Port Fairy 1888 – Biographical sketches of the Prominent Residents of the Town and It’s Immediate Neighbourhood

The following are short biographical notes of a number of the most prominent residents of the town and its immediate neighbourhood (see: Surrounding Districts, below): – 

Anderson, John Wilson, Port Fairy, a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, landed at Melbourne in 1863. After a time he took charge of the experimental farm at Keilor, and remained there nearly five years. In 1868 he went to Warrambool, and was there engaged for some time as a produce merchant and representative for stock and station agents in Melbourne. He then joined the firm of Samuel Macgregor and Co. For six years he acted as stock and station auctioneer in Melbourne, and then entered into land speculations. In 1882 he was one of a syndicate of four who purchased the Mewburn Park Estate, Gippsland, and resold it in twenty-eight farms. He was interested in Queensland station property for eleven years. In 1883, in conjunction with his brother, he purchased the Yallock Estate, near Terang, from Mr. C. B. Fisher, and resold it in thirty-five farms. In 1884 he purchased nearly 2000 acres of the Farnham Survey from Messrs. Rutledge, part of which he has resold in farms. Mr. Anderson is one of the syndicate of three who lately purchased the Belfast Special Survey, including most of the town of Port Fairy, and resold it in farm and town lots; and, as one of a syndicate, has lately purchased the Woodlands Estate, near Bairnsdale, with view to cut up into farms. His present homestead is Tower-hill Park, having a frontage to the beautiful Tower-hill Lake, and he has a private residence in Port Fairy.

Baird, John, J.P., MR.C.S.E, Port Fairy, is a native of the North of Ireland, where he was educated in his younger days. He attended the Glasgow University, and afterwards graduated at the Ledwitche School of Medicine, Dublin. He received his degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, England; but, previous to that, was licentiate in midwifery at Coombe Hospital, Dublin. On arriving in Victoria in 1864, he took up the practice of medicine at Coleraine, where he remained five years, being afterwards five years in Daylesford. In 1876 he went to Port Fairy, where he enjoys a large practice. Dr. Baird is surgeon to the Port Fairy Hospital, also to the Port Fairy Battery of Royal Garrison Artillery. He holds Her Majesty’s commission of the peace for the western bailiwick.

Bank of Australasia, Port Fairy. The local branch of the Bank of Australasia was established in 1853. The present manager, Mr. James Hogg, has been identified with the Bank of Australasia for over twenty years. He first took management of the Kooringa branch, South Australia, where he remained five years, and was transferred to the Port Fairy branch in 1886. Mr. Hogg is treasurer to the Hospital, and a member of the committee of the Mechanics’ School of Arts.

Bourne, Charles, Port Fairy, who was born at Bath, England, and educated at home, came out to Victoria in 1854, landing at Port Fairy. In 1856 he built Victoria Cottage, his present residence, at a time when there was neither house nor fence between its site and the bridge. In 1861 he went to the New Zealand diggings, and, after being moderately successful, returned to Port Fairy in 1864, and has remained there since. Mr. Bourne was elected a member of the Belfast Borough Council about ten years since, and still retains the seat. He is a member of the Hospital and Mechanics’ Institute committees, and vice-president of the local horticultural society.

Cameron, Alexander, Port Fairy, was born in Portland, Victoria, and resided there twenty years, when, after completing his apprenticeship, he went to Belfast, and commenced business on his own account. Since going there he has carried on general coach-building and blacksmithing. Mr. Cameron takes a great interest in the exploration of the islands along the coast, especially Lady Julia Percy Island. While yet learning his trade in Portland, he ran away from home, and spent four months on a whaling expedition, and acquired some most interesting experiences relative to the monsters of the deep, of which he and his co-mates were in search.

Cay, Serjeant-Major, Port Fairy, is a native of Fifeshire, Scotland. He joined the army, and in 1858 was sent to India, whither he went, at the fag end of the mutiny, with the 93rd Highlanders. He then joined the Imperial Indian army as Quartermaster-Serjeant, being connected with it for twelve years. He left India in 1880, and came to Victoria, being two years in Ballarat, where he joined the Victorian Artillery, from which he received his present appointment as Serjeant-Major of the Port Fairy Garrison Battery of Artillery.

Colonial Bank, Port Fairy. The local branch of the Colonial Bank of Australasia was established about 1867. The present manager, Mr. J. K. Powell, was over eighteen years in the head office in Melbourne as accountant, and took charge of this branch at the beginning of 1887. Mr. Powell’s birthplace is Barnard Castle, Durham. He is a native of Durham, England, and came out to Australia with his parents when but a child.

Finn, Lawrence, Port Fairy, a native of Ireland, came to Australia in 1841, landing at Melbourne. In 1845 he went to Port Fairy, has lived there ever since, and now resides at Comely Bank, near the town. Mr. Finn is a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick, and a member of the local agricultural society.

Freckleton and M‘Callum, Port Fairy. Both these gentlemen are natives of Victoria, who, in 1884, established themselves in business as stock, station, insurance, and general commission agents at Port Fairy and Koroit. They hold sales at Port Fairy on Saturday, and at Koroit on Thursday in each week.

Gibson, John, Port Fairy, is a native of Cavan, Ireland, who sailed in the John Lillure, which vessel, after being two days out, was wrecked on Lambay Island, over 500 persons being lost. He reshipped in the Golden Era, and landed in Melbourne 22nd June, 1854, and went to Port Fairy (Belfast) 6th July of the same year. He held a farm on the Farnham Survey for about twelve years, and then purchased his present place at Leura, where he is engaged in farming and grazing. Mr. Gibson is the breeder of St. Peter and Irrilee.

Goble, Joseph, Port Fairy, a native of England, came out to Victoria in 1857, and settled in Belfast two years later. He learned the trade of miller and mill engineer. He leased what was known as A. Knight’s mill, and erected the Port Fairy mills he now owns in 1864. From 1871 to 1881 he leased his mills, and retired from business. Mr. Goble has been four years a member of the borough council, and has always taken a general interest in the milling and shipping interests, and in all matters affecting the public benefit.

Grant, Louis, Port Fairy, is the son of Captain Louis Grant, a seafaring man, who first visited Belfast about 1836, and settled there in 1842, following the occupation of shipping and commission agent until his death in 1886, when Mr. L. Grant, junior, succeeded him in the business, and still carries it on, being extensively engaged in connection with grain, potatoes, and wool.

Haynes, George, Port Fairy, a native of Staffordshire, England, came out to Victoria in 1854, and soon afterwards settled in Belfast, where he has carried on the business of draper and general merchant up to the present. He has always taken a lively interest in public affairs, and was a member of the local council about eighteen years, and was its first mayor. He was also president of the Belfast shire council for two years, and is president of the Hospital and Benevolent Asylum committees. For a number of years he was a member of the old School Board of Advice, and was one of the original founders of the Mechanics’ Institute.

Holden, John Bryson, Port Fairy, was born at Randalstown, in the County of Antrim, Ireland, in 1835. He was educated at Antrim, and served several years at linen manufacturing, and being also engaged in farming on his father’s property. He landed in Melbourne by the Lightning, 5th August, 1855, and a few days afterwards proceeded to Warrnambool, where he was for three years in the employ of Messrs. Manifold and Bostock, merchants. He then went fanning and steam-threshing at Tooram and Allandale, and in May, 1863, paid a short visit to England; after which he resumed steam-threshing for a time, and was then employed as a tramway clerk at Warrnambool. In 1864 he removed his threshing plant to Mount Gambier, S.A., where he did veil for some seasons, and then went into partnership with his brother, Mr. J. C. Holden, in grazing pursuits on land they purchased under Grant’s Act of 1865. Subsequently he purchased his brother’s share, and let the property. In 1872 he assumed the management of the Belfast branch of the business of S. Macgregor and Co. as auctioneers, &C.; and after the closing of that firm in October, 1874, has carried on the business on his own account, having from time to time conducted many important sales, notably that of the Belfast Special Survey (conjointly with Messrs. Fiskin, Gibson and Co. and Messrs. Jellie and St. Quintin). The sale of this estate was an extraordinary success. The proprietors, Messrs. Whitley, Smith and Anderson, purchased it for and three months afterwards its resale in subdivisions, which occupied two days (31st March and 1st April, 1885), aggregated over £100,000, with some land remaining unsold. Prior to the sale Mr. Holden had purchased a share in the venture, and at the auction sale of the Survey he bought largely. He holds the position of member of the Hospital committee, and in 1877 was president of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association of Port Fairy.

Hutton Bros., Port Fairy. The present sole proprietor of this extensive grocery, wine and spirit, and ironmongery business is Mr. George Hutton. It was originally established by the brothers George and Thomas Hutton, and so conducted until 1875, when Mr. Thomas Hutton retired from mercantile to pastoral life. Mr. Hutton does a large wholesale and retail trade, being a direct importer, and a purchaser and shipper of all kinds of dairy produce. He was seventeen years a member of the local council, being twice elected mayor, and has also been a justice of the peace for twenty years. He has always taken a lively interest in harbour improvements, and other matters affecting the public welfare.

Ireland, Robert, Port Fairy, is a native of Selkirkshire, Scotland, and served his apprenticeship as a carpenter at Galashiels. He came out to Victoria in 1854, and, with the exception of three years spent in Gippsland, has resided there ever since, carrying on the business of builder and contractor, and has many customers in the vicinity of thirty years’ standing. His brother Mr. James Ireland came out with him, and they did business together for nearly twenty years, about ten of which they were associated with Mr. Southcombe, under the style of Southcombe and Ireland. Mr. James Ireland retired from the firm, and took up land as a selector in Gippsland, where he resided until his death. Mr. Robert Ireland has been a member of the Port Fairy borough council for many years. He was mayor of Port Fairy in 1887, and holds Her Majesty’s commission of the peace for the western bailiwick. He is president of the Mechanics’ Institute, and president of the Port Fairy Hospital and Benevolent Asylum, and has been president of the Agricultural Association. He takes a lively interest in the harbour improvements, and in questions of public interest generally.

Jackson, Joseph John, Port Fairy, arrived in this colony in 1860, having come to Melbourne by the ship Allwell from Plymouth, England. He first took up his residence at Ballarat, where he was on the diggings nearly five years, going afterwards to Scarsdale, where he was butchering five or six years. In 1876 he went to Warrnambool, and shortly afterwards removed to Port Fairy, where he started the same trade with his brother, and has, since 1886, carried on the business of family butcher in Sackville-street on his own account.

Jermyn, D., L.R.C.S.I., is a native of Ireland, where he took his degree as above at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1850. Arrived in Melbourne in 1854, and shortly afterwards commenced practice in Port Fairy, where he had charge of the hospital, and was district coroner till 1875, when he removed to Warrnambool. He went to Ballarat in 1879, and there continued to Western District, and at present several years a member of the Medical Society of Victoria, to which he has at various times been a contributor of papers on interesting subjects.

Keating, Dominic, Port Fairy, a native of Kildare, Ireland was educated in that country, and came out to Victoria at twenty-one years of age, landing at Belfast, where he took a situation, and remained in it eleven years. In June, 1877, he took the Union Hotel, which he still keeps, and which he purchased about three years since. Mr. Keating was elected a member of the Belfast borough council in August, 1882, and still retains the office. He is a member of the Hospital committee, of the agricultural society, and of the Hibernian Society, of what latter he is treasurer, and has occupied the position of president two years, and of vice-president a similar length of time. He is vice-president of the Port Fairy Football Club.

Kell, Major Andrew, Port Fairy, is a native of this town. His parents came out from Scotland in 1842, and settled, first in Sydney, N.S.W., and then in Belfast, where his father had the management of a store for Mr. Rutledge, in whose employ he remained for several years, and on leaving bought and settled on a farm at Koroit, where he still resides. Mr. Andrew Kell, on leaving school, took an appointment in Mr. Bateman’s office, Belfast, where he stayed some time. He was then the purser of the Rob Roy steamship, and next took charge of a set of books for a prominent firm in Belfast, present business of commission and shipping agent, in which he handles large quantities of grain, potatoes, and wool, shipping the latter both to the Melbourne and London markets. Major Kell is in command of the Port Fairy Battery of Garrison Artillery.

M’Kechnie, John, Port Fairy. The brothers M’Kechnie, Hugh, Richard, Peter, William, Charles, George, and John, purchased the property known as Lagoon Lodge in the Port Fairy district in May, 1887, and on its conducts a farming and grazing business. It has an area of 1280 acres, and is of limestone foundation, with sand hummocks. The brothers M’Kechnie have also a place called Lornwood at Balmoral.

Osburne, G. W., Port Fairy, was born in Sydney, N.S.W., and came to Victoria in 1840, living in Portland until 1858, when he went to Warrnambool to assist in conducting the newspaper carried on by his uncle in that place, the Warrnambool Examiner. In 1864 he removed to Belfast, where he is the proprietor of the Port Fairy Gazette, a newspaper which he conducts on independent lines, and which has an extensive circulation throughout the Western District.

Osmond, Alfred Edward, Port Fairy, a native of Bristol, England, came to Melbourne in December, 1852, and a few weeks afterwards went to Port Fairy (Belfast), where his father established the Market Hotel about twenty years since. Mr. A. E. Osmond, who now has the hotel, has been connected with the butchering business for over twenty-four years, the last ten years on his own account.

Powling, William, Port Fairy, is a native of Victoria, born at Port Fairy, and educated at Belfast and at a Melbourne. He was articled to Mr. S. J. Bayly, solicitor, and was admitted tin 1869, after which he went into partnership with Mr. Bayly, the firm conducting business as attorneys, solicitors, proctors, and conveyancers, under the style of Bayly and Powling in Belfast and Warrnambool. Mr. Powling being in charge of the Belfast branch. On the death of Mr. Bayly, in 1870, Mr. Powling purchased the Belfast business, and has conducted it ever since. He is a Commissioner of the Supreme Court of the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales for taking affidavits in Victoria; also, a Commissioner for taking acknowledgements of married women.

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Sickler, John, Port Fairy, was born in Cornwall, England, and learned the tailoring trade in London. In 1850 he proceeded to California, and in 1852 landed in Port Phillip, and tried his fortune on the diggings. The most important event in Mr. Sickler’s digging experience was his being one of three men who opened the Prince Regent Gully in Ballarat in 1853, an event the importance of which only contemporaries can fully appreciate. Mr. Sickler now carries on business as a merchant tailor in Sackvill-street, Port Fairy. He is a member of the local borough council.

Showers, Robert, and Co., Belfast. This firm consists of the brothers Robert and Charles Showers, both natives of the colony, and sons of Mr. Robert Showers, of North Fitzroy, Melbourne, who was born at Bangalore, East Indies, of English parents, and came to Australia in 1852, where he was first mayor of Fitzroy. Mr. Robert Showers, junior, went to Belfast in 1860, where he filled the position of accountant until 1885, when, with his brother Charles as a partner, he established their present extensive and flourishing grocery and general storekeeping business in Bank-street, Belfast.

Southcombe, Thomas, Port Fairy, a native of Devonshire, England, came to this country in 1854. He had been taught the trade of a carpenter at home, and when he arrived commenced as a contractor and builder in Belfast, which business he has carried on ever since. From 1860 to 1872 he was in partnership with Ireland Bros., under the style of Southcombe and Ireland, and during that time added ironmongery to his other business. He was seven years a member of the local council, and was mayor one year. Mr. Southcombe has always taken a marked interest in the harbour improvements, and gives Mr. Steel, the Superintendent of Public Works, great credit for the services he rendered in that direction from the commencement. Mr. Southcombe has drawn building materials across the River Moyne with bullock teams in place where laden steamers now pass in and out without hindrance.

Suter, Andrew Vernon, J.P., Port Fairy, was born in India, and came out to this colony about 1845, by the Aberton. He landed at Melbourne, and soon afterwards proceeded to the Geelong District. In 1848 he purchased the Castlemaddie Station on Darlot’s Creek, at Tyrendarra, near Portland, and in 1853 went to Yambuk, and bought the Yambuk Station on the Shaw River. Mr. Suter now resides at Talara, Port Fairy, and is a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick.

Thomas, Edwin, Port Fairy, is a Victorian native, born at Yambuk. He was engaged for about six years in the boot business in Warrnambool and Port Fairy,and nearly two years since purchased the Bank Hotel, Sackville-street, in the latter town, where he now carries on business, having stables in connection therewith.

Unkles, Robert Edward, Port Fairy, is a native of Victoria, born in Geelong, of Irish parentage. He went to Port Fairy (Belfast District) in 1843, where he rented land, and afterwards purchased his present property, Oakvale, in 1855, going to reside on it early in 1856, and being engaged in farming and grazing upon it. Mr. Unkles has been a member of the Belfast shire council.

Watson, Rev., James Marriott, Belfast. This gentleman, who was born in Tasmania, came to Melbourne in 1866, and went thence to Liverpool in New South Wales, where he pursued his studies. He was first appointed to All Saints’ Church of England, Ballarat, and remained in that charge for three years. After being five years at Mortlake, and four years at Horsham, he was appointed to Belfast in 1879, and took up his duties early in 1880. His average congregation is 300, and he has a Sabbath-school with an average attendance of 100 children. Mr. Watson holds a weekly teacher’s class, Thursday evening services, and mothers’ meetings in connection with the church. Yambuk and Orford are parts of his district, there being service at the former place every Sunday afternoon, and once a quarter at the latter.

Webb, William, Port Fairy, was born in Wiltshire, England, and came out in 1852, having learned his business of machine maker in England, with Mr. William Cambridge, proprietor of the Market Lavington Iron Works, and a prominent agricultural engineer. Mr. Webb landed in this colony in Portland, and soon afterwards went to Port Fairy (Belfast), where, in company with his brother, he established a coach-building and engineering business under the style of H. and W. Webb, and has remained at it ever since, with the exception of a short time spent on the diggings and working in Melbourne. Some twenty years ago Mr. H. Webb retired from the firm, when Mr. W. Webb assumed the sole ownership of the business, which also includes the proprietorship of steam threshing-machines. He makes a specialty of heavy grubbing-machines for clearing land. Mr. Webb has served as a member of the local council for about twenty-five years, and has been thrice mayor, and is at present a director in the Belfast and Koroit Steam Navigation Company.

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