Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Francis Patrick Anderson

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Serial Number 9

Francis was the son of Gregory Grattam Anderson and Julia Frances McManus. He was born in Kilmore in 1893, and worked as a labourer.

At age 22 years, Francis enlisted at Ballarat on 29 January 1917 and was assigned as a private in the 39th Battalion. After training, Francis embarked from Melbourne on the “Ascanius” on 27 May 1916 for England.

On 6 November 1916 he was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital in Wiltshire with pneumonia then transferred to nearby Bulford Manor Hospital on 16 November. He was mentioned in the Argus of 28 November 1916 as being seriously ill.

On 29 December 1916 he was discharged to duty and rejoined his Battalion on 28 January 1917 sailing from England on the “Princess Clementine” from Folkestone to Etaples in France to the 10th Training Battalion.

Francis was killed in action in the fields of Passchendaele, Belgium on 8 June 1917.  He received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star. His name is recorded at Ypres (Menin Gate Memorial), the Kilmore War Memorial, Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll and the Shire of Pyalong Honour Roll.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 19 May 2015, p10

Ypres Menin Gate Memorial. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: James Burston

James Burston who was promoted to Honorary Brigadier General after returning to Australia and Honorary Major General prior to retirement in 1920
Colonel James Burston was promoted to Honorary Brigadier General after returning to Australia and Honorary Major General prior to his retirement in 1920

Colonel

James Burston was the first born son (1856) of Samuel Burston and Sophy Keath, who married in Kilmore in 1855. There were 2 other children; George and Agnes. They lived on 5 blocks on the corner of Parade and Lamb Streets. They also had a business in Somerset House on the north east corner of Bourke and Sydney Streets which they sold after a short time and purchased “Oak Park” at Prospect Hill between Kilmore and Broadford.

The family were by this time in the malting business and moved to Flinders Street Melbourne where they bought up several other malting businesses including Victoria Breweries. James and George managed this business after the death of their father in 1886. James married Marianne McBean in Kilmore in 1883, and had 3 sons and 3 daughters.

James had joined the Victorian Volunteers and by 1885 was promoted to Captain of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. In 1897 as a Lieutenant Colonel he represented Victoria for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in London. He served in the Boer War.

In 1900 James was elected to the Melbourne City Council and was Mayor in 1908 and retired by 1912 but continued in public office as Chairman of the Officers Selection Board and on the board of the Bank of Victoria and others.

In 1915 James at the age of 58 was the Commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade AIF, which saw service in Gallipoli. Deteriorating health saw him repatriated to Mudros on the Greek Island of Lemnos where he became Officer Commanding of Reinforcements. He was repatriated to Melbourne in 1916 and retired in 1920.

James died at his residence at Hawthorn on the 4 March 1920 and is buried in St. Kilda Cemetery. There is an ornate brass plaque in St. Paul’s Cathedral to his memory mentioning his Boer War service.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 19 May 2015, p10

See also James Burston, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Herbert Thomas Skehan

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Private 2142

Herbert Thomas Skehan was born in Melbourne St, Kilmore on January 30, 1889, the eldest son of Patrick and Amy (nee Grose) Skehan. He was educated at Assumption College, Kilmore and graduated Dux of the school in 1909. Up until the time of his enlistment Herbert was a clerk in the tobacco trade in Melbourne and was engaged to be married.

Herbert enlisted at Broadmeadows on July 28, 1915 in the 3/29th Battalion, AIF. During training he was acting Corporal from 26 August to December 16, 1915. He embarked at Melbourne on the HMT Ballarat on February 18, 1916, and disembarked at Suez on March 22, 1916, and was taken on strength with the 29th Battalion on April 1, 1916.

The Battalion then transferred to the Western Front via Marseilles in June, where they took part in an attack against the German positions at Delange Farm in July, then held their positions for 11 days including a heavy counter attack.

During front line action Herbert was hospitalised with Influenza in November 1916 at Etaples, then again in hospital with frost bite in February 1917.  He was transferred to the 5th Army School from May 21 to 27, 1917. After returning to his Battalion Herbert took part in the Battle of Polygon Wood near Ypres in Belgium which commenced on September 26, 1917. He was killed in action on that day.

The following is an eyewitness account by Corporal W J Marshall, – He was killed by a shell at Polygon Wood, I saw his body soon after. He was buried in a shell hole near where he fell by a party from the company.  No cross was erected at the time, he was a machine gunner, and was in No: 5 Platoon, B. Company.

After the War Herbert’s remains were exhumed and re-buried at Ypres, Belgium, in the Duhallow ADS Cemetery. His father Patrick, as next of kin, received in 1921 a Memorial Scroll, Herbert’s British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star, and a photograph of his headstone. .

Herbert’s name is recorded on the Kilmore War Memorial, the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll at the Memorial Hall, and on the Assumption College Honour Roll.

Information provided by Phil Skehan, Kilmore

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 12 May 2015, p10

Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium. Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

 

Seminar, 25 Oct 2015 – Researching your World War One Soldier

Sunday, 25 October 2015, 1.30 to 3.30 pm

At the John Taylor Room, Kilmore Library, Sydney Street, Kilmore

Cost – members free, non-members $5, 00

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of World War One, over the past fifteen months, the Society, together with others, has been publishing profiles of soldiers and nurses in the North Central Review. This has created a lot of interest and we will be holding a seminar to show how we carry out the research in preparing these profiles. There will be a presentation, followed by a question and answer session and an opportunity to chat over afternoon tea with the researchers of the profiles.

Representatives of the Kilmore RSL will be present to answer questions on issues such as medals and diaries, etc.

Preserving Wallan’s History

As part of History Week (18-25 October) the Society is holding a meeting in Wallan on Sunday 18th October at 1.30 pm at the old Wallan hall on High Street.

The purpose of the meeting is to encourage interested local residents – old and new – to come along and where possible to bring old photographs and other documents and memorabilia of Wallan. The town has changed so much over recent years that it is important that such items are copied and documented as part of Wallan’s history – before it is too late.

It is anticipated that a representative of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) will attend and explain and promote the possibility of forming a historical group in Wallan.

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: George John Hale Still

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Service Number:1911

George Still was 25 years and 9 months when he enlisted for service on April 18, 1916, in the 41st Battalion 2nd Reinforcements.

He was born in Kilmore to Annie Maria Lamb and James Still, a Boer War veteran. George was a cousin of Sydney George Still.

He was the eighth of 10 children over a 24-year period. The first eight were to James while they lived at Goldie and the last two children were to unknown fathers while Annie lived in Melbourne.

George was listed as a butcher and married to Elsie Matilda in South Casino, NSW. He embarked on “Boorara” from Brisbane on August 16, 1916, with the 41st Infantry Battalion and disembarked two months later at Plymouth harbour in the UK.

He was marched in to No. 3 Com. Depot and was detailed for home service. Mid-November he was marched to 11th Signal Battalion. By June of 1917 he was at No. 2 Com. Depot at Whymouth.

In September 1917 he returned to Australia and was discharge medically unfit with asthma and haemorrhoids in November. Meanwhile his brother, James Oliver Still of Church Street, Kilmore, was writing to Base Records requesting information about Pte. Still’s return to Melbourne.

In October 1919 he was applying for assistance under the War Service Homes Act while living in Casino. He married Elise Matilda and had one son named Cyril.

He wrote to the Officer in Charge of Base Records in November 1923 to ask if he was entitled to the Victory Medal and was informed that as he did not serve in a theatre of war prior to November 1918 he was not entitled.

He was awarded 1914/15 Star and the British War Medal and is listed on the Kilmore Presbyterian Church Honour Roll.

George enlisted in WWII on January 10, 1942: Serial No. N393423. He was demobbed from the 11th Australian Garrison Battalion on March 3, 1943.

George died on October 23, 1962, and probate was granted on February 21, 1963, and is registered at the Western Sydney Records Centre, Kingswood.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 17 March 2015, p12

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Catherine O’Connor

AANS 3-2

Nurse

Catherine (Katie) was born in 1870 in Kilmore, the daughter of Patrick O’Connor and Elizabeth Seymour. At birth she was registered as Kate Margaret but later was known as Catherine. After school she trained for three years in nursing at Melbourne Hospital obtaining her Melbourne Hospital Certificate and her Victorian Nursing Certificate . She then nursed as a sister in charge of medical and surgical wards at Melbourne Hospital.

Katie enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service at Melbourne on November 3, 1914 as a nurse with the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) and embarked in Melbourne on November 28, 1914, on the Kyarra taking the 1st AGH to Cario, via Alexandria.  Nurses with at least three years service at a recognised hospital and aged between 21 and 45 years could apply to serve overseas.  For some reason Katie lowered her age from 44 years to 37 years on enlistment.

Katie first served in Egypt at the Hellioplis Hotel, the base for the 1st AGH in Cario from early 1915 to April 1916. This hospital expanded rapidly during the Gallipoli campaign. Katie was promoted to Sister on December 1, 1915, and was transferred to the 1st AGM at Rouen, via Marseilles in France in April 1916.

In France, the 1st AGH was based at the racecourse at Rouen from 1916 to late 1918, west of the Western Front.  It is said that 90,000 casualties passed through its wards during this period.  Katie’s service record indicates that she was attached to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (ACCS) from April 1917 until November 1917. Stations such as this were established almost “in the front line”.  During this time Katie was also temporarily transferred for short periods to the 32nd CCS, 46th CCS,  and also spent leave in the UK, Paris and Trouville.  It is likely Katie held a senior position with the 1st AGH from November 1917.

Katie was mentioned in despatches on April 7, 1918, as confirmed in the Commonwealth Gazette of October 24, 1918. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) on January 1, 1919, as reported in the Commonwealth Gazette of May 23, 1919.

Katie left Rouen in November 1918 for England and returned to Melbourne on the Somali, arriving on February 8, 1919. She was welcomed home in Kilmore in early March. Her appointment was terminated on April 16, 1919. She was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star.

Katie died on July 30, 1949 in Melbourne and was buried in the Kilmore Catholic Cemetery where her headstone can be seen today. Her name is recorded on the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll in the Memorial Hall.

Nurse Katie O'Connor
Nurse Katie O’Connor

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 12 May 2015, p10

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Stephen William Holman

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Regimental Number: 882

Stephen was born in Kilmore to Emmeline Ann, nee Hill, and Francis John Holman, the last of four children, while they were living in Church Street, Kilmore.

He was single, aged 19 when he enlisted on February 13, 1915, and listed his occupation a bacon curer, working for the family business of Holman and Still Bacon Manufacturers on the corner of Church Street and Kilmore Lancefield Road, Kilmore.

He lists his mother as his next of kin and was serving in the Citizen Forces, Essendon Rifles. He became a Private in the 23rd Battalion, C Company, 6th Infantry Brigade at Broadmeadows and departed from Melbourne on board HMAT “Euripides” on May 10, 1915.

On August 26, 1916, while in France he was “mentioned for good and gallant conduct in connection with the recent hard fighting at Pozieres” as mentioned in the 2nd Australian Division Orders.

Then in April 1917 he was specially mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s dispatch which was published in the London Gazette of Tuesday, May 15, 1917, and promulgated in the Australian Gazette
of October 4, 1917.

Early in October he returned to the field from leave having over stayed his leave and was charged and 12 days pay withdrawn.

In December 1917, he was appointed Lance Corporal and in May 1918 promoted to Corporal.

He was again on leave in October and rejoined his battalion mid-November 1918 after the Armistice. He returned to England January 1919 and then returned to Australia in March 1919 and was discharged from the 3rd Military District on June 28 with no disability.

In June 1917, Emmeline Holman wrote to the Secretary of the Department of Defence requesting information about her son who had been on active service for more than two years.

She was advised to write to her son at “Elovs” which was the code word for 23rd Battalion and “Stralia”, code for A.I.F. Headquarters. Again she writes to Base Records Office, Melbourne in March 1919 requesting information on Corporal Holman’s return home.

He received the 1914/15 Star, the British War medal, The Victory Medal, and a set of Oak Leaves for the mention by Sir Douglas Haig.

In May 1930, Stephen wrote to Base records asking about receiving Leaves for the 1st mention in dispatches but was told he was only entitled to a certificate.

In October 1936, the Kilmore Bowling Club elected a new committee including Mr. S.W.Holman.

In January 1940, Stephen was elected on to the committee of the Kilmore Sub-branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A.

In 1967, Stephen wrote to the to the Officer in Charge, Central Army Records, Albert Park Barracks, Melbourne to request the ANZAC Commemorative Medallion and lapel badge stating he served on Gallipoli from September 4 to December 22, 1915.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 17 March 2015, p12

Members of the 23rd Battalion Headquarters football team, Belgium, 1917. Stephen William Holman is at the far right of the back row
Members of the 23rd Battalion Headquarters football team, Belgium, 1917. Stephen William Holman is at the far right of the back row. For other names and further detail refer to the original Source: AWM ID number P02397.001

 

Archibald and Elizabeth Thom

The following article by Grahame Thom was originally published in the September 2003 edition of our Newsletter, Kilmore Connections

This is the story of Archibald and Elizabeth Thom who were the first white settlers at Beveridge.

Archibald Thom was baptised on 6 April 1787 at Eddlestone, Peebleshire, Scotland, the son of Alexander Thom, farmer, and Margaret Noteman (1). Eddlestone is a small town about 7 kilometres north of Peebles on the road to Edinburgh (2). His parents, Alexander and Margaret were married on 1 February 1783 in Edinburgh (3). In looking at the baptisms and marriages at that time for the parish of Eddlestone it would seem that Alexander and Margaret were not from that area as there are no earlier Thom entries prior to the baptisms of their children :-

  • Alexander on 2 December 1783
  • Peggy on 3 July 1785,
  • Archibald on 6 April 1787
  • Charles on 14 July 1789
  • Helen on 25 July 1791 (4)

There may have been other children. Archibald probably grew up and remained in the area gaining experience in farming until he left for Tasmania in about 1823.

Archibald’s future wife Elizabeth’s father George Stewart was baptised on 5 June 1787 at Eddlestone, Peebleshire, Scotland, the son of James Stewart, later described as a gentleman (5). Interestingly this was the same year Archibald Thom was born. It is reasonable to assume that the two families knew each other. George married Margaret Cook on 12 February 1810 in Edinburgh (6). Their first four children were born in Scotland :-

  • Eliza (Elizabeth) baptised at Eddlestone on 3 May 1811
  • Anne baptised at Eddlestone on 18 May 1813
  • Margaret baptised at Eddlestone on 13 May 1815 (7)
  • Gideon said to have been born in Edinburgh in 1819 (8)

Their next child was named Mary Andromeda and is said to have been born during the voyage to Hobart (9). Her second name is interesting as it is highly likely this is also the name of the ship they came on. A search revealed that the ship Andromeda arrived at Hobart on 7 May 1823 having departed from Leith, Scotland with 67 passengers including the Rev John Dunmore Lang for Sydney (10). The Hobart Town Gazette of 10 May 1823 (page 2) lists the cabin passengers for Hobart (about 40) but they do not include the Stewarts. However it is likely that the Stewart family did not sail for Sydney but left the Andromeda before it sailed on 24 July (11). On arrival in Sydney the number of passengers landed clearly indicates that more passengers than the number listed in the Hobart Town Gazette must have left the ship in Hobart “where nearly all the passengers remained” (12).

Archibald Thom arrived in Van Diemen’s Land prior to 1825 and it’s possible he travelled with the Stewarts. It is also possible that for a period after arrival Archibald and the Stewarts lived together at Stewarton (540 acres) in the Macquarie River area near Campbell Town (13). Four Stewart children were born in Van Diemen’s Land, Catherine in 1826, James in 1828, Helen in 1831 and George in 1833 (14), who died in 1838 at Stewarton (15).

In 1825 Archibald received a grant of 100 acres in the Lake River area which is a tributary of the Macquarie River (16). Archibald may have lived here but in 1829 he was living in Launceston for on 23 July 1829 at St Johns Church, Launceston, Archibald married George and Margaret Stewart’s first born child, Elizabeth. The church register states that Archibald was of the Parish of St Johns, Launceston and Elizabeth was from the Macquarie River (17). They had three children in Tasmania :-

  • Margaret born on 8 June 1830 and baptised on 1 December 1830 at Campbell Town, Van Diemen’s Land
  • Alexander born on 6 June 1832 and baptised on 20 November 1832 at Campbell Town, Van Diemen’s Land
  • Jane Kyle born on 3 june 1835 and baptised on 28 November 1835 at Campbell Town, Van Diemen’s Land (18)

All three were baptised by the Presbyterian minister John Mackersey. Interestingly Alexander’s aunt Helen Stewart who was born on 6 March 1831 was baptised during the same service as Alexander on 6 June 1832 (19) .

G W Noble, author of The Red Gate, A history of Alexandra, says on page 19 that Archibald Thom first settled at Eglintoun on the Tamar River near Launceston. I have not been able to confirm this.

In the mid 1830s settlers in northern Van Diemen’s Land were talking about prospects in settling across Bass Strait in the southern part of the then colony of New South Wales. Launceston identities John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner with others sailed in 1834 and 1835 respectfully to establish the town of Port Phillip on the Yarra River, later to be called Melbourne. With fifteen other men Batman formed the Port Phillip Association and claimed 680,000 acres divided into seventeen large allotments, including one portion to the north allocated to George Mercer, the Association’s representative in London. Also reports by Major Thomas Mitchell following his expedition from Sydney in March 1836 describing the excellent open pastoral lands of “Australia Felix” caused a rush by squatters from the north and from Van Diemen’s Land (20).

Its likely that Archibald had talked to Batman and Fawkner before their departure and on hearing the above reports most of the Stewart children and Archibald decided to leave for Port Phillip and beyond, leaving James as the only Stewart child to raise a family in Tasmania :-

  • Gideon Stewart left Launceston on the Chili on 24 June 1836 for Port Phillip (21)
  • Anne and her husband Thomas Turnbull and two children Thomas and George in about 1837 (22) having married on 11 March 1833 at Stewarton (23)
  • Elizabeth, Archibald and two girls left Launceston on the ship Siren on 28 July 1837 for Port Phillip (24)
  • Margaret and her husband Robert Taylor in about 1839 (25) having married on 22 January 1838 at Hobart (26)
  • Mary, Catherine and Helen may have come as children with the Taylors or soon after as their father George died in early 1839 and was buried at Campbell Town (27). Nothing is known about their mother Margaret after 1833.

After arriving in Port Phillip in August 1837 Archibald probably discussed opportunities with John Batman and his supporters as he, Elizabeth and their two girls headed north and settled as squatters at Beveridge, then known as Mercer’s Vale (28). It is likely they had brought sheep and cattle with them from Tasmania. They built a hut near the spring which is adjacent to present day Spring Street, Beveridge. On 22 September 1837, William Lonsdale reported that Archibald had in his employ Henry Burnham, a convict holding a conditional pardon. As Henry had no authority to leave Van Diemen’s Land, Lonsdale had taken him into custody for return to VDL (29).

In 1836 George Russell wrote :-

On the third day we rode over an open tract of country to eastward of Mr Brodie’s place, it was at that time called Mercer Vale. A portion of this country was afterwards occupied by a Mr Archibald Thom from Tasmania and other settlers. The Sydney road passed through that part of the country and Mr Thom’s station was a favourite stopping place in the early days of the colony for travellers passing along the road (30).

On 1 April 1839 Lady Jane Franklin, the wife of the Governor of Tasmania Sir John Franklin, together with her party, left Launceston on the government brig Tamar for Port Phillip to undertake an overland trip to Sydney. Lady Franklin was a keen recorder and the following is an extract from her diary for 8 April 1839.

Messrs Thornloe & Cobb accompanied us to Thom’s in way to our day’s station-over Mr Thornloe’s open ground where Mr Cobb’s heifers feeding, a dotted green hill in front, Malcolm ‘s station & on. Fall into Sydney road at right angles & turn to right. Fell asleep, found myself on flat black soil, naked plains with small rocks in it extending to foot of pretty, lightly wooded hills, at foot of which is Mr Thom’s station-The hut was leaning forward, the mud falling away. It is tidy inside-found Mrs Thom a broad Scotch woman, dark. Mr Thom is rather an ill-looking person, he is from VDL & retains property there. Mr Thom has 3000 sheep & a few cattle for home use-& raises corn for his own consumption. They have been here 18 months or nearly 2 years. When they landed at Melbourne in August 1837 there was not a single house built. They have 3 children, a boy at school at Hobart Town, & 2 little girls here, running wild. Being on Sydney road causes them much interruption & probably expense & they are going to move 2 miles back. A man has just received a licence to set up a public house here which adds to their determination as their men would be ruined by it. Had damper & butter & small biscuits mixed with mutton fat, light snack-I was offered cold meat & heard there was dinner cooking for me, but nothing said to me about it. He gave feed of oats and chaff to all the horses.

Mr Thornloe left us here-Mr Cobb went on with us. lt was 14 miles hence to Green’s outstation & 18 to the upper house (31) where we were to sleep-country thin forest & a burned part not far from Thom’s was very green and bare. I was on pony. About half way to Green’s outstation, or at about 7 miles, we crossed a low part of the gentle ridge which divides the waters (32). Being tired by the pony, I walked a little and then sat on front bench of cart driven by Snachall. Found I liked this seat much better than inside. Met Captain Smyth on horseback gaily dressed in police costume, with a man dressed in green collar & front of native dog skin & straw broad brimmed hat-Captain Smyth came up in a very courtly manner to me who was ahead to pay his compliments. He had just heard of us-had been to Murrumbidgee about an unpleasant affair with cattle-and was going on to the settlement-he should join us on the Goulburn.

The sun set behind a ridge of wooded hills as we approached Green’s, where we disturbed the quails. He is building a new house of stones picked up nearby, the roof not yet shingled in-verandah along front-on entering see good room of 35 feet long-this is to be divided in 3. The house stands on the side of the bare hill whence can see over bare sloping foreground several ridges of hills, without being able to see into hollows. The situation is thought very pretty-it is decidedly best thought of as a run as any & the situation is admired-l should think, it more fresh & airy than any other-the water is good but only in the waterholes. The sheep are taken to Plenty to be washed, 9 miles off.

Mr Green had slept the night before at Mr Thom’s, where he is a frequent visitor & generally eats his Sunday dinner, going over on Saturday evening. Mr Thom sang his praises-also spoke of Mr Powlett as a gentleman-they were examples to the country-exemplary. Mr Green had been only 3 hours returned-he expected us, yet had nothing prepared-sheep however had been killed, but chops had to be cut from it for the purpose. After a long delay we sat down in his tiny hut on a floor of loose earth, with table fixed into it, carried off a bottle of his lemon syrup for our water-the tent was pitched for us. Dr Hobson had no sooner supped than he began skinning. He said all birds that feed on insects are difficult to skin-those which feed on grain are easily skinned. He observed today a number of parasitic plants on trees which never exhibit them in VDL as Gum & Wattle-some trees exhibit several different sorts (33).

Mr Noble further records in The Red Gate, A history of Alexandra (page 19) that :-

The Thoms were very strict and devout and whilst at Kilmore (probably this was meant to be Mercer’s Vale) successfully opposed an attempt to establish an inn nearby, by offering hospitality to travellers in their primitive home. Such an action, although based on principle, must have given endless toil for travellers were frequent while the farm work mounted. Nevertheless Mrs Thom coped with her guests from travelling stockmen to L a d y Franklin, the wife of the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and her staff.

It is likely that when Archibald heard in 1839 that the lands at Mercer’s Vale were to be sold by auction by the government he decided to move elsewhere. Probably in late 1839 he purchased 105
acres for 525 pounds, part of a large grant subdivided by Thomas Walker along the northern side of the Yarra River east of Darebin Creek (34).

In March 1840 Archibald unsuccessfully tried to sell his Yarra River property and the advertisement contains what appears to have been the first use of the name Ivanhoe (35). Its highly likely that Archibald and Elizabeth named this property Ivanhoe when it is realised that the author of the book Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott lived at Abbotsford in Scotland for many years before he died in 1832 (36). Its easy to conclude that the Thom and Stewart families probably read his books as they were being published during the time they lived nearby at Eddlestone. This property is now part of the present day suburb of Ivanhoe.

In April 1840 Arthur Hogue leased his 264 acre property Banyule to Archibald Thom for 200 pounds per annum (37). This property is further upstream from Ivanhoe and is located east of Rosanna Road,
Heidelberg. The municipality covering a number of suburbs in the area is now known as the City of Banyule.

Perhaps Archibald was in two minds about where to settle for at a Government Land Sales held in Melbourne on 10 and 11 June 1840 he paid 2944 pounds for 640 acres at Merriang (38). More research at the Land Titles Office would probably clarify some of these land transactions.

The author of Heidelberg, Donald S Garden on pages 26-27 considers that Archibald did little to improve Ivanhoe so it is likely that the Thom family lived there briefly, if at all, before Archibald put his energies into developing Banyule, for the owner Hogue had returned to England in 1841. In March 1841 a census was taken in the colony and on 5 March Archibald Thom and 15 others were recorded as living in a wood and brick house at Heidelberg; 13 of whom were free (39). In analysing the information recorded it would appear that the 16 people were Archibald and Elizabeth Thom, their children Margaret, Alexander and Jane, four male workers, three female servants and a family comprising husband and wife and two children. From known information about the Stewart children it does not appear that the family last mentioned are Stewarts (40). In 1842 Archibald and Elizabeth’s fourth and last child Elizabeth was born at Heidelberg (41).

In May 1843 Banyule was described as having an excellent ring fence with about 50 acres under cultivation. A considerable sum had been spent in establishing a substantial two storied cottage with seven rooms, out buildings, a garden and orchard (42). At this time the colonies experienced an economic downturn and it appears likely that Archibald had financial problems for he mortgaged Ivanhoe to Adam Pullar and John Porter in March 1843 and four months later Ivanhoe passed to them (43). Then in the same year Hogue sold Banyule (44).

While at Heidelberg its likely that Archibald also had an interest in partnership with his brother-in-law Gideon Stewart at the 17,600 acre Sunday Creek A Run (45) and the Thom family probably went there in 1843 from Heidelberg. The present town of Broadford is within this Run. Then after Sunday Creek was sold in August 1844 (46), Archibald appears to have owned or leased a property at Nine Mile Creek (47). In May 1845 he obtained a 7000 acre property east of the present town of Yea which they named Eglintoun (48). In 1848 the Port Phillip Herald reported this run had 3000 sheep (49). It was sold in February 1848 to William H Pettett and William Leyden Ker (50).

In 1838 Dr James Dickson purchased 9600 acres from the government east of Alexandra (51) and in 1844 he sold this property known as Dickson’s Run to John Christie Aitken (52) who sold it to Archibald Thom in March 1848 (53). The Run was described as “Bounded on the South and East by the River Goulburn to its junction with the Devil’s River, on the North by the top of the Goulburn Range to the boundary with Marshall, a portion of this line separates Dickson’s from the Run occupied by Mr Matson, on the West by the spur of the Goulburn Range immediately on the upper or East side of Dry Creek, this constitutes the boundary between Dickson’s Station and Mt Pleasant” (54).

This was the final move for Archibald and his family and they renamed the property Eildon as the surrounding countryside reminded them of the Eildon Hills in Scotland about 25 kilometres east of their birthplace (55). Soon after purchasing Eildon, Archibald had a boundary dispute with his neighbour James Moon Matson of Maintongoon. It took the parties nearly three years to resolve the dispute by agreeing that the boundary was the top of the mountain range between their properties and legal action ceased in June 1851 (56).

Again in partnership with brother-in-law Gideon Stewart, Archibald held Mt Pleasant Run for a short time from November 1849 till it was sold in 1850 to Pettet and Ker (57).

On 31 July 1854 Archibald applied to the government for the purchase of an additional 320 acres at Eildon at 20 shillings per acre. The application was approved on 17 January 1855 (58). It was on this parcel of land that Archibald built the family home.

In April 1858 Archibald visited Melbourne for on 1 May he signed his will there (59). Archibald appointed John Christie Aitken of Thornton and Donald McKenzie of Pleasant Banks as Trustees and Executors, and his wife Elizabeth as an Executor. He left 100 pounds to his daughter Jane Kyle Turnbull and 100 pounds to his daughter Elizabeth Emma (sic) on her marriage. Alexander Thom married Christina Campbell Menzies in 1858, Jane married her cousin George Turnbull in 1858 and Elizabeth married Henry Wood Anderson in 1873 (60). Their other daughter Margaret, who married Robert Stewart in 1867 (61) is not mentioned in Archibald’s will. Archibald left the 320 acre homestead block and his Eildon Station to his trustees on trust for the sole use by his wife and on her
death or marriage to his son Alexander Thom.

On 18 January 1862 Archibald was thrown from his gig and suffered serious injuries to his head and was taken to Yea for treatment. But three days later he died at Yea on 21 January 1862 aged 74 years and was buried the next day in Yea Cemetery (62). His estate was valued between 200 and 2000 pounds and probate was granted to John Christie Aitken and Donald McKenzie on 27 March 1862 with Elizabeth Stuart (sic) Thom reserving her right to be an executrix if she so desired (63).

During their life at Eildon Archibald and Elizabeth developed a good relationship with the local aborigines and when Archibald died Elizabeth was the only person who could persuade the aborigines who had come to the house wailing over his death, to return to their camps (64).

As Elizabeth was younger than Archibald by 24 years it is likely she continued to live at Eildon for some years perhaps with her son Alexander running the property. Alexander died (65) sometime before his mother and this probably caused Elizabeth to leave Eildon to live first with her daughter Margaret at Clunes and then to Smythesdale, south west of Ballarat to be with her daughter Elizabeth Anderson (66). Below is a letter Elizabeth wrote to her niece Maud Pinniger, aged 14 years, the daughter of her sister Helen and husband Thomas Wilkinson Pinniger, surveyor (67).

Smythesdale July 20th – ’87
My dearest Maud,

Thank you very much for the love]y apron. It looks to be too good for me. It is so beautifully worked. What labour you have bestowed on it.

I need not say how much I would like to have been with you this winter. It is the only place where I feel perfectly at home and happy. But, dear Maud, I have got much frailer since I saw you and am lame.

I have not been able to get to Church the last two Sundays and you know what a help that is to me. I try to go to the school when it is fine. They are so short of teachers.

Cousin Bessie goes on one side and Aggie on the other but I fear I will have to give it up. It is fine today, but the weather has been very chilly.

I trust Mama’s deafness is better. She has suffered so much. She has always been like a daughter to me and you know how much I love you all and I trust we will be together through eternity where there will be neither pain or sorrow. How thankful I was to hear you were restored to health, but you must take great care and not get cold. Your throat will get hardened again in time and dear Baby Mama said she was not very well. I hope she is better. Give her my fond love and tell her she is not to grow up delicate. Please God I may see you all sometime even on earth. The children here have grown so much. They are all good and kind to me. I will not write to Mama this week as I am writing to you. Tell her the swelling has gone from my hands and I am able to work. I get very dull when I cannot sew and this is not right of me.

Tell Mama she is not to do anything that will cause her to stoop and make the blood go to her head.

My best love to Papa and dear Sophie. Kind remembrances to all. You know I love you all and trust and pray God may bless you all, my dearest Maud. It is the prayer of your loving aunt.

E. Thom.

Elizabeth died of cancer of the breast on 24 November 1889, aged 78 years at Glen Oliphant near Smythesdale, the property of her daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Henry Wood Anderson. She was buried in Smythesdale cemetery (68).

In December 1907 Archibald and Elizabeth’s son-in-law Henry Wood Anderson of Glen Oliphant wrote to the Argus saying that “My wife is still living, and was born in Melbourne in 1842. Her father, the late Archibald Thom, of Eildon, Upper Goulburn, resided at Heidelberg in the very early days, and her mother often rode out hunting kangaroos with the late Sir William Stawell and others. For a time she resided at Mercer’s Vale, near Kilmore, which was a stopping place for the very earliest squatting pioneers.”(69)

So passed two pioneers of Australia who have left their mark in the names Ivanhoe and Eildon as well as Thom Street, Alexander and Thoms Road, Thornton. However there is nothing to commemorate Archibald and Elizabeth settling at Beveridge in 1837; maybe it’s time to correct this.

Notes

  1. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index, <http://familysearch.org&gt;, August 2003
  2. Multimap <http://www.multimap.com&gt;, Great Britain, August 2003
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index, <http://familysearch.org&gt;, August 2003
  4. ibid
  5. ibid
  6. ibid
  7. ibid
  8. Stewart Family <http://www.geocities.com/rvoull/stewart.html&gt;, August 2003
  9. ibid
  10. Nicholson, Ian Hawkins, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Tasmania, 1803-1833, 1983, p88
  11. Hobart Town Gazette, 24 July 1823, page 2
  12. Sydney Gazette, 7 August 1823, page 2
  13. McKay, Thelma, Register of Land Grants VDL 1824-1832, 1994
  14. Stewart Family <http://www.geocities.com/rvoull/stewart.html&gt;, May 2003
  15. Buchanan, A M, Index to Tasmanian Deaths/Burials 1797-1840, 1994, page 134
  16. McKay, Thelma, Register of Land Grants VDL 1824-1832, 1994
  17. State Library of Victoria, Tasmanian Marriages, Reel 1829/1333
  18. Presbyterian Baptismal Register, Launceston City Library, entries 18, 53 and 84
  19. ibid, entry 52
  20. Roberts, Stephen H, The Squatting Age in Australia 1835-1847, 1970, pages 147-165; Tucker, Maya V, Kilmore on the Sydney Road, 1988, pages 24-25
  21. Syme M and Hart J, Passengers and Crew Departing Launceston 1833-1837, page 106
  22. Stewart Family <http://www.geocities.com/rvoull/stewart.html&gt;, August 2003
  23. McKay, Thelma, Van Diemen’s Land Early Marriages 1831-1840, Volume 2, 1993
  24. Syme M and Hart J, Passengers and Crew Departing Launceston 1833-1837, page 118
  25. Stewart Family <http://www.geocities.com/rvoull/stewart.html&gt;, August 2003
  26. McKay, Thelma, Van Diemen’s Land Early Marriages 1831-1840, Volume 2, 1993
  27. Buchanan, A M, Index to Tasmanian Deaths/Burials 1797-1840, 1994, page 134
  28. Tucker, Maya V, Kilmore on the Sydney Road, 1988, page 24; Noble, G W, The Red Gate, A History of Alexandra, 1969, page 79: Payne, J W, The History of Beveridge, 1974, pages 2 and 3, and maps
  29. Historical Records of Victoria, Early Development of Melbourne 1836-39, 1984, Vol 3, page 364
  30. Russell, G, Narrative, 1936, page 114
  31. This is the station of Powlett and Green just north of Kilmore; Tucker, Maya V, Kilmore on the Sydney Road, 1988, pages 29-30
  32. I have concluded that this ridge is now the eastern end of Hidden Valley Boulevard, Hidden Valley
  33. Russell, Penny, This Errant Lady, 2002, pages 38-39
  34. Garden, Donald S, Heidelberg, 1973, pages 26
  35. Port Phillip Patriot, 2 March 1840, frame 786
  36. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th Edition, 1886, Vol 21, pages 544-551
  37. Garden, Donald S, Heidelberg, 1972, pages 26-27
  38. Port Phillip Herald, 12 June 1840, page 2
  39. State Records Authority of New South Wales, 1841 Census, Reels 2222 and 2509
  40. Stewart Family <http://www.geocities.com/rvoull/stewart.html&gt;, August 2003
  41. NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, <http:/www.bdm.nsw.gov.au>, Births 1842, August 2003
  42. Port Phillip Gazette, 6 May 1843, page 1
  43. Garden, Donald S, Heidelberg, 1973, pages 43
  44. ibid, page 27 – Note that the name Banyule was soon after used to identify another property at Heidelberg
  45. Noble, G W, The Red Gate – A History of Alexander, 1969, pages 14 and 79; Bride, T F, Letters from Victorian
    Pioneers, 1983, pages 215 and 216
  46. Billis, R V, and Kenyon A S, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, 1974, page 283, Martindale H G, New Crossing Place, 1982, pages 21, 23 and 24, Fletcher B J, Broadford, A Regional History, 1975, pages 2 and 3
  47. Noble, G W, The Red Gate – A History of Alexander, 1969, page 19 and 79
  48. ibid;
  49. Port Phillip Herald, 5 August 1848, page 15
  50. Spreadborough, Robert and Anderson, Hugh, Victorian Squatters, 1983, page 52
  51. Noble, G W, The Red Gate – A History of Alexander, 1969, page 19 and 79
  52. ibid
  53. Spreadborough, Robert and Anderson, Hugh, Victorian Squatters, page 52
  54. Port Phillip Herald, 5 August 1848, page 8
  55. Multimap <http://www.multimap.com&gt;, Great Britain, August 2003
  56. Multimap <http://www.multimap.com&gt;, Great Britain, August 2003
  57. Billis, R V, and Kenyon A S, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, 1974, page 148
  58. Morgan, Marjorie, Crown Lands Pre-emptive right applications: Victoria 1850-1854, 1987, page 29
  59. Public Record Office, Victoria, Wills, Series VPRS 7591, Unit 16, Item 4/168
  60. Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Pioneer Index, Marriages 1858 and 1873
  61. ibid, Marriages 1867
  62. Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Death Certificate, 1862/3322; Argus, 28 January 1862, page 4
  63. Public Record Office, Victoria, Wills, Series VPRS 28, Unit 41, Item 4/168
  64. Noble, G W, The Red Gate – A History of Alexander, 1969, page 19
  65. Stewart Family <http://www.geocities.com/rvoull/stewart.html&gt;, August 2003, and from the death certificate
    of Elizabeth Thom, Alexander died between 1875 and 1889
  66. Unknown book, page 99, copy from The Woady Yaloak Historical Society to the author on 20 March 2003
  67. ibid, page 98; Stewart Family <http://www.geocities.com/rvoull/stewart.html&gt;, May 2003
  68. Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Death Certificate, 1889/18916; headstone Smythesdale Cemetery, Presbyterian, Section 5, Grave number 612/3
  69. Argus, 25 December 1907, page 5

The Willowmavin Road Board

The following article by Grahame Thom was originally published in the March 2009 edition of our Newsletter, Kilmore Connections

In 1856 the colonial government of Victoria passed two acts to enable District Road Boards to be established in the Colony. The residents of Willowmavin must have decided this was a good idea at a meeting held on 26 July 1856. This was followed by a declaration by the administrator of the Government of Victoria that the Parish of Willowmavin be a District Road Board from 19 August 1856. Also the meeting submitted the following requisition to the Police Magistrate in Kilmore, which appeared in the Examiner on page one on 3 October 1856.

To Samuel De Vignoles, Esq, Police Magistrate, resident in Kilmore in the Colony of Victoria. We the undersigned, landholders and householders of the district proclaimed as “Willowmavin Road District”, request you will convene a meeting of landholders and householders in such Road District, to form a District Road Board for the purpose of superintending, providing for, and completing the construction, repair, and maintenance of roads in such Road District, and for the carrying out the provisions of the Acts of Council 16 Victoria, No 40, and 17 Victoria, No 29. Such meeting to be held at John Griffin’s House, “The Farmers’ Arms Hotel”, on the Sydney Road, within the said district, at the hour of 5 o’clock on Friday the 3rd day of October 1856.

Michael Kennedy, landowner
James Woods, landowner
William M’Kay, landowner
Peter Peace
James Thomas
Peter Peace, jun.
Marshal Burrows
James M’Kay
James Mooney, farmer
John Dwyer, farmer
Patrick Dwyer, farmer

Pursuant to the above requisition, I do hereby convene a meeting of landholders and householders in such Road District, at the time and place above mentioned.
S De Vignoles RM
Dated this 11th day of September 1856

The following is an extract from the minute book of the Willowmavin Road Board held by the Society regarding this meeting. John Kelly Trainor was elected to chair the meeting. Unfortunately the minutes do not reveal the names of all the people who attended the meeting. However the following motions were all carried unanimously.

  • Moved Michael English, seconded James Mooney, that there be nine members of the Board.
  • Moved James Mooney, seconded Michael English, that John Kelly Trainor be a member.
  • Moved Edward Leahy, seconded John Griffin, that James Mooney be a member.
  • Moved Patrick Molony, seconded Thomas Harrington, that James McCoy be a member.
  • Moved Patrick Madden, seconded James Mooney, that Michael English be a member.
  • Moved Michael English, seconded John Duggan, that Martin Ford be a member.
  • Moved John Duggan, seconded Michael Ryan, that Patrick Dwyer be a member.
  • Moved Michael Twohy, seconded Thomas Harrington, that Patrick Moloney be a member.
  • Moved Moved James Mooney, seconded Edward Leahy, that James Thomas be a member.
  • Moved James McCoy, seconded Patrick Madden, that John Griffin be a member.
  • Moved James Mooney, seconded Michael English, that the “assessment rate for the current year be one penny per acre pasture and one shilling per acre cultivated, and one shilling in the pound upon yearly valued rental of messages and tenements”.

At the first meeting of the Board held on 9 October 1856, the only business was to elect John Kelly Trainor as Chairman. At the second meeting held on 16 October 1856 the only business was to appoint Thomas J Ryan as Secretary for the first year. At the third meeting held on 23 October 1856 the Board considered two applications for the position of valuator from Edward Rafferty and James Wilson Osborn, but decided to re-advertise. At the fourth meeting held on 27 October 1856, the Board considered the same two applicants and decided to appoint Edward Rafferty. With these decisions made the Board commenced to collect rates and undertake road works in the Parish of Willowmavin.

The editor of the Examiner commented on the establishment of the Road Board on 17 October 1856 “that all success depends upon good management” and called upon “our friends of Bylands and Moranding to do likewise”. The Road Board operated until it became
part of the new Shire of Kilmore in 1875.