Thursday, 9 August 2018

Michael Drew - photographer

The State Library of Victoria has 470 photographs taken by Michael Drew. You can access them on the State Library of Victoria website www.slv.vic.gov.au  Many are unidentified as to location or the people photographed, however some of the ones that are identified are of Harkaway (there are 21 of these) and there are a few labelled as Berwick and one is labelled as Narre Warren. The photos were donated to the State Library of Victoria by Max Thomson, the author of Little Hills 1839-1977 a history of Narre Warren North.

 Thought to be the Shire of Berwick workers and plant.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/343

We have met Michael Drew before in this blog - I did  a post about the Harkaway Hall and illustrated it with his photographs (you can see the post, here.) The photos on this page have a local Casey Cardinia connection. Most of his photos are thought to have been taken between 1890 and 1910.


Three lovely chooks and their prize winning certificates - most of the certificates are from the Dandenong and South Bourke 40th Annual Agricultural and Horticultural Show.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/230


So what do we know about Michael Drew? Michael Forristall Drew was born in Malvern  to 1873 to Amos Langton Drew and Mary Elizabeth Evans. Amos and Mary married in 1859 at St Pauls in Melbourne. According to the marriage notice in The Argus, his address was Collingwood and Mary was the eldest daughter of Mr Luke Evans of River, near Dover, Kent. They had the following children - Amelia (born 1859 - died 1860), Amos Wallworth (c. 1860 - 1893, married Margaret Parker in 1889, they had one daughter Lorna who was born and died in 1892),  the second Amelia Catherine (1862 - 1916, married Frank Ernest Findlay in 1903),  Rosa (1864 - 1937), Charles (1865 - 1866), Frances (1868 - 1891), Frederick Langton (born and died 1872) Michael Forristall (1873 - 1943) and Philip George (1878 - 1899).  There were ten children in all and apart from  the short lived little Lorna, no grandchildren.

The Drews lived on Dandenong  Road, East Malvern (a  property of 15 aces according to the Probate papers). Amos was the Secretary of the Victorian Mining Accident Relief Fund and died in 1902. Mary had died in 1891 at the age of 58. Amos' obituary appears below.


Obituary of Amos Drew
The Age   December 10, 1902.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article187633106


In 1903 Michael was listed in the Electoral Rolls at Darling Road, East Caulfield. His occupation was 'Independent means'. According to the Berwick Shire Rate Books he purchased land in Harkaway in 1907/08. The Rate books record that the land had  a house on 13 acres and was part of Lot 3, Section  13, Parish of Berwick. His occupation in the Electoral Roll at this time was still 'independent means' and in the Rate Books it was 'gentleman'. His sister Rosa was also in the Electoral Roll at Harkaway. 

In 1913, when he was about 40 he married Bertha Rooks (nee Osbaldstone). Bertha had married Luke Rooks in 1890 and he passed away at the age of 25 the next year. The Rooks were living at  Nunawading at the time of his death. 

According to the Rate Books Drew sold the Harkaway property on February 23, 1921 to a Mr Chapple and they moved to Peel Street in Berwick (Lots 8 - 11, Section 21, Berwick township) The property was sold in the 1942/43 Rate book year, before he died on February 9, 1943, as his address in the Death Notice in The Argus is  22 Montana Street, Burwood. He had a private funeral. Bertha died May 30, 1952 at the age of 81.

We have all this family information, but what did Michael actually do? We know he went to Melbourne Grammar School, as he is listed in Liber Melburniensis He obviously was  a keen photographer as his photos at the State Library cover parts of South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria especially the Gippsland region as he has photos of Bairnsdale, Walhalla, the Gippsland Lakes, Wonthaggi etc. Apart from being a 'gentleman of independent means' I can't find an occupation for him. I can't find him listed in the Post Office Directories with an occupation, so it seems that he had a private source of income. Did it come from his parents?  His father, Amos, left an estate valued at just over 8,600 pounds divided equally amongst his children and when he died in 1902 he had three remaining children - Amelia, Rosa and Michael - so that's about 2,800 pounds each - well over ten times the average annual  wage for a labourer, but it wasn't massive money and surely not enough for Michael to live on for the next 40 years. So his source of income is a mystery to me.


Narre Warren Railway Station
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/340



Dandenong Journal  February 10, 1943

According to his obituary in the Dandenong Journal (see above)  he was a keen bowler, supported the Berwick Agricultural Society and was  a Berwick Cemetery Trustee, effective from September 17, 1930 according to the State Government Gazette.


Michael's appointment as Berwick Cemetery Trustee
State Government Gazette September 24, 1930


Three men in a boat - the boat has Tooradin on the stern.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/306

Michael left behind a great body of work, he has some fabulous photos and it is a shame that they are not all identified, so hop onto the State Library of Victoria website, www.slv.vic.gov.au, type his name into the search box and enjoy his photographs.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Dr John Tremearne

John Tremearne was a doctor, an inventor, was at one time was charged with manslaughter,  claimed to be able to cure cancer and is responsible for the name of one of the City of Casey's wards. Dr Tremearne arrived in Melbourne on the Norfolk on July 9, 1872 and took up a position of Resident Surgeon at the Creswick Hospital. The activities of a country doctor were many and varied and there are reports that he treated typhoid patients, amputated limbs after accidents. performed post-mortems and at one time performed a lithotomy on a kidney stone the size of a hens egg. You can read the reports of Dr Tremearne's medical activities in the  list of newspaper articles I have created  about Dr Tremearne and his family on Trove, you can assess the list here.

In 1876 John married Ada Jane Martin, whose father was the editor of the Creswick Advertiser. The couple had six children and only the one grandchild.
  • Arthur John Newman (1877 - 1915). Arthur had a military career and in July 1895 received a commission in the 3rd Ballarat Battalion. He was a Lieutenant when he left to serve in the Boer War in 1899 with the First Victorian Infantry Company. He was invalided to England in June 1900. In 1908 and 1909 he served in Northern Nigeria and had his face grazed by a poisoned arrow whilst fighting the natives.  The Age on June 13, 1910  reported that the University of Cambridge awarded him  a certificate for his researches into the origin, language and folklore of the Houssa tribe in Nigeria. The certificate carries the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Captain Tremearne has also been awarded by the Cambridge University a Diploma of Anthropology for his thesis on Nigerian head hunters. He joined the British Army at the start of the First World War and was killed in Action in France in October 1915. He married Mary Louisa Tremearne in 1906, I presume she was a cousin, not an unusual happening in those times. According to the 1911 English Census she had been born in Bengal in India. I don't believe they had any children.

Arthur Tremearne
Weekly Times October 9, 1915

  • Ada Avenel (1879 - 1890)
  • Francis Clement (1880-1881)
  • John Eliot (1882-1951) John was journalist on The Herald newspaper - a music and dramatic critic for 20 years until he retired in 1946, according to an obituary. He was a foundation member of the Australian Journalists' Association and a friend of fellow Creswick native, Norman Lindsay. John married Veronica McNamee in 1911 and they had one daughter, Veronica, who married Graham Green in 1946. Young Veronica had nine month trip to England and Europe in 1937 - this was reported in The Herald.
  • Frank Bazeley (1884- 1955) Frank  married Frances Daintry Harrison in 1945. Frank enlisted in the First World War in November 1917 at the age of 33. He Returned to Australia in May 1919. Frank was also a  journalist, like his maternal grandfather and his brother. He was with The Argus.
  • Guy Howard (1893-1897).


Dr Tremearne's house at Creswick.

The Tremearne family built this grand house (above) in 1881 in Creswick. It is still standing and is now part of Melbourne University's Creswick Campus or the School of Forestry as it used to be known. They were very much involved with the civic and social life of the town.

In 1883/84 Dr Tremearne purchased land at what is now called Endeavour Hills. He was listed as owning Grasmere, Parish of Eumemmerring, part of Thomas Herbert Power's old Estate. I can't find him the the 1884 Rate books but in 1885/76 he is listed as owning 653 acres, Parish of Narre Warren. In 1886/87 - 282 acres Parish of Eumemmerring and in 1887/88  - 292 acres Parish of Eumemmerring and a house and 300 acres, also in the Parish of Eumemmerring. This was his last appearence in the Rate Books. There appears to me to be some inconsistency with these listings, but never the less, it puts Dr Tremearne into this region. Tremearne is said to have built Four Oaks homestead. The house is still standing at 13 Cardigan Street, Endeavour Hills. Four Oaks was so named as there were four oak trees on the property and is the name of one of the City of Casey Wards. There are only two oak trees remaining. I do not believe that Dr Tremearne actually lived at any of these properties as there is evidence that he was still working in Creswick at the time, so it may be that he held this land as a speculative investment and the house was built for a farm manager.


Four Oaks, Endeavour Hills in 1987.

Tremearne put his land up for sale on November 23, 1887 - as you can see by the advertisement below. Interestingly the property is not called Four Oaks but Rockley Park. Rockley Park, allotments 17 to 20, Parish of Eumemmering is  south of Heatherton Road, between Power Road and Hallam North Road and is just over 650 acres.

Sale of Dr Tremearne's Dandnenong properties.
The Australasian November 5, 1887.

The 1880s was a boom time in Victoria with property values going through the roof which is reflected in the following story and also adds strength to my idea that Tremearne had purchased this land as an investment. The property was sold by Tremearne to James Mirams on March 1, 1888 for 40,000 pounds. On March 14, Mirams sold the land for 48,000 pounds to the Real Estate Bank. On May 1, the Real Estate Bank sold the land to Frederick Illingworth for 60,000 pounds. On June 14, Illingworth sold the land to the Grasmere Estate Company for 105,000 pounds. However when Tremearne sold the land to Mirams, Mirams paid in cash and promissory notes to be paid at specific times over the next few years and if Mirams failed to make a payment the contract was rescinded and this happened in March 1889. The contract was rescinded, however Mirams paid so the contract was reinstated. However the Grassmere Company used this to try to get out of the contract with Illingworth. This involved Court case was written up in The Argus of September 10, 1889, you can read it here.

Back to Creswick. During the time Tremearne owned the land in what is now Endeavour Hills, there is plenty of evidence in newspaper reports to show that he was still living and practicing medicine in Creswick and it was during this time that he was charged with manslaughter.  Richard Goatley was accidentally given a dose of morphia by Dr Tremearne rather than a dose of silicate of soda and he died. An inquest was held in February 1886 and the manslaughter trial at Stawell in the March. You can read about the trial, here. In the end the Crown entered a  nolle prosequi or 'unwilling to pursue'.

In 1896, when he was still at Creswick, Dr Tremearne discovered a cure for cancer. As the Sydney Mail newspaper put it  A section of the community hail the report with natural joy. Another section asks, 'Can any good thing come out of Creswick?'  The reputed discoverer is a surgeon and  a scientist, liked and respected by his profession, and has been connected for some years with the pretty little mining township of Creswick, in the Ballarat district (read the article here)  Actually Dr Tremearne had heard of this treatment from a colleague in Germany and so had not discovered it, but he was sent some supplies of this treatment, called methylene blue, and had been experimenting with it for four weeks with six of his cancer patients and he was struck by the wonderful rapidity in which their pain was eased. You can read about the results here, in this report from The Argus of July 31, 1896. If you want to know more about methelyne blue, you can do so here in this Encyclopeadia Britannica article.

Dr Tremearne was clearly a  man who was open to new ideas and in 1897 he was granted  a patent for A new or improved desk or stand for supporting a hook, paper or other articles, and fittings for attaching same to chair, lounge, bed or table. This was gazetted in the Victorian Government Gazette of September 3, 1897.


In September 1902, Dr Tremearne's hospital was sold and they then left Creswick and moved to Melbourne, where two of their sons were living.  In 1908, Ada Tremearne's sister, Ella Martin took over Mandeville Hall in Toorak, a mansion situated on five acres, and turned it into residential suites or rooms. The original house on the site was one of 12 rooms built for Alfred Watson in 1869. It was purchased by Joseph Clarke in 1876 who had the house enlarged to 30 rooms and an ornate facade added. These works were designed by the architect, Charles Webb.  In May 1908 John and Ada moved to Mandeville Hall.  Dr Tremearne died whilst living at Mandeville Hall when he was 68 years old. Ella Martin sold Mandeville Hall in 1924 to the Loreto Order of Nuns, who turned it into a school, which is still running.  It is clear that the Tremearne family were well off, but that still didn't stop the heartache of losing three of their six children at a young age (Ada was eleven years old, Francis was 8 months and Guy was three) and when Ada Tremearne  died in 1942 at the age of 84, she had only two sons living, John and Frank, Arthur having been killed in World War one.


Mandeville Hall,  the last home of Dr Tremearne. 
State Library of Victoria Image IAN31/10/78/18. 
Published in the Australian Illustrated News October 31, 1878.

I have created a list of newspaper articles about Dr Tremearne and his family on Trove, click here to access the list

Friday, 22 June 2018

Charles and Ellen Rossiter

Rossiter Road is named after Charles Rossiter. Charles and Ellen Rossiter took up 317 acres of land at Yallock in 1873 and called the property Hawkesdale. It was located at Lot 10b, Parish of Yallock and situated between Koo Wee Rup and Bayles, near Bethune's Road.  Before this Charles and Ellen lived at Ravenhurst (later called Tulliallan) on Clyde Road, south of Grices Road in Cranbourne North. You can read about the history of the Ravenhurst / Tulliallan property, here.



Charles and Ellen Rossiter, early 1890s.
State Library of Victoria Image H82.96/39

Ravenhurst was part of the Garem Gam Run of 3,200 acres (1300 hectares) taken up by James Bathe and T.J Perry in 1837. In 1845, Garem Gam was subdivided and the eastern part was called Ravenhurst.  Ravenhurst was taken up by Benjamin Rossiter (Charles’ father) and Maurice Feehan in 1850. In 1851 it appears that the property (Garem Gam) was leased as a whole by Benjamin Rossiter, Maurice Feehan and Sarah O’Shea. Sarah had been leasing the other section of the Garem Gam property with John Crewe.  By 1854, Benjamin Rossiter had the entire property.

Benjamin Rossiter (1786 - 1858) and his wife Zillah Baynton (1789 - 1871) had arrived in the Western Port area in 1842, having come out from Somersetshire in 1841. Benjamin Rossiter died in 1858 and his sons Charles and Thomas, took over the property. As well as the two boys Benjamin and Zillah had two daughters - Ann who died as a teenager and Mercy who married Henry Wedge. Henry Wedge and his bothers Charles and John had the Bangam and Ballymarang Stations. Bangam was located between the Dandenong and Eumemmerring Creeks (so modern day Doveton) and Ballamarang, which is around modern day Carrum Downs and across to Seaford and Port Phillip Bay. Wedge Road in Carrum Downs is named for the family. Mercy Wedge died in 1903 aged 80. Thomas James Rossiter, who died in Parkes in New South Wales, married Mary Ann O’Shea in 1854, the same year his brother, Charles, married Ellen O’Shea.  One source on the internet says that Mary Ann and Ellen were sisters. I can confirm that Ellen’s father was John O’Shea (died 1852 aged 51) but I am guessing that Sarah O’Shea is the wife of John and the mother of Mary Ann and Ellen. O’Shea’s Road is named for the family.


Claude, Nellie and Norton Rossiter at Hawkesdale, early 1880s
State Library of Victoria Image H82.96/17

Charles and Ellen O’Shea had eight children -  Edwin Augustus (1856 - 1939, married Ellen Louisa Craig in 1890), Emily Baynton (1857 - 1883), Helena Ellen Teresa (1859 - 1902), Charles Benjamin (1865 - 1942, married his first cousin Zillah Rossiter in 1899), Hubert (1869 - 1870), Ellen Teresa (known as Nellie, 1871- 1926 married William Brierley in 1906), Norton Baynton (c. 1875 - 1947, married Hilda Hodgson in 1906) and Claude Cecil (c. 1878 - 1947, married Stella Mary Paragreen in 1907). Charles died in 1895 aged 74 and Ellen died in 1909 aged 73. They are both buried at the Cranbourne Cemetery

What do we know about their life in Koo Wee Rup? Niel Gunson in his book Good Country: Cranbourne Shire says that Rossiter’s property Hawkesdale was regarded as a show place in the district and the homestead was set off by a profusion of flowers – geraniums, dahlias, rhododendrons, roses, broom and cactus. Besides bloodstock and a shorthorn dairy herd, Rossiter applied intense cultivation – in a paddock on the east side of the homestead seventeen successive crops have been grown and for the last fourteen years without manure - the present crop will yield 2 ½ tons of hay to the acre. You can see some of the garden in the photograph, below.



The Rossiters at Hawkesdale, early 1890s.  Photographer: Sydney Herbert Edwards. 
The photo shows Charles on the left,  seated are Ellen and one of the daughters, possibly Nellie. Son Charles is at the back and Norton is lying on the ground.
State Library of Victoria Image H82.96/88


Charles was an original Committee member of the Mornington Farmers Society from 1856, a Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1869 to 1884 and Shire President on four occasions. Charles and his brother, Thomas, bred horses, amongst their other agricultural pursuits. As he had many children, Charles was interested in having a school established in the area and was one of the local land owners to sign a petition for its establishment. Subsequently, Yallock State School No. 2629 (later called Koo Wee Rup State School) was opened on November 1, 1884 at Bethune's Road.



Hawkesdale, Koo Wee Rup, 1890s. 
I presume this is the building described as 'the dairy, meat room and buggy rooms' in the sale advertisement, below.
Photo shows Norton, Claude, Nellie, Charles and their cousin, Zillah. Charles and Zillah married in 1899.
State Library of Victoria Image H82.96/45


The Hawkesdale property was put up for auction in November 1898, by Charles’ executors. It was described at the time as being only two miles from the Koo Wee Rup Railway Station. There was a good four roomed brick house, kitchen and kitchen bedroom, 2 pantries, a large building comprising a dairy, meat room and 2 buggy rooms; 10 stalled cow shed, refrigeration room, good orchard. There was a State School and creamery adjoining the property and it was one of the finest farms in the district.


The sale of Hawkesdale. 
The Australasian November 12, 1898

After the farm was sold, Ellen went to live with her son, Norton, in Hedley (near Welshpool)

We are lucky that a member of the Rossiter family donated some family photos to the State Library, so we can get  a snap shot of their life at Hawkesdale and other properties. The photos were given by Mrs Leila Trickey (1908 - 1985) the daughter of Claude Rossiter.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Sarah Fagan - hotel keeper

Sarah Fagan operated a hotel in Lyndhurst in the 1850s. She had arrived in Victoria in 1853 and after her husband Alexander died in 1857 she opened the hotel in Lyndhurst (this part of Lyndhurst is now called Lynbrook). Not only was she, by all accounts, a strong personality she like many other pioneer women, such as Martha King, had to just 'get on with it' after their husband's death and make the most of it in their new home. Sarah had come out on the Earl of Charlemont, which sunk off Point Henry in June 1853. You can read an account of the sinking here. Interestingly, another local publican, Eliza Gooch of the Mornington Hotel in Cranbourne, had also been involved in a ship wreck, you can read about her, here.

I first learnt about Mrs Fagan from Niel Gunson's book, The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire. This is what he has to say about the Fagan family.

Another buyer [of land in Cranbourne] in 1859 was Colin Crillie Clarke of Beaulieu who had arrived in the late 1840s....a school teacher, experimented with vitculture and made his own wine. In later life regarded as a somewhat eccentric recluse....Margaret Fagan, his wife, was a North of Ireland woman. Her father and brother, John, had arrived several years earlier and they sent for Mrs Fagan at Clonvaraghan to bring out the remaining members of the family. Mrs Fagan came out by the Earl of Charlemont which was wrecked off Point Henry in June 1853. All the passengers were saved and no personal property was retrieved.  Alexander Fagan died at Lyndhurst in 1857; the sons farmed Algernon Lindsay's property. The widow occupied the block adjoining, known locally as Fagan's Hill (Lyndhurst Radio Station) Here she is said to have dispensed the 'water of life' to the coach drivers who stopped at her house. A colourful character she was known as Granny Fagan..... Both she and her daughters, Mrs George Hall and Mrs Nelson shared a reputation for two things: generosity and kindness to the deserving stranger and a fearlessness in rebuking injustice or cruelty. These women were also marathon walkers, Mrs Hall walking from Narre Warren to Dandenong (at the age of 80) shortly before her death.  Part of Beaulieu was leased to George Hall and James Henderson and later bought by the Facey family. Colin Clarke's daughter Jane was a talented artist and her paintings of Western Port and Gippsland scenes were at one time exhibited in Melbourne. 


Sarah Fagan
Photo from The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire.

So let's look at the Fagan family tree in more detail. Sarah Fagan was born Sarah Jones in Northern Ireland. On her Death Certificate, her father is listed as Evan Jones, a farmer. She married Alexander Fagan, who died in 1857. He was 65 when he died. Traditionally, hotel keepers are seen as being of Irish and Catholic background, but in the 1850s and 1860s in this area it was not unusual to have Protestants, such as Sarah Fagan, operating hotels. By the 1880s there was a movement towards abstinence from alcohol with the rise of groups such as the Band of  Hope, the Independent Order of Rechabites and the Woman's Christian Temperance. Many Protestant Churches promoted abstinence and Gunson writes The Gooches, Tuckers and Duffs and Mrs Bowman of the Gippsland Hotel were perhaps the last of their kind to combine Evangelical piety with the publican's profession.

Sarah died on January 12, 1879 at Eumemmerring and her son, William, also of Eumemmerring was the informant. Her occupation was grazier. She was buried at Dandenong Cemetery and her age was listed as 89, which means she was born around 1790.  Her children are listed on the death certificate as Mary Ann, aged 58; Margaret, 56; John 54; William, 52; Sarah 50 and Nancy 48. According to the shipping records on the Public Records Office of Victoria website Sarah was 58 when she arrived in 1853 on the ill fated Earl of Charlemont. Also on the ship were three of her children -  William, aged 17; Sarah, aged 16 and Ann aged 12.  If this age is correct then Sarah was born around 1795. As you will see below there are a lot of discrepancies in the birth dates of the Fagan family, depending on what source you use - one of the challenges of family history research!

Let's look at Sarah and Alexander's children in more detail and as you will see they inter-married with other local Casey Cardinia families.
  • Mary Ann - b. c. 1821. I have no other details at the moment. I wonder if she came to Australia? 
  • Margaret - born c. 1822, died 1889 aged 67. Margaret was the wife of  Colin Crillie Clarke (1807-1880) who as we saw before, had arrived in Victoria in the 'late 1840s'. We can actually narrow this date down to 1849 as their daughter, Mary Ann, was born 'at sea' in 1849. Mary Ann died in 1866 aged 16. They had one other daughter, Jane, who was born in 1868 at Cranbourne and died at the age of 25 in December 30, 1893. She was the 'talented artist' that Gunson refers to in the excerpt, above.


Death and funeral notice of Margaret The Age December 17, 1889 

  • John - born c. 1826, died 1917 aged 90. Can't find any indication that he married and the obituary, below, from the Lang Lang Guardian suggests that he didn't marry.
Lang Lang Guardian June 6, 1917

  • William - born c. 1827 according to his mother's death certificate or 1836 according to the shipping record.  I have no other details at the moment.
  • Sarah - died 1915 aged 80, which means she was born c. 1835 or 1829 according to her mother's death certificate or 1837 according to the shipping record. Sarah was the one who used to walk from Narre Warren to Dandenong! Sarah married George Hall in 1855.  They were the first name on the Cranbourne Presbyterian Church Marriage Register, according to a history of the church published in the Dandenong Journal in December, 1935. You can read it, here. George Hall was a 'bullockie' and had  a team of bullocks and lived at Narre Warren  North where many of the children were born.  They had Margaret (1856), George (c. 1858), Mary Ann (1863), Susan Emily (c. 1865), Annie (1869), Jane (c. 1870), William John (1871), Alexander (1873), Herbert Henry (1876). Jane married William Cadd of Clyde in 1887 and they lived on Patterson's Road. Sarah married, firstly, Thomas Williams and when he died she operated the general store at Clyde. She married for the second time to Thomas Ridgway and they lived at Clyde. Thomas had been born at Clyde in 1860 to Anthony and Sophia (nee Cadd) Ridgway.

South Bourke & Mornington Journal June 17, 1915


  • Agnes - died 1914 aged 74, which means she was born c. 1840 or 1831 according to her mother's death certificate (where she was called Nancy) or 1841 according to the shipping record (where she was listed as Ann).  Agnes married James Nelson (1831 - 1916)  in 1855 when she was just 16 years old, according to Niel Gunson, which makes her birth c. 1840, so as with her sister Sarah I have no idea what her exact year of birth is.  James was a blacksmith and had arrived in the area in 1854; his father, also called James, had  a property at Eumemmerring. James was a man of  Evangelical religious conviction, according to Gunson, and had a library which included many theological books. In 1868 James and Agnes and their family moved to Bay View at Lang Lang. They had eleven children - Alexander (1856), Sarah (c.1858), James (1860), William (1862), John (1865), David (c. 1866), Elizabeth (1868), Mary (1871), Margaret (1875), Henry (1877) and Agnes (1879). Sarah married Daniel Gunson (1847 - 1915) in 1882. He was a Methodist Minister whose parish went from Yannathan to the Powlett River (Wonthaggi) - it was fortunate for him that he was an experienced bushman. Sarah and Daniel are the grandparents of Niel Gunson, the author of The Good Country, which I have quoted and used many, many times in this blog.

Dandenong Advertiser July 23, 1914

I have created a list of newspaper articles about the Fagan family on Trove, click here to access the list.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Miss Fanny Dango


Miss Fanny Dango
State Library of Victoria  Image H85.73/6

On November 29, 1910 the actress and comedienne, Miss Fanny Dango, married the Australian 'squatter', Sam MacKay, in London. Samuel Peter MacKay was the owner of Melville Park in Berwick. The Melville Park property was later renamed Edrington, and is now a retirement village. Sam, 45 years old, had recently been divorced from his 43 year old wife, Florence Gertrude (nee Taylor) MacKay on the grounds of her 'misconduct' with Harry Mulvey, a chauffeur, and Donald Bain, a Real Estate Agent of Berwick (and the son of Robert and Susan Bain, who owned the Border 
Inn at Berwick). The term 'misconduct' was a  euphemism for 'sexual activity' or an affair.


The Argus, December 1 1910


According to his obituary, published in Pastoral Review, June 16 1923 (see here) Sam MacKay, was born in 1864 in Mount Gambier. He left school at 13 and did some cattle droving, until he decided to move to northern Western Australia where he worked in the pearling industry. Later on his father and two uncles purchased the one million acre Mundabullangana Station, east of Roebourne. By 1903, when his father died, he bought the Station outright. In 1905 he purchased Melville Park at Berwick from James Gibb and lived there until 1912. MacKay built the mansion (now called Edrington) at Berwick around 1906/1907. The building was designed by Rodney Alsop and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, where it is described as a two-storey red brick example of the English vernacular style with some reference to the Queen Anne style. It has also been described as being in the Arts and Crafts Style. The building is pictured, below. MacKay's obiturary ends with Although the late Mr. Mackay was a well-known pastoralist, he was better known as a breeder and lover of thoroughbred horses, and his colours were a familiar sight on the chief racecourses in Australia.



Melville Park (now Edrington) built by Sam MacKay.

In 1892 Sam married Florence Gertude Taylor in Western Australia. Florence was from Yangdine, near York in Western Australia. They had three children - Elsie Gertrude (born 1893 in Roebourne, W.A., died in Melbourne in 1963 - she married actor Lionel Attwill in Chicago and became an actress); Marjorie (born and died 1895) and Samuel Keith (1900 - 1924) You can read about the family here, in an article entitled The Tragedies of the MacKays in the Sunday Times, July 27, 1924. Keith had recently died in an aeroplane accident at near Port Headland when the article was written.  Sam and Florence were divorced in August 1910, a few months before his marriage to Fanny. Sam and Fanny then had one son, Peter Angus, born in 1911.



Weekly Times August 13, 1910

Above is an account of the MacKay divorce  from the Weekly Times. As Sam married Fanny a few months later in the November, you would have to assume that they were already acquainted whilst the divorce proceedings were being heard.

Who was exotically named Fanny Dango? Fanny was born in 1878 as Fanny Rudge, to Henry and Elizabeth Rudge of Birmingham. She had four sisters who also became actresses - Letitia (stage name Letty Lind), Sarah (stage name Millie Hylton), Elizabeth (stage name Adelaide Astor) and Lydia (stage name Lydia Flopp) and two brothers who followed their father's career as a brass founder. 

The Association of British Theatre Technicians website has the following information about Fanny and her sisters - http://www.abtt.org.uk/event/the-british-music-hall-society-study-group/

The Rudge sisters, professionally known as Letty Lind (1861-1923), Millie Hylton (1868-1920), Adelaide Astor (1874-1951), Lydia Flopp (1877-1962) and Fanny Dango (1878-1972), all hailing from Birmingham, were primarily dancers but later developed their singing talents, working in pantomime, variety and music hall, musical comedy and burlesque, often at the Gaiety Theatre in the 1880s and  90s. Letty Lind was in the last George Edwardes burlesques (at the Gaiety) and the first George Edwardes musical comedies (at Daly’s); she also had a professional and personal relationship with the dramatic author and entertainer Howard Paul (1830-1905) and was the mother of his illegitimate son, she later had an enduring relationship with the 3rd Earl of Durham (1855-1928) and another son. Millie Hylton had a successful career in variety as a male impersonator and as a principal boy in pantomime, but later appeared in legitimate theatre and was the mother of actress Millie Sim (b.1895). Adelaide Astor was married to George Grossmith, Jnr. and had a son, George Grossmith (manager) and a daughter, Ena Grossmith (b.1896, actress). Lydia Flopp had a briefer career than her sisters and an unhappy marriage. Fanny Dango followed her sisters onto the London stage and ended up a wealthy woman in Australia. The Rudge sisters were cousins of music hall artist, Millie Lindon (1877-1940) who was married at one time to T.E. Dunville (1868-1924), however they divorced long before his sad and dramatic death and she later re-married three times.

Fanny was in Australia working in various States quite on a frequent basis between 1900 and 1910, according to newspaper reports at the times. If you put her name into Trove, you will get many results.



The Age  September 11, 1907

Fanny died in Victoria in 1972 aged 91.  Her son, Peter, died aged 40 in 1951.

I am indebted to Bib Flavell of the Edrington Park History Group for telling me about Fanny Dango.


Friday, 4 May 2018

Grassmere becomes Doveton

The suburb of Doveton was established in the mid 1950s by the Housing Commission to provide housing for the employees of the 'Big Three' Industrial companies, International Harvestor Company (established 1952), H.J Heinz (1955) and General Motors Holden (1956).

The area was originally known as Dandenong or Eumemmerring or more especially Grassmere after Thomas Herbert Power's estate. It was called Grassmere well into the 1950s, and renamed Doveton after John and Margaret Doveton in 1953 or 1954 who had given their name to Doveton Avenue (where their house was located). The use of the name in Doveton Avenue preceded the use of the name as a suburb as we can see from this wedding report, below, from the Dandenong Journal of  April 22, 1951. The photo  shows Miss Ethel Florence Hilyear of Doveton Avenue, Grassemere and her groom, Mr David Newport.


Dandenong Journal April 22, 1951

Another article in the Dandenong Journal of October 24, 1951 (see below) talks about General Motors Holden feeling that Eumemmerring as an address is 'unwieldly', although apparenttly International Harvester thought it was a 'thundering nice name. The Journal asked if anyone knew the origin of the name and a further article in the Journal said the name was Irish. Not sure about that - most sources seem to say that it is of Aboriginal origin and means 'we are pleased to agree with you' or on a related theme, a word expressing pleasure or agreement.



Dandenong Journal, October 24, 1951.




Dandenong Journal November 21, 1951



Dandenong Journal April 29, 1953

According to an article in paper (see above) the name of Doveton was agreed to by the Shire of Berwick in April 1953 after  a request from the Hallam Progress Association. This decision preceded the establishment of the Housing Commission project at what was then called Dandenong East.

The Age September 27, 1954.

The Doveton Housing Commission Estate was announced in September 1954.

Dandenong Journal October 13, 1954

It seems that the formal adoption of the name Doveton for the Housing Commission Estate was in October 1954, according to the report in the Dandenong Journal, above. The area had been known as Dandenong East. It does appear that the year 1954 was the year the name Grassmere was finally abandoned for the area east of Doveton.  The modern day suburb of Eumemmerring was gazetted on May 20, 1981. As a matter of interest Doveton is a variation of the name Dufton which means ‘Farmstead where doves are kept’ in dovecotes.

Friday, 20 April 2018

City of Cranbourne logo

The City of  Cranbourne must take the prize for the shortest-lived local government body in Australia - it lasted 237 days. It was created on April 22, 1994 and  ceased to exist on December 15, 1994 at 4.00pm when it was essentially split between the newly created City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire. Of course,  the area had a long history under other names - the Shire of Cranbourne and the Cranbourne Road Board - you can read about that here on my Cranbourne Local Government timeline - http://caseycardinialinkstoourpast.blogspot.com.au/2018/02/cranbourne-shire-sesquicentenary.html

I have wondered why the City of Cranbourne was created in April 1994 given that the Kennett Government was already well into their review of local government (or destruction of local government whatever your viewpoint of Council reform was or is ) by that time and some change had already taken place (e.g. Flemington had been excised from the City of Melbourne and added to the then City of Essendon in 1993) however that's all history now.

To keep the memory of the short-lived City of Cranbourne alive, here is the City of Cranbourne logo and signage instructions and protocols. Click on the images to enlarge them.