The South-Western (Camperdown) District in 1888 – Biographical sketches of the Prominent Residents

Aikman, James, Mortlake, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Melbourne in 1854, when he proceeded, the same year, to Warrnambool, and carried on a building business in conjunction with Messrs. Hamilton and Geddes. In 1857 the partners purchased the flour mill at Mount Shadwell, then a windmill, and in the following year bought a steam-engine. About 1871 Mr. Hamilton retired from the firm, and Mr. Geddes died about eight years since, leaving Mr. Aikman sole proprietor. This gentleman has also a selection of land in the parish of Laang, and a sawmill adjoining. He has held Her Majesty’s commission of the peace for the western bailiwick since 1884, and is a trustee for the local cemetery and recreation grounds.  

Armstrong, Alexander,Warrambine, left Scotland and came to Melbourne in 1852. He first took the position of overseer for Mr. Alexander Cunningham, and then of manager for Mr. Bell, of Warrambine Station, from whom he afterwards leased 40,000 acres, shearing from that and other places 80,000 sheep. He also bought the Watch Hill Station of about 11,000 acres of the finest grazing land in the colony, which property has since doubled in value. It formerly belonged to the late Major John Bell, who died worth £500,000. Mr. Armstrong has been married twice, the first time in England, the second time in the colony, and has a family of eleven children.

Armstrong, James, Mortlake, was born in Scotland, and arrived in Melbourne in 1848, landing at Geelong. About 1854 he purchased a station in conjunction with Mr. W. J. Reid, in the Swan Hill district, and remained there four years, after which he removed to Hexham, and carried on farming until 1875, when he purchased property in Mortlake, on which he has resided ever since. His family consists of one son and seven daughters.

Armstrong, James, Terang, was born in the county Fermanagh, Ireland, and came to Australia in 1860, landing at Geelong. In 1861 he went to Lake Keilambete, near Terang, and selected land, on which he has resided ever since, being one of the first to select in the locality. Mr. Armstrong is now eighty years of age, and carries on the business of a grazier.

Armstrong, William, J.P., Hexham, was born in Scotland, and arrived in Victoria in August, 1839, landing at Port Phillip. He lived near Geelong for five or six years; then went to Allanvale, near Ararat, where he spent two years, and thence to Devon Park for three years. In 1851 he settled down at Hexham, purchasing from Mr. Dunlop his present property, the Hexham Park Estate, which had been first settled on by Captain Adams. Mr. Armstrong is one of the largest landowners in the district, and makes a speciality of breeding Lincolnshire sheep. He is a member of the shire council of Mortlake, and a justice of the peace for the western bailiwick. We show an illustration of Mr. Armstrong’s residence “Hexham Park.”

Austin, Thomas, Winchelsea (deceased). This gentleman, whose memory is yet kept green as being so intimately identified with the very highest order of horse and other stock breeding in Victoria, and the name of whose estate, “Barwon Park,” was almost a synonym for “nothing but good,” came out from Great Britain to Tasmania, about the year 1835, with his parents and four brothers and a sister. His father however, disliking or being disappointed with that colony, soon afterwards returned to England, and his mother followed, after waiting for a time to witness the marriage of her daughter to the late Mr. Joseph Mack, of Berry Bank. Mr. T. Austin, in company with his brother James (now of Glastonbury Abbey, Somersetshire, England), left Tasmania in 1839, and proceeded to Victoria with a number of sheep, their intention being to take up land in the then comparatively little known territory of Port Phillip. They directed their steps towards the pastoral country lying to the westward of Geelong, and selected a tract of country on the east bank of the Barwon River, near what is now the flourishing township of Winchelsea. This place they called Barwon Park, and this was the nucleus of the magnificent estate, one of the finest in that part of the country, which is now known by the same name, and which still remains in the possession of the family. Mr. Austin did much, not only to improve and render valuable his own property; he was an ardent admirer of well-bred stock, and made his mark in the colony, and at the same time added to the general weal, by his importation of valuable horses and Lincoln sheep, which latter he was the first to introduce into Victoria. He also brought out partridges, pheasants, hares, and other game for acclimatisation in the land of his adoption. He built a large and handsome mansion on his estate, with commodious stabling and other necessary appurtenances for the splendid breeds of blood horses which it was his pleasure to rear, and whose fame yet dwells in the fond memory of sportsmen. During the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to Australia, Mr. Austin was thrice honoured by having His Royal Highness as a guest at his house, nor is it too much to say that a visit to Barwon Park was, under the auspices of its hospitable owner, always looked upon with pleasure by the best people in the country. Mr. Austin made two trips to England. He married on the 14th August, 1845, Miss Elizabeth Phillip Harding, daughter of Mr. Robert Harding, of Somersetshire, England and died 15th December, 1871. He had a family of eleven children, eight of whom, four sons and four daughters, are living.

Austin, Mrs. Thomas, Winchelsea, was born at Middle Chinnock, Somersetshire, England, on the 14th August, 1821. This lady was the daughter of Mr. Robert Harding, and granddaughter of Mr. James Harding, of Henly Grove, Somersetshire. On her twentieth birthday she left England for Victoria (where she arrived in due course), with her eldest brother, Mr. William Harding, with whom she lived at Murdeduke until her marriage on the 14th August, 1845, with the late Mr. Thomas Austin, of Barwon Park, Winchelsea. Mr. Harding brought out with him two men servants to the colony, and his sister, Miss Harding who was the only lady saloon passenger by the vessel the Ward Chapman), and a maid servant. At the time of her arrival in Victoria, and especially in the part of it where she was located, everything was in a most primitive state. So numerous were the snakes in the vicinity, that no lady ventured to walk out without being armed with a stick for the purpose of self-defence, and, as a matter of fact, many of those noxious reptiles were destroyed in that way. Mrs. Austin resided for many years with her husband on his fine estate, Barwon Park, until his death on the 15th December, 1871. She is the mother of eleven children, eight of whom, four sons and four daughters, still survive, and all of whom are married, and have families. But it is, perhaps, not so much as the widow of Mr. Austin that this estimable lady is best known to the public. Her name, it may be said, is crowned with a still higher honour, namely, that of being a benefactor to the poor and suffering in their sore need. Few, indeed, are there throughout the length and breadth of Australia who have not heard of that inestimable institution, the Austin Hospital for Incurables, and who do not revere the name of the generous and single-minded woman who was its founder, and whose gracious name it bears. This admirable hospital came about thus:— An old servant having been dismissed from the Geelong Hospital as incurable, it entered the mind of Mrs. Austin that Christian charity demanded that some provision should be made for such, saddest of all unfortunates. To see the need was, with her, to supply it, and in July, 1881, the Marquis of Normanby, then Governor of Victoria, laid the foundation-stone of the Austin Hospital for Incurables, at Heidelberg. The work went rapidly on, and on 14th August, 1882, the institution was opened by Mr. C. J. Ham, Mayor of Melbourne, and it now stands a handsome structure, and a lasting memorial of the benevolence of the lady to whom it owes its existence. But this one institution does not exhaust the benefactions of Mrs. Austin. She has built reading-rooms in Chilwell Geelong, which were opened by the late Sir C. Sladen. She also gave the sum of £800 towards the Servants’ Training Institute, Yarra Park. She has built, at her own expense, twelve cottages for the poor of Geelong and Winchelsea, in South Geelong; and four cottages of larger size for the educated poor, with a large hall, &c., and tower, to be called the “Victoria Tower,” on account of its being erected in the Jubilee year. in such wise, Mrs. Austin has nobly fulfilled her share of those “duties” which, no less than its privileges, are assumed to be an attribute of wealth.

Baker, James, Noorat, is a native of the colony, born at the Koort-Koort-Nong Station, near Camperdown. He is a son of the late Edmond Baker, who came to Australia in 1852, and died 10th October, 1854, leaving a widow and family. About 1865 Mrs. Edmond Baker went to the parish of Glenormiston, where she selected land, and remained until her death, 26th March, 1884, after which her youngest son, Mr. James Baker, took possession of the property, and now resides on it, carrying on the business of a grazier. Mr. Baker was married 17th August, 1886.

Baker, John, Purrumbete, a native of Ireland, arrived in Australia in 1852, landing in Geelong, and proceeded to Camperdown the same year. In 1865 he selected land under Grant’s Act, and carried on agricultural operations for ten years, when he sold the property and purchased 1760 acres in North Purrumbete, on which he now resides and carries on grazing. He was married in 1874, and has a family of three sons and three daughters.

Barr, John, Ondit, is a native of Yorkshire, England, who arrived in Melbourne in October, 1852. In 1853 he went to the Forest Creek goldfield (Chewton), and thence to Bendigo, his efforts in mining being crowned with only partial success, and after that returned to Melbourne. About 1855 he and his brother Francis purchased over 400 acres of land at the Harkaway Ranges, in the neighbourhood of Dandenong, and continued in partnership for about ten years, when Mr. J. Barr sold his interest to his brother. In 1865 he went to Ondit, and has carried on business there as a farmer ever since. Mr. Barr was the first president of the Berwick and Ondit total abstinence societies. He is a trustee of the local cemetery, and a member of the local school board of advice.

Beal, Charles, Lorne, is the second son of Mr. Thomas Beal, corn and hop merchant, of Mark-lane, London. He was born in 1821, at Sandwich, Kent, England, and at the age of nearly seventeen made up his mind to come to Australia. He sailed from London 23rd February, 1838, and arrived at Hobartown, Tasmania, 17th July of the same year, after one of the quickest passages on record in those days. He had letters of introduction to Sir John Franklin, then Governor of Tasmania, and, after spending about nine months in Hobartown, being incited there to by hearing glowing reports about the new settlement of Port Phillip, he determined on going there. On the voyage over the vessel got stuck fast for two days among the seaweed near one of the islands in Bass’s Straits, and, arriving at Port Phillip, she was made fast to the ti-tree at the junction of the Yarra and Saltwater Rivers, it taking Mr. Beal and a fellow-passenger named Thomas Wells two hours to break through the scrub. They arrived in Melbourne in April, 1839. There were then but few houses in Collins-street. The “Club,” built by Mr. John Pascoe Fawkner, was on the site of the present Union Club Hotel, at the corner of Collins and Market streets; the Lamb Inn, now Scott’s Hotel, was constructed of weatherboard and “wattle and dab,” and, to obtain access, it was necessary to go up five feet of stone steps, the present billiard-room at Scott’s being the original level. The British Hotel in King-street, and the Horse and Jockey in Little Bourke-street, were then built. The police office was in Market-square; Captain Lonsdale, superintendent of Port Phillip, lived on the bank of the Yarra, near what is now Richmond; the Commissioner of Crown Lands was Mr. Powlett; Mr. Kelsh, the postmaster, resided in a small four-roomed cottage in Little Collins-street; and Mr. James Smith, the actuary of the Savings Bank, conducted divine service in a weatherboard building with no flooring. After being nine months in Melbourne, Mr. Beal went to Geelong in 1840, in a small craft called the Devonshire, the passage taking two days. In December, 1842, Mr. Deal joined Mr. Trebeck, and went to the Barwon, now called Winchelsea, and built there the Barwon Hotel. About 1846, Messrs. Thomas Austin, H. Hopkins, and a few neighbours erected the first stone church at Winchelsca, which was formally opened by Bishop Perry, and is now used as a school-room. Mr. Beal still remembers the happy days he spent in that locality in the bygone time, and feels a natural pride in the fact that the old firm of Beal and Trebeck founded the town of Winchelsea. In 1853 they rented the Mount Gellibrand Station from Mr. Charles Ayrey for seven years. In 1860 Mr. Trebeck left the firm and went to Sydney, N.S.W.; the property was divided, and Mr. Beal purchased the station (Bleak House, Mount Gellibrand, near Birregurra) where he lived until 1882, when he went to reside at his present abode at Lorne. Mr. Beal served for four years (from 1862) as councillor in the shire of Winchelsea, and for thirteen years in the shire of Colac, being twice elected president, and resigning on his removal to Lorne in 1882. In 1868 he was sworn in as territorial magistrate, and officiates now in the southern bailiwick.

Black, Hon. Neil, J.P., Noorat (deceased), arrived in Australia in 1839, and went to the Camperdown district, where, in partnership with Mr. Finlay, of Castle Tower, Argyleshire, Scotland; Mr. Stuart Gladstone, of Capenock, Scotland; and Mr. Stewart, of Glenormiston, Perthshire, Scotland, he purchased the Glenormiston property. The partnership continued until 1868, when the property was divided. Mr. Black bought Mr. Glad stone’s portion, now known as Mount Noorat, and resided on it until his death in 1880. Mr. Black was for many years a representative of the Western Province in the Legislative Council, and was also a magistrate for the southern bailiwick. This property was originally owned by Mr. Taylor, and it may be mentioned that the native blacks were very troublesome when that gentleman settled on the land, as, indeed, they were when Mr. Black settled. The property remains in the hands of Mr. Black’s sons, who reside on the estate.

Boyd, James A., Pomborneit, is a native of the colony, born at Belmont, near Geelong, in 1857. He came to the Camperdown district with his parents at eight years of age. His father, the late Mr. Alexander Boyd, selected land near Camperdown, on which he resided until his death; Mr. James A. Boyd remaining on the property afterwards until 1886, when he purchased 430 acres from Mr. D. N. Moodie, where he now lives, and carries on grazing.

Brain, Isaac, Kolora, was born in the parish of Bitton, county Gloucestershire, England, and came to Australia in April, 1853, being detained in quarantine at Point Nepean for eight months. He then spent twelve months in Melbourne, and a few years on the Plenty. In 1859 he went to Terang, and after a time removed to Kolora, selecting land under the occupation license, and has resided on it ever since, carrying on grazing. In 1883 he married the widow of the late Mr. John Nelson, builder, an early pioneer of the colony, who died in 1882.

Brennan, Nicholas, Noorat, was born in the county Kilkenny, Ireland, and came to Australia in September, 1855. He landed at Williamstown, and then went to Ballarat and Bendigo, and followed digging avocations for about seven years. After a visit to New Zealand, he went to Sydney, New South Wales, and was on the Lachlan diggings for about a year, going back after that to New Zewland, and remaining there eighteen months. Finally he returned to Victoria and purchased land in the parish of Glenormiston, where he now resides, and carries on farming and grazing.

Brumley, William, Mortlake, was born in Lincolnshire, England, and arrived in Australia in 1847, remaining a short time in Melbourne, and then going to the St. Mary’s Station, near Warrnambool. In 1851 he went to the gold diggings for a time, but returned to the Western District, purchased the Woolshed Inn, at Hexham, in 1852, and conducted it about two years. In 1854 he went to Mortlake, and purchased land at Mount Shadwell, carrying on agricultural pursuits there for a number of years. He was one of the first persons who purchased land in the Mortlake district, and erected the first store in the township.

Buchanan, Charles, J.P., Vine Bank, Ondit, was born in Glasgow in 1833, and emigrated to New South Wales in 1856, landing at Sydney. In the same year he came to Victoria, and, like most other new arrivals, went to the goldfields for a time. He went back to Scotland in 1858, and the following year returned to Victoria, where he spent two years with Mr. Hugh Murray as gardener. He then went to Ondit, and purchased untimbered land, and in 1861 planted an orchard and vineyard, on which he now resides. He was elected a member of the shire council in 1870, and still retains the seat, being elected president in 1874, and again in 1884; since which date he has been appointed to Her Majesty’s commission of the peace. Mr. Buchanan has been twice married, and has a family of three children.

Campbell, Simon, Colac. This gentleman was born in the county Clare, Ireland, in 1817, and arrived in Victoria on 25th June, 1849, going to Colac in the same year. He commenced business as a blacksmith, purchased an allotment, and built a shop and dwelling-house of slabs and bark. At this time there were but three houses in Colac. In August, 1849, Mr. Campbell shod the first police horse, and in November of the same year he did the ironwork of the first police station in the district. About 1854 he purchased an acre of land in the township for £30, and ten years afterwards realised £500 for half of it. About twenty-five years since he bought ninety-five acres adjoining the township, and built a brick house, where he now resides, and conducts his business of farming and grazing. Mr. Campbell was married about 1850. His family consists of two sons and two daughters.

Advertisements

Clifford, Charles W., Kolora, was born in Leicestershire, England, and came out to Australia in 1852, following the occupation of gold-mining for about six months, and then going to Warrnambool, and remaining there until 1860, when he took a trip to Europe, and returned in 1861. He next went to Kolara, selected and purchased land under the Heales Act, and has resided there since. In 1857 he was married, and has a family of two sons and two daughters.

Cohen, M., Camperdown, is a native of Poland, who came out to Australia in May, 1854, and landed in Melbourne. He commenced in the jewellery business, and carried it on eight years, and was then at the goldfields for three and a-half years, being successful during the last year. In 1873 he opened a jewellery store in Colac, and conducted the business there eleven years, after which he engaged in the same line in Camperdown, where he now carries on business.

Cole, Mrs. Isabella, is the widow of the late Mr. Francis Cole, who arrived in Victoria from Plymouth in December, 1842. Mrs. Cole, who came to Victoria from London in December, 1849, was married to Mr. Cole in 1856 at West Cloven Hill, near Darlington, by the Rev. Mr. Hamilton. They then went to reside at Woodlands, near Camperdown, where Mr. Cole settled and remained carrying on grazing until his death in November, 1873. He left a widow and a family of five sons and seven daughters. Mr. F. Cole was highly esteemed in the district both as a man of business and as a private gentleman for his generosity and general urbanity.

Cole, Nicholas, Camperdown, is a native of Victoria, born at West Cloven Hills, near Camperdown, in 1856. His father, the late Mr. Nicholas Cole, came to Australia in 1839, landing in Sydney, N.S.W., and then coming over to Victoria, and taking up the West Cloven Hills, and the Meningoort Stations, in conjunction with Mr. Peter M’Arthur, they being the first occupants of the property. Mr. Cole, senior, was widely known for his genial disposition and unbounded hospitality to all with whom he came in contact. One memorable act of the deceased, which showed an admirable trait in his character, is worthy of record. Some years ago a meeting of land-holders was held, when it was proposed that a night’s lodging on stations should be denied to travelling swagmen unless they paid for it. Mr. Cole, who was present when the proposition was made, immediately rose and said, “Gentlemen, I must leave you, because while I have a sheep, I shall never deny a working man a night’s lodging.” This outspoken language had the effect of dissolving the meeting, and crushing the parsimonious proposal.

Condie, Matthew, Cobden, is a native of Fifeshire, Scotland, who arrived in Australia, landing at Portland Bay, in 1855. Soon afterwards he went to Geelong, and remained there four years, renting land near the town for three years, and next moving to Colac for two years. In 1865 he selected land under Grant’s Act at South Purrumbete, and settled down there grazing and dairy-farming on his present location. Mr. Condie was married in Scotland, and has a family of two sons and two daughters.

Cowley, Edwin, Camperdown, is English born, and came out to Australia in 1856, landing in Sydney, N.S.W., where he remained twelve months, and then came over to Victoria and settled at Bendigo, living there for about nine years. During that period he was drummer in the band of the volunteer rifle corps for four and a-half years. Leaving there he went to Ballarat and Daylesford, and also to Geelong for a while. In 1865 he went to Camperdown, and stayed there eighteen months, going thence to Melbourne, where he carried on business as tailor and outfitter until 1879, when he returned to Camperdown, and commenced business in the same line, in which he is still engaged.

Coyle, Michael, Terang, was born in the county Donegal, Ireland, and arrived in Australia in 1852, going first to the Port Fairy district,and shortly afterwards to Purnim, where he carried on farming until 1868. He then moved to the parish of Garvoc, and selected under Grant’s Land Act, and has resided on his property ever since, carrying on grazing and farming. He was married about 1859, and has a family of one son and four daughters.

Cummins, William, Camperdown, is a native of Lifford, county Donegal, Ireland, who came out to Melbourne in 1861. In 1864 he went to the Camperdown district, and carried on farming there until 1877, when he started in business as wool-classer in the various colonies. He now resides at Gnotuk, two miles from Camperdown, where he has purchased land and built a dwelling-house.

Curdie, Dr., Cobden (deceased). The late Dr. Curdie sailed for Australia and landed at Port Phillip in 1839. He proceeded thence to Sydney, whence he returned overland with cattle, and settled on the Tandarook Station, on Curdie’s Creek, in October, 1840. In 1851 he visited Scotland, and returned to Australia in January, 1854, remaining at Tandarook (Cobden), about ten miles south of Camperdown, until his death on the 22nd February, 1884. In 1847 the first church was started in the Camperdown district. Amongst the principal promoters were Dr. Curdie, Mr. Neil Black, and Mr. Lachlan M’Kioonon. Dr. Curdie, after whom is named Curdie’s Creek and Curdie’s Inlet, was one of the pioneers of the Western District, and was highly respected by all who knew him, both for his genial temperament and intellectual capacity.

Dawson, James, Camperdown, was born at Bonnytown, near Linlithgow, Scotland, and came to Melbourne in his colonial career by taking up a station on the Yarra, where he remained for three or four years. He removed thence to the Port Fairy district, and there purchased a station, which he held until the Duffy Land Act of 1862 interfered with the squatting system, when he sold out, and afterwards retired from active business. Mr. Dawson then devoted his attention to the collecting of information about the aborigines of his district, which he embodied in his work, “Australian Aborigines,” published by George Robertson, Melbourne, in 1881, and frequently referred to in our chapter on the Aboriginal Tribes, Vol. I. Mr. Dawson also caused to be erected by subscriptions from friends a very handsome obelisk in memory of the extinct blacks of the Camperdown district. It is a fine grey granite obelisk twenty feet in height, and cost nearly £200, and stands in the central spot of the Camperdown cemetery.

Dennis, Alexander, Birregurra, was born in Cornwall, England, and landed at Hobson’s Bay in 1840. He went over to Tasmania to purchase sheep, bullocks, horses, drays, and farming implements, which he brought over to Victoria — then Port Phillip — at Point Henry, near Geelong. The same year he settled near Colac, and embarked in squatting pursuits until the land was open for purchase. Mr. Dennis and his son own about 8000 acres of purchased land at Birregurra, shearing some 9000 sheep. In 1848 or 1849 the former gentleman was appointed a magistrate for the southern bailiwick, and still retains the position. He was elected a member of the local shire council when it was created, and held the office ten years. The district is well adapted for fruit-growing. Mr. Dennis has about fifty-six acres planted with fruit trees of all descriptions.

Doughney, J. J., Mortlake, is a son of Mr. John Doughney, now of Geelong. He commenced business in 1875 as hotelkeeper in the Western District, at Mount Elephant, or Terinallum (a native name, signifying a hill of fire), and remained there five years, removing afterwards to Darlington for three years, and thence to his present location, Mortlake, where he purchased the Mount Shadwell Hotel, which he now conducts.

Dowling, James, Colac, was born in Tasmania, and came to Victoria some thirty-seven years ago. He first settled at Geelong, where he took up farming for about two years. Thence he went to Colac, and afterwards visited the goldfields with moderate success. He then returned to Colac, and purchased land near the township, on which he resides, and carries on the business of a grazier, &c. He married about 1853, and has a family of four sons and four daughters.

Dowling, Hon. Thomas, J.P., M.L.C., Darlington, was born in Essex, England, in 1819, and arrived in Tasmania in 1830, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1848. In 1849 he came over to Victoria and settled on Lake Coragulac, near Camperdown, erecting a dairy, and continuing in the business until the gold discovery in 1851. He then purchased the Jellelabad Station, on Emu Creek, Darlington, where he still resides. He was appointed a magistrate for the southern bailiwick in 1854, and held the first court at Timboon, now Camperdown. He was also appointed a member of the first road board, which held its sittings at Darlington, remaining a member of that board until it merged into the Mortlake shire council, of which body he has been one ever since, and of which he is now president, having occupied that position, off and on, for about fifteen years since 1865. Mr. Dowling was elected a member of the Legislative Council, representing the Nelson Province, in August, 1886. He was one of the chief promoters of the first schools at Camperdown and Darlington. In his business of grazier, he makes a speciality of breeding merino sheep. He was married in 1842, and has a family of five sons and six daughters.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.