 he went to Coleraine, and started the business indicated, which he now carries on.

Henderson, Rev. James, Balmoral, is the pastor of the Presbyterian Churches at Balmoral and Harrow. The congregation in the former place was formed in 1859, and at the same time in the latter by the Rev. James Treadwell, who was succeeded by Mr. Henderson four years later. The Rev. James Henderson was born at Hamilton on the Clyde, Scotland, and arrived in Australia in 1860. In 1861 he was ordained as pastor of Evandale, Tasmania, where he remained until he was removed to Balmoral. He has fourteen places for holding divine worship in the district.

Henty, Francis, Merino Downs, was the youngest of a family of eleven, of whom only two now survive. His father, Mr. Thomas Henty, of West Tarring, county of Sussex, having determined to emigrate, despatched three of his sons to Western Australia, where they landed in 1828. Finding the country not suited for their purpose of cultivating the merino sheep, Mr. James Henty, the eldest son, proceeded to Tasmania with his stock, and was there joined in 1831 by his father, mother, and the rest of the family, including Francis. After some time spent in exploration it was determined to form a settlement on the mainland of Australia at Portland, where Sir. Edward Henty arrived on the 19th November, Francis following, and landing on the 13th December. The little sailing vessel Thistle, of sixty tons, with the first cargo of stock, had a very severe passage from Launceston to Portland, lasting no less than five weeks. Continuous westerly gales often drove the small craft back—nearly wrecked on one occasion, and with the loss of half the stock, was the prelude to Mr. Edward Henty’s landing as a settler in Victoria; thankful, however, might he be that no loss of human life had occurred. Francis’s experience on the second voyage was more favourable; a gale indeed drove them back to the shelter of King’s Island, but the stock were eventually all landed alive and well. In the previous year Edward had gone on a voyage in the Carnarvon, a whaler, searching for land on this continent, looking into every bay or refuge for shelter between this and Spencer’s Gulf. After this, Mr. Thomas Henty, not liking to give up the 84,000 acres of land to which he was entitled in Western Australia without personal inspection, determined to undertake the voyage, with his son Edward, in the Thistle, to see and judge for himself. The examination only confirmed the report of his son James and the other members of the family who had previously determined to abandon it, and he then formed the plan of trying his fortune at Portland, Mr. James Henty going to England to endeavour to get the land in Western Australia exchanged for land in Victoria. The English Government did not approve of free selection before survey, and would not countenance the scheme. It was only in later years, when land had grown into value, that the idea of giving it away came into vogue. Taken to Launceston on business in 1835, Mr. F. Henty took his passage on the return voyage in a small cutter the Mary Ann, of 35 tons register, bound along the Australian coast in search of a suitable bay for a whaling station. Sailing from Launceston on or about the 1st August, the vessel was wind-bound at the entrance of the Tamar for a fortnight. During this time a message came from Launceston to prevent Mr. J. Pascoe Fawkner from proceeding to Port Phillip in the Sally Ann, another small vessel, then lying in the Tamar under charter by members of the family to proceed to Western Australia, inducements having been offered to the captain of that vessel to put in at Hobson’s Bay for the purpose of landing him there. Had these overtures been listened to, and any accident happened to the vessel, the policy of insurance would have been vitiated, and heavy loss resulted to the family. Mr. Fawkner’s arrival in Victoria was thus postponed, and the incident is merely mentioned as tending to throw light upon some disputed points. Mr. Fawkner subsequently reached Victoria in his own schooner, the Enterprise, after the arrival of that vessel from New Zealand. After having left Low Heads only a few hours a westerly gale sprang up. Driven into Port Sorell, the Mary Ann lay wind-bound for several days, and subsequently, from the prevalence of foul weather, was driven into every small place of shelter from Launceston Heads to Circular Head, on the Tasmanian coast, and from Port Phillip Heads to Portland on the other. On arrival in Port Phillip, and landing at Indented Head, a visit was paid to Mr. William Batman’s hut, when it was found that a vessel was required to take his party up the Yarra Yarra. This the Mary Ann was engaged to do, Buckley being of the party. On arriving at the falls in the Yarra, Fawkner’s party was seen encamped on the south bank of the river, where they had erected a tent, but Mr. Fawkner himself was not there. This statement is confirmed by the address of Old Colonists presented to H.R.H the Duke of Edinburgh by Mr. E. Henty in 1868, which bears Mr. Fawkner’s signature, with the date of his landing, 9th October, 1835. Landing with Batman, Mr. F. Henty assisted him to pitch his tent on what was afterwards known as Batman’s Hill. This must have been about the middle of September, as after leaving Port Phillip, and going into every place of shelter on the Victorian coast, the Mary Ann arrived at Portland on the 1st October, in almost exactly two months after leaving Launceston — a voyage that, via Melbourne, a passenger now-a-days would think it hard if it lasted beyond forty-eight hours. For nearly three years the Messrs. Henty fed their flocks in the neighbourhood of Portland. In the last week of August, 1836, Major Mitchell made his appearance at Portland. At this time there was no one settled nearer Portland than where Melbourne now stands, and the appearance of a stranger was somewhat startling in those days of escaped convicts. However, the major was recognised by one of the establishment. He was furnished with supplies, had the pleasure of witnessing the excitement of a whale chase, and in return informed Mr. Henty of the existence of the fine country at the back of Port land, on the Wannon River, which he had named Australia Felix. On the 3rd August, 1837, a settlement was commenced in this country at the spot since known as Merino Downs, and of which Mr. Henty has now for near 40 years been the owner. Conflicts between the blacks and some of the whites could scarcely be avoided, but Mr. Henty had not much trouble, the aborigines soon becoming friendly, but they were never allowed to bring their spears and other weapons within a certain distance of the hut. To show how quickly the country was taken up after the first essay had been made, it may be mentioned that in 1839 Messrs. James and Stephen G. Henty rode overland from Geelong to Portland, and were able to obtain shelter each night during the whole journey. — Mr. Henty, though keeping up his establishment at Merino Downs, resides for the most part in Melbourne, taking an interest in the savings banks, of which he is a commissioner, the Old Colonists’ Association, the National Agricultural Society, and such like institutions.

Holmes, John, Sandford, came from England to Melbourne, in 1856, while a boy. His father was a miller, and from him he gained his know ledge of the milling trade. His father had a windmill, and later a steam-mills at Hamilton, and also at Byaduk, where he still carries on the business. In 1873 Mr. J. Holmes went to Sandford, and started as head miller for Mr. Peter Learmonth, of Hamilton, and still carries on the industry. The mill has been considerably enlarged since Mr. Holmes went to it, being now a large brick building in the centre of the township, and worked by twenty-five horse steam power. It works four pairs of stones, and turns out about 500 tons annually. The building stands in three acres of ground. The flour produced is of high quality, and competes successfully with that of other mills in the district.

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