Districts of Hamilton 1888 – Biographical sketches of the Prominent Residents in the Immediate Neighbourhood of Hamilton

Hood, Robert, Hexham West, the present proprietor of the Merrang Station, is a native of Berwickshire, Scotland, who arrived in this colony in January, 1854, and purchased Bolac Plains Station from the late Mr. Robert Anderson, its first occupant, in April of the same year. Three years after wards he bought Merrang, and removed thither, also retaining Bolac Plains for three years following, and then selling it to Mr. R. Jamieson, the present owner. Mr. Hood is well-known as a breeder and successful exhibitor of Lincoln sheep, and was amongst the first who imported a stud flock of this breed, which was selected for him by Mr. John Sanderson, of London, an acknowledged judge, and proved a great success, as was shown by the number of prizes taken by the descendants of this flock in different parts of the colony. From 1874 to 1884 they won £933 in silver plate, and £68o in money prizes; a total of £1613, besides three gold and twenty-six silver medals. Since then they have not been exhibited. Mr. Hood takes an interest in all local matters; he was one of the originators of the Long Woolled Association of Victoria, the shows of which were held at Hexham, and of which he was president the first four years. It and the well-known show of Merino sheep so long held at Skipton, were merged in the Australian Sheepbreeder’s Association of Australasia, and removed to Melbourne; of this society Mr. Hood has been vice-president since its start, and once president. He was many years a member of the Warrnambool shire council, and is now a member of the shire council of Mortlake. The Merrang Station (native name Merrang, the rising ground on which the home station stands), is situated five miles south-west of Hexham, on the west bank of the River Hopkins. It was first occupied by Messrs. Fane and Rogers, and then comprised what is now called the Connewarren Station, on the opposite side of the river, and most of the property of Coomete. It was afterwards divided, Mr. Fane retaining the home station and the sheep, and Mr. Rogers getting the cattle. On becoming sheriff of Melbourne, Mr. Fane sold to Mr. Adolphus Secales, three years after whose death, namely, in 1856, Merrang was sold to Mr. Robert Hood. It was then all Crown lands, and comprised an area of about 20,000 acres. It is now a freehold of 12,580 acres. We show here a view of Mr. Hood’s residence.

“Merrang” The Residence of Robert Hood, Esq., Hexham West
Victoria and its Metropolis, Past and Present, 1888
Coloured by Remembering the Past in Colour

Hutton, John A., Penshurst, is a brother and partner of Mr. Thomas Hutton, of “Eden.” He resides on the Cheviot-hills estate, about half a mile from his brother, his house being erected on a slight rise, and commanding a fine view of the surrounding country. Connected therewith is a large woolshed, with men’s huts, and other necessary buildings for carrying on the requirements of a station. The estate is close to the township of Penshurst, at the foot of Mount Rouse, a detached volcanic hill and point of eruption, and attaining a height of 1220 feet above the level of the sea. The eruptions of this mountain in years gone by have freely scattered the district over with red sandstone, which Mr. Hutton has turned to useful account by constructing of it stone walls on the estate and round his orchard.

Hutton, Thomas, J.P., Penshurst, is a Tasmanian by birth, and a son of the late Mr. David Hutton, C.E., who landed in Tasmania in 1832 from the ship Clyde, and went thence to Portland, Victoria, in 1846, proceeding to Penshurst, which was then a bush-covered country, and a black protectorate under Dr. Walton. He took up a large tract of land, which he called the Cheviot-hills station, and carried on sheep-farming upon it until his death in 1875, when his sons, John Alexander and Thomas, came into possession, and now conduct it. The year 1851 was a hard time for settlers, the Ballarat and Fiery Creek diggings broke out, and caused an exodus of station hands, and the squatters had to cart their own wool and produce to Port Fairy; had, in fact, to do all their own work, and Mr. David Hutton and the late Mr. Matthew Gibb experienced these hardships together, driving their own wool teams. Cheviot-hills station comprises about 10,000 acres, adjoining the township at the foot of Mount Rouse (an extinct volcano), and depasturing about 20,000 sheep and cattle. The homestead, where Mr. John A. Hutton resides, is a large comfortable stone building. Mr. Thomas Hutton’s dwelling, called “Eden,” is also part of the estate, and is a spacious and comfortable house, the grounds surrounding it being tastefully laid out, and presenting a highly ornamental aspect.

Jeffreys, Robert, Casterton, was born in Liverpool, England, and came out, while a boy, about thirty-two years ago, landing at Portland, Victoria, from the Indian Ocean. In 1865 he joined the late Mr. S. M’Donald, in Casterton, as an apprentice to saddlery and harness-making, and remained with him four or five years. In 1873 he rented a shop from his father, and started at his trade on his own account in Casterton, with which he combined ironmongery. In 1876 he bought a section of land in the township and erected his present premises, which are situated in the centre of the town on a half-acre allotment. Mr. Jeffreys also owns another property of nine acres close to the town.

Lang, John, Balmoral, is a native of Somersetshire, England, who arrived in Tasmania in 1834, and came to Victoria in 1846. He was a year in Melbourne, and another year in Geelong, and was also for a short time on a station. Soon after returning to Melbourne he purchased a hotel in Branxholme in 1855, which he carried on three years. He then bought a hotel business at Braybrook, where he remained the same length of time, and in 1862 he purchased the freehold of Lang’s Hotel, formerly the Squatters’ Arms Hotel, Balmoral, where he is at present located. This well-known and old-established house was built by Mr. Davidson, and in 1851 was owned by a cousin named Mr. Simson Lang. It has passed through many hands, but the freehold has always been kept by the owner.

Liddiard, Francis, Apsley, is a native of Willunga, South Australia, and is a self-made man. He was thrown on his own resources when a boy at eleven years of age. He learnt the blacksmithing trade, and after working at it as a journeyman for nine months in Melbourne, started on his own account in Adelaide, whence he removed afterwards to Kingston, S.A., and then to Apsley, Victoria, where he is now carrying on a blacksmith’s forge and wheelwright’s shop, having three men employed, and conducting the business in all its branches. He also owns 210 acres of land. 

Lillingston, D. H., Balmoral, is a native of Hobartown, Tasmania, and arrived in Victoria in 1853 with his parents, he settled in Ballarat, where his father, Mr. D. W. Lillingston, still resides. Mr. D. H. Lillingston learned the trade of a watchmaker and jeweller, and worked at it for sixteen years. He also had the management of Mr. Levinson’s business, in Bridge-street, Ballarat, for seven years. In April, 1884, he purchased the business of the Western Hotel, Balmoral, which old-established and well-known house he now conducts.

Lyon, Basil, Balmoral (deceased), was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Victoria in 1852. He was for two years resident with his family near Coleraine, after which he went to Balmoral, and was the first postmaster of that place. He lived at his farm, Trassgumyah, until the time of his death, in 1884. With his three sons, Mr. Lyon selected 960 acres of land, and some years later his fourth son selected 320 acres additional. He was married in Scotland, where the family were born, except the youngest son. Three sons and a daughter survive the father. Mrs. Lyon is sister of Mr. John M’Conochie, of Konong Wootong Creek, Coleraine.

M’Coll, James, Balmoral (deceased), was born in Scotland, and arrived in Victoria in the early days. He was manager for a time at Hexham Park, and in 1837 bought and settled on Yatnot station, where he lived until the time of his death in 1876.

M’Coll, John Sutherland, son of the above, and the present proprietor of Yatnot, which is the place of his birth, was born in 1857, and has resided on the estate all his life, with the exception of about three years spent at the Hamilton College. The property consists of some 6700 acres of freehold and 1500 acres of leasehold. He owns 4600 sheep besides other stock. 

M’Conochie, John, Coleraine, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, came to Australia in 1841. He first took up his abode on what was then called the Grange, the site of the present town of Hamilton. In 1845 he and his brother William purchased the Konong-Wootong Creek station, of 6000 acres, and Mr. William M’Conochie resided on it until his death in 1863. Mr. John M’Conochie and his family have lived there continuously since, with the exception of three years spent at Spring Vale, The brothers held other station property in the Coleraine district. The freehold of the Konong-Wootong Creek estate was obtained about 1862. Mr. John M’Conochie has been identified with the Wannon shire council for ten years, being a member for the Balmoral riding. He is a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick, and has held other minor offices of trust. He has devoted much attention to the cultivation of plants and flowers, and the beauty and variety of these render his estate one of the show places of the district.

MacDonald, Dr. Alexander, Coleraine, is a native of Lassintulloch, Perthshire, Scotland, born in 1813. He was educated in Edinburgh, where he took his degrees and a first prize for the diseases of women and children. He also holds two certificates of this colony. Dr. MacDonald practised in the Isle of Skye, and was medical adviser for the late Right Honourable Lord Macdonald and family until he left with his family for this colony in 1853. Dr. MacDonald traces his lineage back for seventeen generations to John, Lord of the Isles, who married the Princess Mary of Scotland.


Macmillan, Dr. A. R., M.B., C.M., Casterton, is son of the Rev. J. K. Macmillan, B.A., of Hamilton. He is a native of Victoria, and received his education at the Hamilton Academy, and then went to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he took his diplomas at the University. Returning to this colony in 1886, he took up his residence at Casterton, and is now engaged there in the practice of his profession.

May, Joseph, Casterton, was born in Melbourne in 1850, within 300 yards of the Post-office, the locality being then nearly all timbered. In 1861 he was apprenticed to coach-painting, and, not liking the trade, left his indentures, but was brought back by his father. He then started at coach-wheeling,and worked four years at it, after that spending many years as a journeyman, working for various employers in the trade at Kilmore, Kyneton, Creswick, Ballarat, Bendigo, Hamilton, and Merino. Amongst his employers in those days were Mr. D. White, now of Swanston-street, Melbourne; Templeton and Shannon, of Brunswick-street, Fitzroy; Geo. Pickles, of Latrobe-street, Melbourne; and Jas. Clough, of William-street, Sandhurst. About 1887 he went to Casterton, and opened a coach factory on his own account, working early and late. Mr. May’s present premises are at the east end of the township, just over the Glenelg bridge. He carries on his business as coach-builder, maker of buggies, carts, and drays, and employs from three to six hands. He owns a property of one acre close by, where his private residence is situated, and also allotment in Hoddle-street east, Collingwood.

Moodie, William, J.P., Coleraine, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, came out to Australia with his parents in 1841. They were nine years in Melbourne, and then went to Wando Dale station, which his father purchased two years afterwards, and whence, after holding it for some time, he retired to St. Kilda, where he died in 1868. Wando Dale lies sixteen miles from Coleraine, and about the same distance from Casterton, being in the shires of Wannon and Glenelg. The extent of freehold estate is 20,000 acres, and it is stocked with about 25,000 sheep, and nearly 500 head of cattle. Mr. Moodie bought the homestead in 1863. He has been a member of the shire councils of Wannon and Glenelg for about twenty-two years, and was for three years president of the former. He is also justice of the peace for the western bailiwick

National Bank of Australasia, Coleraine. The Coleraine branch of this bank has been established about seventeen years. Mr. W. W. Cobb, the present manager, is a native of London, who came to Australia in 1854. He has been identified with banking ever since 1853, and on his arrival in the colonies was first engaged at the Union Bank of Australia in Sydney, N.S.W. He was for some time manager of the Christchurch (N.Z.) branch of that bank, and seven years since joined the National Bank, and was appointed manager of the Coleraine branch about four years ago.

Niven, James, Balmoral, is a native of Scotland, who arrived in Adelaide, S.A., in 1854, and came to Victoria in 1857. The same year he settled in Balmoral, and, after being for a short time on a station, undertook various kinds of contracting. In 1872 he selected 320 acres of land on the Glenelg River, and resided on it four years, when he sold it and settled at his present location, about six miles from Balmoral. He and his family have about 1900 acres, and carry on agriculture and sheep-farming. He cultivates about 100 acres each year.

Olle, Frank Liles, Penshurst, came to Victoria while young, in 1856, with his father, and landed at Belfast. Thence he proceeded to Penshurst, and in 1857 went to the Ararat diggings, and stayed there about six months. After working in various parts of the colony for two years he returned to Penshurst, and for a time worked at his trade of carpenter and joiner. In 1870 he went into business as a butcher, grazier, and baker, renting the premises he now occupies, and where he carries on the same business. In 1885 he purchased the property, consisting of shop, bakery, and dwelling-house, standing on half an acre of ground. Mr. Olle has also a freehold of about 1000 acres near the township, which he utilises for grazing purposes. He works his business with the assistance of his four sons and a baker. Mr. F. L. Olle is a member of the Mount Rouse shire council, president of the committee of the local Mechanics’ Institute, and a member of the committee of the Presbyterian Church.

Olle, Harry John, Penshurst, a native of Bury St. Edmund’s, Suffolk, England, came to Victoria with his parents, while yet a boy, in 1857. Landing at Port Fairy, they proceeded to Penshurst, the site of the present township being then a station owned by Mr. David Hutton, and overgrown with bush, and thickly-peopled by blacks in almost a wild state. Mr. H. J. Olle went to Hamilton in 1862, and engaged there as assistant to Mr. Donald M. Cameron, storekeeper. Leaving Hamilton in 1865 he spent twelve months with his brother in Ararat and other places, and, going back to Hamilton, was with Messrs. Tinker and Beath and Mr. S. Jacoby for some years. The year 1870 saw him again in Penshurst with Mr. John Earls, storekeeper, with whom he remained for two years, and then went to Horsham in the employ of Messrs. W. and W. Thompson, storekeepers; stayed there for two years, then came back to Penshurst and Went into the employ of Mr. Earls again, with whom he remained until 1881. He then leased from Mrs. Bond his present premises in Bell-street, Penshurst, where he carries on the business of general storekeeper; his store, a large wooden building (60 feet x 30 feet) stands on half an acre of ground. Mr. Olle does a large business in the township and the surrounding district, supplying every description of general merchandise, and employs a number of persons, including a dressmaker and milliner.

Ough, Thomas Pulton, Harrow, was born in England in 1832, and came out to Adelaide, S.A., in 1840. He learned the trade of bricklayer and plasterer with his father, and after leaving him proceeded to Harrow, Victoria, twenty-seven years ago. He worked at his trade in the district for six years, and then selected 320 acres of land, which he has since farmed. He also owns town property in Harrow, and has now 640 acres of land. While resident in Adelaide he went to the diggings three times, and did fairly well.

Peachey, John S. W., Casterton, came out to Victoria from his native place, London, by the ship Oithonia in 1853, landing at Portland. He first procecded to Messrs. Whittaker Bros.’ station (Longlands), on the Upper Gleneig, where he worked at his trade of carpenter for some time, in 1854 went to Casterton, and worked at his trade there for three years, and in 1857 rented a township section from Mr. Donald Cameron, of Oakbank, on which he erected a shop, on the site of Messrs. Cussen and Ingpen’s present premises, and started business as general storekeeper. At the expiry of his lease he purchased a section further up the street, and on the opposite side of the way, and built thereon his present large store, with dwelling at rear, standing on half an acre of ground. Mr. Peachey’s business is in general goods, grain, and wool, of which latter he sends down a quantity of bales annually to the Melbourne and other markets. He is also an undertaker. He has put down a large weighbridge in front of his store for the convenience of carriers.

Peden, James, Casterton, came out to Victoria from Ireland in 1854, and started farming, but not liking the occupation, he, in 1856, went to the Mount Mount Blackwood and Sandhurst diggings, and remained there until 1861, when he proceeded to Casterton, and worked on a sheep station for a while. He next went to New Zealand, and again took to prospecting for gold at Miller’s Flat diggings, Otago, but this proving unprofitable, he worked for government and private persons until, in 1863, he returned to Victoria, and was again employed on a station until 1864, when, being disabled by a fall from his horse, he purchased a section of land in Casterton, and erected a shop and dwelling thereon at a corner in Henty-street, where he commenced store-keeping, which he still carries on in spacious premises.

Peel, Thomas Henry, J.P., Harrow, is a native of London,who arrived in Tasmania with his parents in 1822, being then but two years of age. At the age of thirteen he went to sea, and in 1840 came to Melbourne, going some time afterwards to Portland, and the same year removing to the Wannon, where he was one of the first settlers. He was engaged in various avocations, and managed a store in Harrow for a time, after which he kept the Harrow Hotel ten years, and now carries on the business of butcher and baker. Mr. Peel has been a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick over three years, a member of the Kowree shire council four years, and has occupied the presidential chair one year. At the time he came to the colony the population numbered only 5000 persons.

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