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.










Friday, 13 April 2018

Shire of Cranbourne Information booklet 1975

This is the Cranbourne Shire Information booklet from 1975. The Cranbourne Shire area was just a rural Shire then - they had revenue of $2.36 million, the Koo Wee Rup Swimming pool was under construction, the Cranbourne Elderly Citizens was in the pipe-line for construction on the 'old State School site fronting the South Gippsland Highway', the library service operated from  a mobile library which visited High Street Cranbourne, Langwarrin, Pearcedale, Devon Meadows, Clyde, Hampton Park, Tooradin, Lang Lang, Carrum Downs, Skye, Cranbourne South, Catani, Bayles, Cardinia and Koo Wee Rup. Dog registration was $3.00 per dog or $1.00 if you were a pensioner.



Click on each image to get an enlarged version.










Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Farm Hedges

Hedges have traditionally been used in the country to delineate property boundaries and as wind breaks. Traditionally, in this region, Cypress trees have been planted for this purpose and it is quite usual to see rows of old cypress trees along the road sides. However 100 years or so after the cypress trees were first planted they begin to look very straggly, have a tendency to blow over in high wind days and in the past 5 to 7 years they have also suffered from Cypress canker and row after row of the trees have died. On the Koo Wee Rup Swamp it was thought that this canker took hold after the February 2011 floods. So due to these circumstances many old cypress trees are now being removed.


This is my grandmother's farm on Murray Road at Cora Lynn, c. 1957.  A good illustration of cypress trees used as wind breaks.


This is an aerial of Brentwood farm at Berwick, taken sometime before 1988. Another illustration of the use of cypress hedges as wind breaks. Brentwood was on Berwick Clyde Road, located near what is now the southern part of Bemersyde Drive. You can still see some of the Brentwood cypress trees in the Brentwood Park housing estate, especially lining Chirnside Walk.


These are other cypress trees on Murray Road, in the process of being removed - they are at the ugly, straggly stage.  Photo was taken June 2013.


Another type of hedge that was planted in the area was English Hawthorn or Whitethorn (C. monogyna). You can still see some of these remnant hedges at Caldermeade,  along Ballarto Road near Cardinia and near the Catani township amongst other places.

The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study* has this to say about the hedges In Cardinia Shire, hedges were used extensively from the late nineteenth century onward as an efficient form of fencing, particularly on the large pastoral estates in the southern parts of the Shire around Koo Wee Rup. Windrows of trees were also planted, chiefly Monterey Cypresses or Pines to protect stock and crops. These trees and hedges also had an aesthetic value that added a picturesque quality to the landscape and consequently 'bear witness to the immigrants' desire to have familiar surroundings in this strange new land'  

Usually planted in straight lines along the edges of paddocks and along boundaries, they closely followed the north-south and east-west lines marked out by the allotment surveyors and hence emphasised the grid layout imposed by the Government survey upon the landscape. 

The most common hedging plant used in Cardinia Shire was English Hawthorn or Whitethorn (C. monogyna), one of a number of different plant varieties used throughout Victoria in the nineteenth century. One of the earliest hawthorn hedges in the former Cranbourne Shire was established in 1882 at Caldermeade near Lang Lang (Gunson, 1968)

This last reference is to Niel Gunson, The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire** The hedge referred to was planted by Alexander McMillan (1825 - 1897). Alexander was the fifth son of Archibald McMillan (1789-1863) who purchased the Caldermeade property in May 1881, when the property was put up for sale after the death of Archibald's widow, Katherine. At the time the property consisted of over 3,000 acres.  Alexander kept the property in excellent condition and planted the hawthorn hedgerows around 1882. There are still hedges along parts of Caldermeade Road and the South Gippsland Highway.

The Cardinia hedges along Ballarto Road are likely to be associated with the ownership of land by the Patterson family in the nineteenth century according to the Heritage Study* You can see these hedges from the Cardinia township to Pound Road. Alexander Patterson (1813 - 1896)  had acquired the St Germains run of nine square miles (5, 760 acres) in 1848. Some of the St Germains property, facing Ballarto Road was sold off after 1906** You can read Mr Patterson's obituary in the South Bourke & Mornington Journal of December 30, 1896, here.

We will now look at the Catani hedges. The Heritage Study* has this to say about these hedges - This series of Hawthorn Hedges surround almost the whole boundary of the property that is bounded by Caldermeade, Heads, Taplins and  Walshes roads immediately to the south of Catani township.

The exact date of the Hawthorn hedges at Catani is not known, however, it appears that they may have been associated with the farm established by James Smethurst, a farmer of Yannathan, in the late 1880s. Smethurst obtained the Crown Grant for Crown Allotment 21D, Parish of Yallock in July 1888. CA 21D is the land now bordered by Caldermeade, Heads, Walshes and Taplins roads. 

Smethurst did not own the property for long. A small portion of land at the corner of Caldermeade and Heads roads was sold to William Scott in 1889, while the balance was sold in 1891 to James Greaves, a butcher from Dandenong . James sold to William Henry Greaves, a farmer, in 1899. He owned the property until 1933. In 1932, the north-east corner was sold to the Presbyterian Church of Victoria as the site of the Catani Presbyterian Church.

The Hawthorn Hedges as they exist today therefore appear to correspond with the boundaries of the land as selected by Smethurst in 1888 so may have been planted by him as a condition of the Grant. Alternatively they could have been planted by Greaves after 1891.

James Smethurst who owned the land may have been James Smethurst Snr or James Smethurst Jnr - hard to tell from the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books as they  both own lots of land and it does not seem to specifically mention CA 21D. James Smethurst (1822-1905) and his wife Sarah (nee Hulton 1846 - 1907) arrived in area at Cranbourne in the late 1850s and had land at Yannathan and Cranbourne. James Smethurst Jnr (1846 - 1909) and his wife Eliza (nee Stanlake 1856-1909) also had  land at Yannathan as did  his brother John Henry Smethurst (1849 - 1898). John and his wife Annie (nee Redfern 1853 - 1925) had the property Glen Avis at Yannathan and was also a Cranbourne Shire Councillor. (Family information come from Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia Region)



The Hawthorn hedges in Catani that are of heritage significance.  The township of Catani is at the top left, the road on the left is Walshe's Road, at the bottom is Head's Road, on the right is Caldermeade and at the top is Taplins Road.  The little square at the top of the marked roads is the Catani Presbyterian Church (now a  Community Church) as referred to in the Heritage Study description. This photo is from the Cardinia Local Heritage Study Review  Volume 2: Key Findings & Recommendations  Revised Report  May 2011 undertaken by Context Heritage Consultants.


This is the hawthorn hedge in Taplin's Road at Catani. The old cypress trees are part of the Catani Recreation Reserve. (April 2018)


Walshes Road hawthorn hedge, looking back towards Head's Road. The pile of trees on the right are felled cypress trees. (April 2018)


Red hawthorn berries - Catani (April 2018)


Caldermeade Road hedges at Catani (April 2018)

The Heritage Study also lists a hawthorn hedge on Linehams Road at Catani and there is also a hawthorn hedge at Clyde, from around Patterson Road, down to the old railway line - it will be interesting to know how long the Clyde one will last with all the rapid development going on in the area.

The Heritage Study* quotes this passage from Early Days of Berwick*** Mr Walton, father of Mrs G.W Robinson, introduced the hawthorn hedge one of the charms of North Narre Warren into the district. He taught the art of thorn setting or layering, as practiced in England which by the interlacing of the upper and lower branches hedges were rendered cattle and sheep proof.  Mr Walton was Thomas Walton, who wife his wife Eliza,  arrived in the Narre Warren area in 1852 and built Holly Green (located where Fountain Gate Shopping Centre is today). The Waltons left the area in 1877 and  Sidney Webb purchased Holly Green in 1880. It was their daughter, Eliza Mary Walton, who married George Washington Robinson in 1867. Robinson was the Shire of Berwick Engineer from 1876 to 1890.


This is the Holly Green property in 1900 - the property has a post and rail fence facing what is now the Princes Highway, but the other boundary fences could still be Mr Walton's hedges.


*Cardinia Local Heritage Study Review Volume 3: Heritage Place & Precinct citations  - Final report, revised November 2013, September 2015 undertaken by  Context Heritage Consultants.

 ** Gunson, Niel The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire (Shire of Cranbourne, 1968)

 *** Early days of Berwick  and its surrounding districts of Beaconsfield, Upper Beaconsfield, Harkaway, Narre Warren and Narre Warren North. (3rd edition, 1979)