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

Quiney, Harry, Mortlake, is a native of England, born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, in 1847. He arrived in Victoria with his father in 1849, and stayed with him until 1863. In 1868 he visited New Zealand, returning to his father, in Victoria, the following year, and remaining with him until 1883, when he leased Mac’s Hotel at Mortlake, subsequently purchasing it in 1885, and now conducting it. This hotel was started by Mr. A. M’Donald in 1858, and afterwards passed successively into the hands of Mr. Jones, Mr. Andrew Fogarty, and Mr. J. Quiney, father of Mr. Harry Quiney, from whom the latter bought it in 1885. All the district coaches stop at and start from this hotel.

Robertson, William, sen., Colac (deceased), was born on a sheep farm at Alvey, Inverness, Scotland, in 1798, and was brought up there until he reached man’s estate, acquiring that practical knowledge which was of so much benefit to him in after years as a colonist, and which aided him in amassing a large fortune. In 1822 he emigrated to Tasmania with his brother John, and carried with him sufficient capital to enable him to select, as a freehold, 2500 acres of land near Campbelltown, in that colony, as well as to occupy a large area of Crown lands as a cattle run. The brothers remained there for ten years, steadily prospering in spite of the fluctuations of seasons and markets, of troubles with the blacks and the bushrangers, and of other adverse circumstances. In 1832 they settled, as merchants, in Hobartown, after selling the property at Campbelltown, which had, by their exertions, become so valuable. In 1842 Mr. Robertson came over to Victoria, and purchased the Colac property, and the now famous brand, from Captain Foster Fyans, since when, by his importations of pure bred stock, he so greatly improved and extended the herd, that, in the hands of himself and his sons, it has risen to the proud position of being one of the most celebrated, extensive, and valuable herds in Australia.

Robertson, Hon. William, jun. M.L.C., Colac. This gentleman was born in Tasmania in 1839, and was educated at the High school, Hobartown. He then took his degree at Oxford, in England, in 1862, and was called to the bar of the Middle Temple the following year. He rowed in the Oxford and Cambridge boat race, on the Thames, in 1861, and was in the winning crew of that year, being the first Australian youngster associated with the victors in those world-renowned struggles for supremacy between the two Universities. Mr. Robertson returned to Victoria in 1863, and practised at the bar for eight or nine years, after which he joined his father on the Colac property, where he now resides. He was president of the Colac shire council in 1877, and at present represents the South-Western Province in the Legislative Council. Mr. Robertson’s residence, which is shown on the opposite page, is very charmingly situated.

“The Hill” Residence of the Hon. William Robertson, M.L.C., Near Colac
Victoria and its Metropolis, Past and Present, 1888
Coloured by Remembering the Past in Colour

Robinson, John H., Camperdown, came to Australia in 1864, landing at Williamstown, and remaining about a year in Melbourne, after which he went to Camperdown, and purchased a general store, where he has conducted business ever since. At that time the goods had to be carted from Geelong, a distance of seventy-six miles, at a charge of £5 per ton for carriage, whereas at present the charge from Melbourne by rail is only £2 per ton. Amongst other matters, Mr. Robinson has taken a lively interest in the erection of the Mechanics’ Hall and Institute, which was built in 1871, at a cost of £1600o. When Mr. Robinson was first in Camperdown there were but two coaches passing through the township in a week, the postage on a letter was 4d., and the charge for a telegram of ten words 3s.

Rooke, John G., Lorne, is a native of Chester, England (and nephew of the late Alderman Thomas Griffith, sheriff of that city for a long period), born in 1821. As an engineer, he spent several years on the sugar estates in Brazil. Vent home from that country to visit the Hyde Park Exhibition in 1851. Left England for Sydney in the latter part of that year, and thence to Victoria early in 1852. Was mining on Bendigo and other goldfields until 1855, when he erected mining plants on that and Rushworth diggings, at which place he was hotel-keeping and had a quartz-crushing plant many years. In 1868 he went to Corop and built the Corop Hotel and an agricultural implement factory, and carried on business there until 1883, when he sold the property and became proprietor of the Lorne Hotel, a favourite place of residence for visitors to that well-known watering-place.

Scally, Patrick, Terang, was born in the county of West Meath, Ireland. He arrived in Melbourne in 1858, and was engaged in various pursuits until 1861, when he selected land under the Heales occupation license in the parish of Glenormiston, where he now resides, carrying on grazing and dairy-farming. He was married in 1864, and has a family of three sons and two daughters.

Scott, Thomas A., Pirron Yalloak, was born in Scotland, and came out to Australia with his parents in 1854. Archer and Henry were the first to introduce stage coaches from Geelong to Colac and Camperdown, and Mr. T. A. Scott’s father, the late Mr. John Scott, was connected with the coaching business for twenty years, and had the honour of driving H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh from Geelong to Colac, Camperdown, Mortlake, and other places in the Western District, during his visit to Victoria. He had a livery stable in Geelong, and kept some racehorses, amongst others the famous steeplechaser Chance, the winner of so many races. Mr. J. Scott died in 1882 at Colac, but his son, Mr. T. A. Scott, continued the coaching until that mode of conveyance was superseded by the railway. He then took to grazing at his present residence, which was formerly occupied by the late Mr. Angus Mackay, an old colonist, who died in 1872. In 1881 Mr. Scott married Miss J. Mackay, daughter of the gentleman just referred to.

Shaw, Thomas, J.P., Camperdown, was horn in Birstal, Yorkshire, England, and came out to Sydney, N.S.W., in 1843. In 1847 he travelled overland with cattle to Adelaide, S.A., and, coming to Victoria the same year, he arrived at Portland. The property held for grazing purposes by Mr. Shaw was originally taken up by the late J. G. Ware, who sold to Messrs. Oliphant and Robertson. In 1854 Mr. Shaw, in Conjunction with the late Thomas Anderson, purchased the property, which is known as Wooriwyrite. Mr. Shaw was twenty years in the Mortlake shire council, and is also a member of the shire council of Hampden. About 1860 he was appointed a justice of the peace for the southern bailiwick, which position he still occupies.

Silvester, Mrs. H., Cobden, widow of the late Mr. William Silvester, butcher, of Cobden, was born in Somersetshire, England, and came to Australia in 1855, landing at Geelong. She and her husband lived at Dr. Curdie’s station for eighteen months, and then went to Jancourt Station for a time, after which they removed to Cobden (then called Lovely Banks), where her husband built the second house in the place, and started as a butcher in 1870, a business he carried on until his death, 29th July, 1877. About 1870 a public school was erected, the chief promoters being Mr. William Silvester, Mr. C. Parrott, and others.

Stansmore, F. and N., Brothers, Camperdown, Warrnambool, and Terang. These gentlemen, who are proprietors of livery stables at the places around, originally established their business at Campberdown in 1872; in 1183 the Warrnambool branch was opened, and that was followed early in 1887 by the branch at Terang. This one of the largest businesses of its kind in the Western District, having from forty to fifty horses always in or ready for use, and being fully equipped with all the requirements of the business.

Stevenson, John, Camperdown, was born in Lochwinnoch, Scotland, and brought up in Greenock. He came to Australia in 1852, proceeding to Camperdown the same year, and being employed on Mr. R. D. Scott’s surveying party for about five years. He then took charge of a store in Terang for Mr Paton, and remained there two years, being also in that gentleman’s employ three years in Camperdown. About 1859 Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Douglas built the Leura Hotel, the first in Camperdown, and afterwards sold it to Mr. D. S. Walker. In 1865 Mr. Stevenson purchased Mr. Paton’s business, and in 1870, in conjunction with Mr. Vallace, he purchased the Cape Otway Station. Mr. Wallace selling out his interest to Mr. Walls, the firm was known as Stevenson and Walls for about nine years, when they sold the station to Mr. P. H. Fisher. Mr. Stevenson then returned to Camperdown, and purchased the general storekeeping business from Mr. J. B. Tait, which, with Mr. William Henderson, he is now carrying on.

Stirling, William, J.P., Winchelsea, is an old resident of the Southern and Western districts of Victoria, who came out from his native place, Scotland, with his parents in 1842, by the ship Robert Bruce, landing in Port Phillip. After a time he went to Geelong, and in 1846 commenced hawking, carrying it on till 1851, when, at the outbreak of the gold mines at Ballarat, he opened a store there, as also at Forest and Fryers Creeks. In 1853 he purchased the Barwon Hotel at Winchelsea from Elliott Bros.; also the general store, which he still conducts. Mr. Stirling took an active part in establishing the Winchelsea road board in 1860, and has been a member of that and of the shire council ever since. He has held the presidential chair several times, and in 1865 was appointed a justice of the peace for the southern bailiwick, a position he still retains.


Stocks, John, Terang, was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England, and arrived in Melbourne in January, 1861. He first proceeded to Warrnambool, and thence to Wangoom, where he remained for a time, and was then two years at Terang. He next visited New Zealand for about a year, and, returning to Victoria, purchased land in 1868, and selected in 1871 near Terang, where he has since resided as a grazier, and carried on dairy-farming until 1885.

Swan, Peter, Pomborneit, is a native of Sweden, born in 1832. He came out to Australia in 1856, landed at Geelong, and proceeded to the Camperdown district the same year, and has followed his trade of stone-cutter and builder ever since. In 1865 Messrs. Swan and Hallyburton took up 472 acres of land, and continued in partnership for two years. In 1869 Mr. Swan removed to Warrnambool, where he lived ten years, after which he returned to Pomborneit, and settled on the land referred to, where he now follows agricultural pursuits. He was married in 1858, and has a family of three sons and as many daughters.

Talbot, Samuel, Birregurra, was for nine years station-manager for Mr. J. Austin, having been most of the time located at the Yeo Station, near Colac. In October, 1863, he was married at Melbourne, and purchasing 1197 acres of land at Yeo Vale, near Birregurra, settled down to grazing pursuits. Mr. Talbot is a native of Somersetshire, England, and landed at Melbourne in 1853.

Taylor, Walter, Pirron Yalloak, was born in Scotland, and arrived in Melbourne in 1857. He went thence to Dr. Curdie’s at Camperdown, and remained there eleven years. About 1867 he selected, and afterwards purchased the farm where he now resides and carries on his business of grazier. At that time the land was covered with bush, but Mr. Taylor has cleared and fenced since a school was started in the district, of who was drowned in Lake Colac, was the first family of three sons and two daughters.

Tenanty, Patrick, Terang, is a son of the late Mr. Tenanty, who was born in the county Louth, Ireland, arrived in Australia in 1854, landing at Melbourne, and followed gold digging for about six months. He then engaged in his trade of general carpenter for two or three years, after which he purchased land near Geelong, also leased half a section, and carried on dairy-farming for five years, at the expiration of which time he purchased land on Lake Keilambete, near Terang, and resided on it until his death, in July, 1876. Mr. P. Tenanty now occupies the property, and carries on grazing.

Thomas, Daniel, Colac, was born in England in 1832, and came to Victoria in 1853, settling first in South Yarra, where he commenced the leather trade, after which he was engaged in a leather shop in Collins-street, Melbourne. In 1858 he removed to Geelong, and took charge of a business there, which business he afterwards purchased and carried on until 1864. During that period he bought a tannery at Colac, in 1862, sold his business in Geelong, and conducted that in Colac until 1872, when he sold it also, and purchased land in the latter place, on which he now carries on grazing. In 1864 he was elected a member of the local shire council, and remained in office for three years, when he resigned, being re-elected in 1877, and is still a member. He was president of the council for the years 1882-83, and again for 1885 Mr. Thomas has always taken a lively interest in matters affecting the public interest, and a prominent part in establishing the Oddfellows’ lodge, the local Hospital, and the Public Library. During his presidentship, in 1883, the shire council organised an expedition party to explore the Otway forest, with a view to bring the quality of the timber under the notice of the Government, and, through the report of that expedition, selection has extensively gone on in that part of the colony. Mr. Thomas has been twice married, and has a family of three sons and four daughters.

Thomson, John, J.P., Terang, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and arrived in Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen’s Land, in 1823. He crossed to Port Phillip in 1839, and squatted on Lake Keilambete in February, 1840. The country was then in its natural state, Mr. Thomson being the original settler on the land, and there being then only eight settlers in the neighbourhood. He has expended 40,000 in improvements on his station, his present residence being the first brick house built in the district. He was appointed a magistrate in 1840, and still holds that office. The first church in Terang was erected by the Bible Christian denomination, and was opened in the year 1863; and this denomination was followed in succession by the Presbyterians, who have lately built a manse costing £4500, and by the Roman Catholic and Wesleyan Churches. Terang also possesses a large Public Hall with a free library.

Troy, Michael, Ondit, was born in Ireland, and came out to Victoria, in 1852, with his parents. The family first went to Mr. Charles Beal’s, at Mount Gellibrand, where they stayed twelve months, and then to Mr. John Calvert’s, near Colac, where they were nearly four years. They then rented land from Mr. Calvert, and carried on dairy-farming for three years, until the first Land Act came in force, when Mr. M. Troy’s father, the late John Troy, selected 160 acres, and farmed the land until his death in December, 1862, when the sons worked it in company for a time. Mr. M. Troy remained on the old homestead, where he still resides. He was married about 1874, and has a family consisting of four sons and five daughters.

Truemen, Timothy, Cobden, is a native of Birmingham, England, who arrived in Australia in 1847, landing at Geelong. He first removed to Colac, where he spent four years, and then followed the avocation of a gold-digger at Ballarat for three years, after which he lived for a similar length of time in Geelong. About 1859 he went to South Purrumbete, and in 1865 purchased his present property, where he carries on grazing and dairy-farming.

Tulloh, Thomas E., Colac, is a native of Scotland, who arrived in Tasmania in 1841. Thence he made his way to Portland, in the Western District of Victoria at the time when Mr. Henty and his family and servants were the only residents in that part of the country. Mr. Tulloh took sheep over from Tasmania, and, shortly after he arrived at Portland, took up country about sixty miles inland. He discovered the Wannon Falls, and afterwards took up the run which included those Falls, and remained there about fourteen years. He next went to the Goulburn Valley district and took up a station, remaining on it seven years. Eventually he settled in Colac as a general storekeeper, which business he still carries on.

Walker, Duncan Stewart, J.P., Terang, is a native of Cantyre, Argyleshire, Scotland, born in 1827, and the son of a farmer. His father died when he was a child, and with his mother and the rest of the family he came out to Port Phillip a few years after, being then in his thirteenth year, and landed at Geelong, or, as it was then called, Corio, in 1841. In those early days Geelong consisted of a few houses, scattered along the bay without much regard to order, there being no defined streets. Nevertheless, there were several places of business and three hotels, namely, Mack’s, the Commercial, and the Thistle. What is now known as the Market-square was then an extensive swamp, the haunt of wild ducks and other aquatic birds. Mr. Walker’s first employment was on the station of Dr. Alexander Thomson, at one time mayor of Geelong, and then a squatter. After remaining there until 1851, he became partner in a tanning and currier’s business on the banks of the Barwon River, and was doing well, when one of the heaviest floods ever known in the district came down and swept the entire concern away, leaving, as a matter of fact, only the tanpits, the dwelling-house, which stood on high ground, and a favourite horse, which was taken into the house, and, after demolishing the furniture, had to be released through the roof. Subsequent to this, Mr. Walker removed to Lismore, and, after a short residence at that place, became proprietor of the well-known Leura Hotel, at Camperdown, which he conducted successfully for some years, and which he established as one of the most popular houses in the Western District of Victoria. He next, in conjunction with another gentleman, purchased the “Dixie” Estate, near Terang, afterwards be coming sole proprietor. Here he resided several years, during which time, in deference to the wishes of his fellow ratepayers in the west riding of the shire of Hampden, he, in 1870, became their representative in the council, and has held his seat ever since. In 1886 he was elected to the honourable position of president, which position he still holds. Mr. Walker is one of the few pioneers of the colony still left. He was married in 1853 to a sister of his then partner in the tannery at Geelong, by the Rev. Andrew Love, the first minister in that part of the colony. Mr. Walker holds Her Majesty’s commission of the peace for the western bailiwick.

Walls, John, J.P., Camperdown, was born in Blairlogie, Clackmannan shire, Scotland, and came out to Australia in 1852, remaining in Melbourne twelve months, and commencing business in Camperdown, in 1853, as a blacksmith and wheelwright, which occupation he has carried on ever since. At the time he commenced there was but one house, owned by Mr. Fenton, in the township. Mr. Walls was elected a member of the first road board formed in Hampden, in 1857, and, with the exception of two years, has occupied office ever since in that body, and in the shire council, formed in 1853. He has twice filled the president’s chair, and is a justice of the peace for the southern bailiwick. He has also been vice-president and trustee of the Temperance Hall since it was started in 1854. Mr. Walls acted for eight years as postmaster in Camperdown.

Ware, J. G., Camperdown, is a native of Victoria, born in Camperdown, and is the proprietor of the Koort-Koort-Nong, or Cloven Hills Station, on Lake Bookar, about twelve miles north of Camperdown, where he carries on grazing. Mr. Ware has also a place in the Warrnambool district.

Wilmot, George, Colac, was born in Tasmania, and came to Victoria in 1869. He lived in Melbourne about a year, when he went to Colac, and commenced the cordial-manufacturing business about 1877, and has carried it on ever since. Mr. Wilmot was elected master of the Warrion lodge, No. 2010 E.C., in March, 1887.

Wilson, Alexander, Terang, was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, and came to Melbourne in 1840 by the ship Isabella Watson, of Glasgow. He went to Timboon (now Camperdown) and, after a brief stay, took up a station for the Clyde Company, at Hopkins Hill near Chatsworth, which is now owned by Mr. Moffatt, remaining there about three years. He next spent about three years at Geelong, and about the same length of time in Melbourne, after which he lived on the Yalloak Station, at Westernport, for two years, and was after that on the diggings about eighteen months. In 1865 he purchased land at Terang, and has carried on the agricultural and grazing industry on it ever since. Mr. Wilson makes a specialty of breeding Clydesdale and blood horses.

Wilson, P.C., Colac. This gentleman was born in Scotland on the 21st June, 1831, finished his education at Glasgow University, and came out to Australia in 1854. He followed various pursuits up to 1872, but went to Colac in 1856, and married a daughter of the late Donald Cameron, whose widow still resides on the property. In 1864 he was appointed secretary of the shire council of Colac, and in 1872 was reappointed, and has held the position ever since. He is also secretary to the Hospital, and correspondent of the School Board of Advice. Mr. Wilson has always taken a lively interest in all matters tending to promote the interests of the district. His family consists of three sons and five daughters. The eldest son is in the Railway department, and the second in the office of Messrs. Dennys, Lascelles, Austin and Co., Geelong.

Wiltshire, George, Winchelsea. This gentleman is a very old resident of the neighbourhood, in which he still resides. He came to Australia in 1848 from Nova Scotia, British America, his native place, landing at Geelong, and lived for a time with Mr. Armytage, at Ingleby Station, near Winchelsea. In 1853 he purchased land at Winchelsea, erected buildings thereon, and has been engaged in grazing pursuits ever since. Mr. Wiltshire was one of the first to get the petition signed for the formation of a road board at Winchelsea, and has been connected with the shire council, more or less, since its establishment. He is at present a representative of the west riding in that body.

Woods, J., Colac. The father of this gentleman is one of the oldest colonists in the Colac district. He arrived in Victoria in 1840, and took up his residence on the Barrabool hills, near Geelong, where he carried on farming for a few years. Then he and his brother-in-law, Mr. John Trotter, bought a station in the Camperdown district, where, after a few years, Mr. Woods sen. sold his interest to Mr. Trotter, and in 1852 went to Colac and purchased the flour mill of Mr. Thomas Hill, which he worked for some time, and subsequently sold it to Mr. Hill. He then carried on farming for a number of years, and still resides in Colac, in his eighty-first year. In 1866 the Colac Observer newspaper, the first in the district, was established by Mr. T. Haslam, and in 1869 Mr. Woods jun. started the Colac Herald, and subsequently bought the Observer, and has carried on the enterprise ever since. Mr. J. Woods was the first to introduce a printing machine, and afterwards the first gas-engine worked in the district.

Wray, John, Colac, is a native of Geelong, who went to Colac when only six years of age, with his parents. At that time there was only a hotel and a small store in the township. In 1864 he went to Wool Wool Station as manager for Mr. Andrew Murray, and remained there sixteen years. During that time he purchased the property on which he now carries on his business of grazier, having cleared and fenced it. He was married in 1879, and has a family of two daughters.

Source: Victoria and Its Metropolis, Past and Present – Vol II. – The Colony and It’s People in 1888; Published by McCarron, Bird, & Co., Melbourne; Courtesy: The British Library

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