Casterton & District Historical Society Inc.
Extracts from Meeting Notes 1990-1996

March 21st 1990

Mr PIERLOT was born at Great Western on 28th August, 1898 and is currently in his 92nd year. He attended primary school at Great Western and furthered his education at St Patrick’s in Ballarat and later at Ararat High School. He met his wife at the Great Western races.

Mr PIERLOT’s mother was born at Deep Lead near Stawell whilst his father emigrated from France during the 1890’s. His father was involved in the production of champagne in his native France and following his arrival at Great Western, was employed at Mr IRVINES winery. The guest speaker himself commenced his working life at IRVINES, prior to his father’s death in 1918. Of interest was his recounting of life at Great Western during the 1914-18 war.

The guest speaker had one sister, who was called Zelma. She married Gordon RHODES of GREYLANDS, Henty shortly after WWI and settled at GREYLANDS. Mr PIERLOT eventually followed his sister to this area, when in November 1926 he purchased a property of 559 acres at Henty from Bill RHODES and started his life as a sheep farmer. Bill was a brother of Hans and Gordon RHODES, and he actually built the present house on top of the hill at WEEROONA around 1918.

Mr PIERLOT spoke about the days when dances were held at the old Henty school on Saturday nights and contributed several amusing anecdotes regarding same. A number of well known local identities were mentioned.

The guest speaker was actually the correspondent for the School Committee for many years, prior to its closure in May 1947. Later the old Henty schoolroom was moved to become the kitchen at the Merino Consolidated School.

The HENTY FIRE BRIGADE was established in 1948 and Mr PIERLOT was the first President a position he filled for many years.

Mr PIERLOT entertained the members present with a wide range of reminiscences relating to topics such as swagmen, Indian hawkers, wool prices in days gone by ( including the extraordinary prices of March 1951) well known district fires and floods , tiger snakes and the Henty Cricket team. He talked about changes in lifestyles brought about by such phenomena as the motor care, electricity and the advent of television.

Mr PIERLOT and his wife retired to Casterton in 1960 and to their present Ross Street residence in September 1962


April 1990

Mr George TIBBLES has lived all his life in Casterton, having been born in a house on the corner of Miller and Addison Streets on 20th February 1917.

The house was at that time known as Miss BADAMS NURSING HOME and a good many district residents first saw the light of day there.

Mr TIBBLES first resided at 31 Miller Street but after the death of his mother when he was aged but three, he went to reside at WATTLE FARM, CORNDALE owned at the time by his grandparents Mr and Mrs Bill SEALEY.

Mr SEALEY was a very strict Methodist. In addition times were very tough and the guest speaker well remembered that the common food choice was between bread and dripping or bread and jam, never the two.

Mr TIBBLES early education was obtained at the CORNDALE school. In an austerity measure, common in those days, boots and socks were worn around the neck on the way to and from school and were only worn on the feet whilst at school.

Local identities that remain the guest speakers mind from those early years include Jack and Jim GOODWIN, David McCOMBE and Frank and Thornton DANCOCKS. Mr TIBBLES related a number of amusing stories relating to these identities.

George left school at 14 to help run the farm, after his grandfather became sick. Soon after he remembers seeing Charlie PESKETT drive out in the first truck that he had ever seen.

When the guest speaker was about 15, his grandfather died. He remained at CORNDALE for another couple of years until his grandmother also died. Soon after he went to work for Mrs NEESON at NAREEN, commuting by bicycle to and from Casterton. A subsequent purchase of a motorcycle greatly simplified travel arrangement for Mr TIBBLES.

After working at NEESONS for about 12 months, Mr TIBBLES worked for a short time at STRATHDOWNIE for Mr H HARVEY. During the 1930s he met his wife at a dance at SANDFORD eventually marrying in 1941.

Around the late 1930s Mr TIBBLES went to work in a bake house at PORTLAND for a brief period, before entering the army. Initially serving with the 4th Light Horse, he later went to the Motor Regiment and finished as a sergeant instructor eventually leaving the service in 1945.

Mr TIBBLES went to work at PEDENS soon after returning to Casterton in all he worked for 3 generations of the PEDEN family.

The guest speaker has always shown a keen interest in District affairs. He was secretary of the PROGRESS ASSOCIATION for a number of years, and served as a Glenelg Shire Councilor from 1971 to 1977. He was Shire President in 1974. Local issues that have particularly interested Mr TIBBLES include the provision of a better water supply to the town, improving the quality of television reception, the planting of pine plantations, the retention of the Casterton-Branxholme railway line and the formation of a weir on the Glenelg River at Casterton to name but a few.


June 20th 1990

Jean BLACK addressed the meeting on the life and times of Rev F T C RUSSELL. She largely read from notes researched by Fr Terry FITZSIMONS, formerly of Casterton.

Prior to 1850, the entire are from Portland to Edenhope and from the border right past the Hamilton and Glenthompson area, was ministered by one Anglican Minister Rev WILSON, based in Portland. He came there in 1842. The bishop of Melbourne eventually sent CUSACK-RUSSELL and Peter BEAMISH who was based in Warrnambool to assist. CUSACK-RUSSELL married Margaret SMITHSON at Dublin in February 1847, intending to emigrate to Australia by Easter of that year. He was aged 25. Initially landing a Sydney, CUSACK-RUSSELL became involved in disputes of a church political nature, leading to his temporary suspension from church duties.

He subsequently relocated himself in Melbourne, where in early 1850, the Bishop of Melbourne gave commissions to both himself and BEAMISH to the Western District of Victoria. CUSACK-RUSSELL continued an energetic ministry based at the WANNON as a deacon until he became a priest on 27th May 1856. He conducted services wherever and whenever they were required and generally traveled throughout a large area, much as Rev WILSON before him had done. Following a stroke. Parishioners in the WANNON and GLENELG districts collected 1000 pounds to send him and his wife to England for a rest. He was away for some 18 months. On his way back to take up his calling in the area he suffered a further fatal stroke and died at sea.


July 18th 1990

Mr Terry DAVIDSON was born at "Elm Cottage" Grange Rd, Ashton on the Mersey, County of Cheshire England in 1907. He came to Australia with his sister and mother around 1913 and soon afterwards came to WANDO VALE. In 1914 he left for Sydney and later Melbourne, where he completed his schooling at Wesley College. After leaving school Terry took up employment as a process engraver. He pursued this line of work for about 18 months before finally returning to WANDO VALE around 1920.

Upon returning to this area, the guest speaker tried his hand at a wide range of jobs including shearing, work in a gravel quarry, general farm work, and cream and screenings cartage. For recreation, Mr DAVIDSON actively pursued an interest in football, where played for Coleraine and Wando Vale. He played in his only premiership team at HILGAY. He has also played cricket at Wando Vale, although he seemed reluctant to divulge his batting average.

In 1935, Terry took up his block at WANDO VALE, and started dairy farming, where he hand milked some 20 cows each day. The guest speaker intimated that this in no small way influenced his decision to get married the following year.

Terry recently wrote an excellent booklet entitled " The History of Wando Vale and Wando Bridge" which was released to coincide with the recent celebrations at that place. According to the guest speaker, the events throughout the booklet are basically arranged in chronological order, beginning with Major MITCHELL’s expedition through the area in August 1834. Mr DAVIDSON readily admitted, without provocation, that he has long enjoyed an intense interest in the Major’s journey through Australia Felix, and as a consequence has accumulated an abnormal wealth of material relating to same.

WANDO VALE was subdivided into 66 blocks in 1990 and of the original settlers, 120 were children. As a result, education was one of the initial concerns. The men’s hut at the WANDO VALE STATION served as a schoolroom for the initial two years of the settlement, until the WANDO VALE HALL was built in 1903. In 1907 the official school was opened, with a Mr ROGERS serving as the first pedagogue. The guest speaker went on to relate the intimate details of several pranks that were perpetrated upon unfortunate WANDO VALE teachers over the years, although according to Mr DAVIDSON he was never a party to the events.


August 21, 1990

Mrs KOCH, guest speaker, about the Casterton Baby Health Centre. On July 18th 1935 a meeting was convened by the Casterton Branch of the CWA for the purpose of forming a baby health centre in Casterton. Mr John LITTLE, the Shire President of the day, convened the meeting in the presence of 23 ladies. The baby Health Centre was originally situated at the rear of what is now the RSL Rooms, but then was the Shire Chambers. A Sister TALBOT, resident of Mt Gambier, traveled across to Casterton one day per week to carry on the health centre. The original baby health centre committee members were Mesdames G R PATTERSON, E CROZIER, C E SINSON, W S EDGAR, L T KOCH, E STARK, R G TAIT, E NIXON, M DAVIS, S J FRY, J W McINTYRE, P Q PINNELL, A W CORNEY, L RIGMAN, R MORRIS, A MATHESON, L STRAWHORN. Mrs L T KOCH was elected President, Mrs CORNEY and Mrs NIXON – vice presidents, Mrs TAIT – treasurer, Mrs McKINNON – secretary. The opening day of the baby health centre was 7th August, 1935 at RSL Rooms The average attendance for the first 12 months was 16 babies each day. In late 1937, the baby health centre moved the RSL Rooms to a new site in Clarke Street. In February 1951, the health centre was relocated to a site in Jackson Street, where the youth club hall is now, owing to the decision to build public toilets on the health centre site. The present Baby Health Centre and Kindergarten was declared open by Dr MEREDITH on 17th July, 1956 after Mrs Keith EDGAR had previously laid the foundation stone.


October 17th 1990

The guest speaker was Mr Jim KELLY of Muntham whose grandmother (on his fathers side) was Margaret WELSH. She was actually born in London and was aged 19 when she came to Australia. Her Grandparents were John and Margaret (nee HEENAN). They arrived in Australia with three bachelor sons, Tom, James and Michael in the early 1860s and settled in the Muntham area. Another brother, John, remained behind in Galbally, Ireland, although he also later emigrated to Australia. Other well known local families who settled in the vicinity around that time included the HEENANS and FITZGERALDS. It is believed that John and Margaret WELSH died during the 1870s. Their son Tom died in 1886. In the meantime his brother John had arrived from Ireland and also settled in the Muntham area, eventually completing a family of ten children. John died in 1918, his wife predeceasing him by some 15 years. Mr KELLY’s grandmother was a daughter of the John WELSH who died in 1918. Of that family of ten, only two married although it is believed that another two went into the Convent. She married James KELLY, who came from Kildare Ireland in October 1886. The WELSHs were basically quiet people who engaged in general faming pursuits and later were widely known for the quality of their bullocks.


November 22nd 1990

Mrs Faye KELLY spoke on the FLACK family. It is believed that the name FLACK or FLECK is of Scottish origin although the name is common in Northern Ireland. John FLACK was transported to Tasmania at the age of 14 years, having been born in 1806 at Newmarket in Suffolk England. His father was a soldier with the 63rd Foot Regiment.

John was convicted for house breaking in 1820 and sentenced to 14 years transportation to Tasmania. After spending 5 months on a prison hulk, he was duly transported arriving at Hobart near the end of 1820. He was married on November 11, 1841 in Melbourne to Elizabeth YOUNG, who had been born in Germany. Elizabeth and John subsequently produced 10 children comprising 7 boys and 3 girls born around the Geelong – Mortlake area. Eventually John and Elizabeth settled in the Harrow District.

John died at his son’s residence at PINE HILLS on 24th October 1885 at the age of 78. He and his wife lie buried at the Harrow Cemetery. Information about the children:

John and Elizabeth’s eldest son (also called John) was the guest speaker’s great grandfather.

Elizabeth married William NEAVES and had 14 children. There were 3 sons (Arthur, Walter and Alfred) and 5 daughters who married. Names in this area that have descended from this line include McNICOL, McLEAN, McCOMBE, MORISSEY, GILLIES and DEHNERT.

Mary Ann – Not much known about her.

Philip married Sarah CARMICHAEL and they had 10 children.

Henry married Alice LLOYD and had 8 children. They eventually settled at Narrabri, NSW.

Charlotte married Thomas KELLY.

William Noah married Mary CASS. They had one son and resided in the Chetwynd area.

James married Sarah Ann BROOKSBY at Harrow. They had 11 children and resided in the Chetwynd area before moving to the CLEAR LAKE district and later closer to HORSHAM.

Charles married Mary Ann MITCHELL. They had 7 children and both are buried at GOROKE.

Joseph married Mary HOWELL in Casterton. They had 6 children and lived in the Harrow area. Descendants include Boy HOWLETT, Molly and Eli UPTON.


March 20th 1991

Mrs Ruth RIVETT spoke about research regarding her great great grandparents Frances and Elijah EASTICK. Elijah EASTICK was born in Norfolk England about 1825 being the eldest son of John and Ann Marie EASTICK. His father was a bootmaker by trade, Frances was the daughter of Aaron and Lavina SEWELL, being born around 1824 also in Norfolk England. Elijah and Frances were married in 1845 at Norfolk, at which time Elijah gave his trade as confectioner. Their first child also called Frances was born in 1849, followed by the birth of Lavina Ann in 1852 at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. ( Lavina being the guest speakers great grandmother.)

The EASTICK family emigrated to Australia, sailing from Gravesend on 3rd July, 1852 on board the ship "HELEN" together with some 296 other assisted emigrants. Also aboard was Frances sixteen year old sister, Mary Elizabeth SEWELL.

Tragedy first struck the family when their two year old daughter Frances died of croup and was buried at sea. During the trip to Australia, some thirty deaths occurred on board, mostly among children, with measles accounting for a large proportion of the deaths. The HELEN arrived at Portland on November 12th 1852.

Elijah and Frances EASTICK were engaged by the Scotsman Alex LAURIE at the rate of 200 pounds per year. Alex LAURIE was the first Presbyterian minister in Portland, arriving there in 1842. In 1846, he started up publication of the Portland Herald and was its first editor. Hence when the EASTICK’s came into his employment in 1852 he was no longer directly involved in the Church.

In 1854, Elijah and Frances bore their third child also a girl who they names Elizabeth Frances. Further daughters were subsequently born in 1857 (Anne Mariah) and 1859 (Selina). From the mid 1850s, Elijah found employment as a baker in Portland. In 1862 the EASTICK family had moved north to Merino, where a sixth daughter (Jemima) was born. On July 9th 1863, Anne Mariah who was only six years old died of diphtheria and was buried at the Merino cemetery. The following month, tragedy again struck when four year old Selina also succumbed.

In 1864, the EASTICKS last child was born a daughter whom they named Mariah Selina.

The following advertisement appeared in the Coleraine Albion in February 22nd 1868.

E EASTICK – Bread and Fancy Buscuit maker, Pastry cook and confectioner. Gingerbeer, Lemonade and Cordial Manufacturer. Grocery and General Dealer of Merino. Plain and Ornamental Bride cakes to order. All picnics, dinners, suppers, parties attended on shortest notice. Funerals furnished. Registration Office for births, deaths etc in the Merino district.

Elijah EASTICK’s bakery at Merino was demolished in 1935 being replaced at that time by WISHARTS store (this store is now occupied by the Town and Country Deli and Jim OBRIENS Newsagency).

Elijah’s wife Frances died on January 7th 1871 at Merino of typhoid fever. Lavina EASTICK married Christopher COULSON on 20th March 1872 at Merino Church of England. Around 1873, Elijah moved to Sandhurst (Bendigo) where he continued in his trade as a baker. In 1875, Elijah’s third daughter Elizabeth Frances married John BRYCE at Sandhurst and in 1881, Elijah himself married for the second time. His bride was Harriet Helen REYNOLDS and they were married at Elijah’s home in Sandhurst.

By 1885, Elijah and Harriet had moved to Melbourne, residing at Fitzroy. In 1885, Elijah’s two remaining single daughters were wed.

Tragedy again struck Elijah when his second wife, Harriet, died on 8th June 1886. They were residing in Richmond at this time. Soon after, and at 62 years of age, Elijah married for the third time. At this time his occupation was listed as an insurance agent. On May 2nd 1888 Elijah committed suicide. He drowned himself in the Yarra River at Richmond.


April 17th 1991

Guest speaker Mr W ELIJAH

The guest speaker’s paternal grandfather emigrated from Wales, and the derivation of the name ELIJAH has passed mystery over the years, since the Welsh alphabet does not include all the letters in the name. In addition a cousin of the guest speaker who visited Wales some years ago, could not find the surname listed. It is now believed that the Welsh version of the name was "anglicized" at the time of emigration to ELIJAH as this was commonly the case. Apart from that, the guest speaker was able to claim to be truly British, since his 4 grandparents were respectively English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish.

Mr ELIJAH’s Welsh grandfather was raised on a farm in Wales prior to running away to join a ships crew. He eventually left the sailing profession at Geelong, from which he departed to the goldfields of Victoria. Not making his fortune at this endeavor, he found employment with COBB and CO, before opening his own stables at Hamilton in Thomson Street. From these premises, Richard ELIJAH ran coaches to Edenhope , Mt Gambier and other destinations. As a consequence of the movements mentioned above, the guest speaker grew up in Hamilton. He left school in the middle of the great depression in 1933. He spoke of the occasional visits that he made to Casterton during the 1930’s and of the poor state of the roads.

Bill’s brother, Norman was employed by T H LAIDLAW and CO, who were Hamilton Stock and Station Agents. When they opened a Casterton agency in the 1920s he was employed in a clerical capacity. When the Casterton branch closed around the depression years, Norman remained in the town a s an accountant. He lived here until around 1956.

The guest speaker recalled various occasions when he visited Casterton in the 30’s such as a weeks holiday here arranged by his brother, a cricket match conducted at Island Park and various events associated with the Presbyterian Church.

On April 1 1946 he opened his sop in Casterton and he recalled the flood waters on that date lapping around the building. He recalled the difficulties involved in purchasing stock for the business due to shortages caused by the war.


August 21st 1991

Guest speaker, Mrs Maisie McLEAN.

The BROWNINGSs first arrived in Australia some 14 years after the HENTYs, when during the late 1840s the Scottish born John BROWNING, disembarked at Portland to act as that town’s Presbyterian minister. John, who was aged 28 or so at the time, brought with him his wife Janet.

He left four brothers behind in Scotland, His brothers were also well educated gentlemen, Archibald a solicitor, Hugh a violinist and conductor, James a merchant and a fourth brother who was a teacher. James later came out to Portland apparently following his brother John.

John BROWNING, who himself was a well educated man, left the clergy and established a private school at Portland, on the site now occupied by the Christian Community College. John BROWNING called his first school the Portland Classical, Commercial and Mathematical Institution.

After conducting the school at this site for a number of years, he later moved out to Trangmar Street, West Portland, where he built a larger school, which was also functioned as a boarding school. The day pupil’s fees were $20.00 per annum whilst the boarders fees were some $80.00 per annum. John BROWNING did the teaching and the school became known as BROWNING’s SCHOOL.

The school house itself was a ten roomed bluestone building with a large schoolroom. The guest speaker does not know when BROWNING’s SCHOOL closed, although she knows that Mrs BROWNING lived there until she died in 1910, her husband predeceasing her in 1891 aged 70. A Mr MIBUS later bought the property where he lived with his family for at least a generation. The building was subsequently demolished after a good deal of local controversy.

James BROWNING was a merchant, who married Mary Stewart McCONNELL in Scotland. They also emigrated to Portland in the early days of that town, Unfortunately, James wife died five days after the birth of their second child. Some three years later, James remarried although he too died at a young age of 37. The guest speaker was married to one of James’ grandsons


February 19th 1992

Guest speaker Mrs Judy BOTTERILL.

Richard Brown BROUGHTON was born in 1805 in Stockland Devon and married Thomasin PURSE of Branxcomb Devon in 1830. These were both well known sheep farming areas of Devon. Together with their young family, they arrived in Australia on August 28th 1841 on the ship "WILLIAM METCALF" as assisted immigrants. Richard was aged 35 and gave his occupation as Shepherd. His wife, Thomasin was also aged 35 and their children who made the voyage were John aged 12, Edmund aged 9 and Caroline aged 2. The assisted immigrant scheme required that the new arrivals sign on for two years work to pay for the passage out. A further daughter, Elizabeth, was born at MUDDY CREEK, Goulburn River near Kilmore in 1842. Richard BROUGHTON later worked as an overseer for John PEARSON at RETREAT STATION near Casterton and with Alexander DONALDSON of LONGLANDS on Salt Kales in 1847 prior to the acquisition of his own run. The last child George Alfred BROUGHTON was born on 9th October 1847 at UPPER GLENELG (Harrow).

In March 1848 Richard BROUGHTON applied for the license of the MOOREA CATHKIN run (23,000 acres south of Kaniva) but was refused although the family was living there by 1850. In 1849, he rented BALLAROOK STATION from George URQUHART. In 1855 Richard BROUGHTON leased KOUT NARIN STATION, Harrow (of some 12,700 acres) where he subsequently built the homestead and woolshed. He lived there until his death in 1882.

Tragedy struck the family soon after their removal to KOUT NARIN when the second son, Edmund ( known as Ned) aged 23 was killed in 1854. He was reputed to have been the first burial at the Harrow Cemetery, although other information seems to dispute this. It is probable that the body was reburied in the Harrow cemetery a number of years after his death, to join other family members therein.

In 1855, the eldest son John married Jessie AFFLECK and the couple took up residence at LEMON SPRINGS, GOROKE. This property was some 28,000 acres in size.

Descendents of Richard Brown BROUGHTON are closely associated with a large number of properties in this district and the Wimmera including KOUT NARIN, PLEASANT BANKS, WANDO, THE WILDERNESS, TOOLONG, LAKE WALLACE SOUTH and BALLAROOK.


April 15th 1992

Guest speaker Mrs Beth WHITE.

The guest speakers association with the WHITES is through her husband Max, whose father, Jack WHITE was born at Casterton on 17th September 1906, His parents were in turn George Fordrey WHITE and Rose PEDEN. George and Rose retired to Portland about 1932 at a house in Percy Street called ROSEBRAE. George F WHITE was the eighth of nine children of James Henry WHITE and Ellen McNEIL. Siblings of George Fordrey WHITE included John James b 1857 a great grandfather of the present Peter WHITE, James b 1863, Frank b 1860, Marjery Catherine b 1879 and Ellen WHITE. Ellen married James Victor HURLEY of Casterton.

James PEDEN and his mother Fanny arrived in Casterton in the early 1860s. James stepfather, James DYER, was a labourer, whose initials are engraved in a limestone block in the Wando Vale homestead woolshed. James PEDEN opened a general store in Henty Street in 1867 thereby starting a long family tradition that is still evident today.

The McNEIL name has been carried on through the WHITE family for several generations.


August 19th 1992

Guest speakers Ross and Ros ASTBURY.

William Daniel ASTBURY came out to Australia from England by assisted passage and arrived at Melbourne on November 17th 1849. He had married his wife Elizabeth at St Michaels Church Stone on 2/3/1829 and came with his wife Elizabeth and their six children Mary aged 20, James aged 17 Elizabeth 15, Daniel 9, Edward 5 and Stephen Thomas 6 months. Shipping records revealed that William Daniel was aged 42 years and his wife Elizabeth had her occupation listed as housekeeper and governess and they were both literate.

Their first employment after their arrival in Melbourne was managing the Mitre Tavern, a building which is still standing. Around 1858 William and Elizabeth moved to Talbot with their sons Daniel and Stephen. Another son, Edward was already there where he had been working in a mine for the previous two years. The ASTBURYS established a home at Talbot but would periodically visit their son James at Dergholm.

William Daniel eventually procured a job as a gardener at ROSENEATH HOMESTEAD where he eventually died on 17/7/1875 and was buried beside the Glenelg River in what was until recently an unmarked grave.

William Brennan ASTBURY a descendant from James Line was Ross ASTBURY’s grandfather. He resided at the family home "Riverview" on the banks of the Glenelg River. Alan ASTBURY now occupies this property.


September 16th 1992

Guest Speakers Mrs Nancy EDWARDS nee BRYAN and her sister Molly.

Mrs EDWARD’s father, James Richmond BRYAN, was born at Maryborough both of his parents were Scottish. He was born in 1889 and first went to work at Maldon in 1904. In 1908 he went to work at Port Fairy and later at Corryong, Natimuk, Brim and Penshurst. He obtained excellent references from these towns. He met his future wife, Euphemia at Penshurst in 1911 and they were married the following year. They came to Casterton from Penshurst in 1916 where they opened a drapery store in Henty Street opposite the Albion Hotel. The BRYANs initially lived at the top of Henty Street near the war memorial – Apex Park was named BRYAN PARK after Mrs BRYAN.

The BRYANS later purchased a house in Jackson Street. The BRYANS were staunch Presbyterians – Jim BRYAN was on the Board of Management for many years and was very active in all areas of church life.


October 17th 1992

Guest Speaker Mr Don HUTCHESSON whose great great grandfather and grandmother reared 6 children – Mary, John, Christian, George, Jeanie and David. All were born between 1816 and 1822. Dons great grandfather John and his brother George were the first of the family to emigrate to Australia arriving at Tasmania in 1844. John later married Ann ROBERTSON, sister of George ROBERTSON of "WARROCK" – Ann was probably John’s second cousin.

David HUTCHESSON came out to Australia in 1846 and together with brothers George and John formed a firm they called HUTCHESSON BROTHERS. The HENTYs vacated the license to RUNNYMEDE in March 1846 and the license was subsequently taken up by HUTCHESSON BROTHERS. Much of the leasehold was poor, scrubby land and only carried a relatively small number of sheep.

In 1854, John HUTCHESSON built the first flour mill in Hamilton – a three story bluestone Mill, with the stones steam driven. His wife Ann died in 1856 and soon afterwards he married his housekeeper, Mary McDONALD. During the subsequent 9 years the couple produced 5 children. They were named David George, James Charles, William Robert, (the guest speaker’s grandfather) John and Isabella "John".

John died in March 1870 disemboweled by a horse. In the same year, his younger brother David suicided by slashing his throat with a pocketknife after being brought home to RUNNYMEDE from the GLENELG INN in an intoxicated condition.

In 1872, the HUTCHESSONS took up land near SANDFORD. They name the property "MOREDUN HILL" and built the first homestead there. The property name was named after an area in Perthshire, Scotland from which the HUTCHESSONS originated. Before long, members of the family moved out to Carapook and took up "OAKLANDS"(it was covered with she-oaks). The property is now called "KARUMA"

Other descendants of the guest speaker’s great grandparents that still reside in the area include MURRAYS, DAVIS, STOCKS, ROBERTSON and PATTERSONS.


February 17, 1993

Guest Speaker Mrs Lorna GIBBS who has recently compiled a booklet dealing with the history of the McNICOL sub division at Carapook. Both Lorna and her husband, Len are themselves the children of soldier settlers whose parents acquired blocks following WW1 and are therefore very familiar with the Scheme. She suggested that many soldiers settled after the Great War failed for a variety of reasons – infertile blocks, depression, drought, poor selection of settlers and insurmountable debt problems being the most common factors involved.

Following WW2, the RSL lobbied for an extension of the Soldier Settlement Schemes and a fairer deal for settlers – the RSL insisted that returned soldiers from the First War with suitable experience be appointed to the selection panels on the Soldier Settlement Board. The Soldier Settlement Commission subsequently toured Victoria buying both private and public land for soldier settlement purposes. The first blocks of land for settlement were advertised from around 1847. Prospective returned soldiers were required to gain approval as to their suitability to acquire a block by satisfying selection panels as to their farming and managerial capabilities. Settlement blocks were advertised in both Melbourne and local newspapers on a weekly basis.

Part of the "PHOINES" Estate nearer Carapook including what was well known as the "MUNTHAM" fattening paddock and known as McNICOLS ESTATE was purchased by the Soldier Settlement Commission in 1956 and was make available for settlement in 18 blocks ranging from 150-200 acres each for dairying.

Subdivision Number One of the above area is situated around the "PHOINES" HOMESTEAD. This area was originally part of Edward HENTY’s "MUNTHAM" leasehold, and dates back to the 1830s. It is believed that the McPHERSON family was the first actual owners of "PHOINES". Their period of ownership extended from the late 1870s to around 1905. Joan and Margaret McNICOL are his remaining family. Mr LYONS gained possession of PHOINES in 1956 who after a short period of ownership sold the property to the EDGE family.

Subdivision Number Two extends from the foot of the MUNTHAM HILL. This land includes part of an early subdivision scheme dating from 1902. Duncan McNICOL gradually acquired the majority of these blocks from the 1930s hence the eventual reference to this area as McNICOL’s ESTATE.

The guest speaker’s husband initially applied for a Solder Settlement block in 1947 but did not succeeded. In 1857 his application for a block in McNICOL’s ESTATE (subdivision Number 2) was approved – he also grained his preferred block within the subdivision. Lorna and her family have never regretted taking up land on McNICOL’s ESTATE although she feels that the one error make by the Soldier Settlement Commission was that it cut up the blocks too small. This has made it financially difficult for many settlers and indeed some settlers had left their blocks by 1965.


April 21st 1992

Mr Jack GORMAN spoke briefly on the District early soldiers.

George UPTON, who died in 1925 aged 93 served as a sailor in the Crimean War and Robert GRANT also fought at this battle. Duncan, Tom and Jim STOCK (then resident at CAMMAW) were the first locals to enlist in the BOER WAR although Jim was rejected on medical grounds.

Mrs Faye KELLY then read an account of the BOER WAR MONUMENT that until 1937 was situated in Henty Street in front of the Mechanics Institute (now the site of the Town Hall). This monument presented by District residents in honour of locals who attended the BOER WAR, has long since been relocated to the War Memorial site near the hospital.


March 16th 1994

Guest Speaker Mr Jim SHRAPNEL, who initially came to Casterton whilst researching his family name. An ancestor of his, General Henry SHRAPNEL (1760 – 1842) became Britain’s Director of Artillery and was responsible for inventing the exploding shell (shrapnel). On a holiday trip to Perth some years ago, the guest speaker called into Sandford to investigate the birth there on January 6 1871 of Esther Winifred SHRAPNEL. He eventually purchased a house in Casterton and land at Lake Mundi. The guest speaker eventually determined that Esther was a daughter of Dr Joseph NEEDHAM and is distantly related to him. He has researched back to 1605 to 3 brothers who moved from France to England possibly to escape persecution. From these 3 brothers have evolved all of the SHRAPNELs known to the guest speaker. It is possible that the name SHRAPNEL may have derived from the French for "Charcoal burner".

Dr Joseph SHRAPNEL arrived in Melbourne aboard the "Beaumaris Castle" around 1870. He arrived in Sandford in 1871 and established a medical practice, probably in the house he purchased from Patrick CASEY near the State School. A reference in the Hamilton Spectator June 28, 1871 to an inquest conducted by Dr SHRAPNEL is one of the few local references to him so far unearthed by the guest speaker. Another reference in Dr Ernest Sandford JACKSON diaries mentions the purchase of 2 horses.

Dr SCHRAPNEL and his family departed Sandford for Melbourne near the end of 1871. The guest speaker related the unfortunate story of Dr SHRAPNEL’s first wife and 5 children that he had abandoned in England prior to 1871 and that abandoned families subsequent emigration to Australia. After leaving Melbourne, Dr SHRAPNEL moved first to Ballan and then Brisbane via Jerilderie where he died in 1881.


June 15th 1994

Guest Speaker Mr R CHAFFEY.

The CHAFFEY family in England dates back to at least the 13th Century. They lived around Membrey in Devon. In the first half of last century about the time the George CHAFFEY came to Australia two of Georges uncles migrated to Canada where they operated as civil and construction engineers. Two of their children later came to Mildura and with Government help constructed the irrigation system there.

George CHAFFEY son of John and Sarah TRENCHARD was born in Membrey Devon in 1817. There appear to be no existing records to indicate other siblings. It isn’t known when George came to Australia but he appeared in the late 1840s as co-owner of a store in Harrow (Upper Glenelg). He came to Casterton in early 1850s purchasing the Glenelg Inn from James KIRBY. The Harrow store known as the Hermitage Store and co – owned with a Mr DAVIES was purchased from Messrs SWANSTON WILLIS and CO and opened March 1 1851. DAVIES continued the store until his death in January 1857.

George married Phillip LARK at Portland in October 10 1857. She was governess to children of Portland harbormaster. She originated from Kelly Devon. The main event of significance during George’s residence at the Glenelg Inn was the murder of Robert and Mary HUNT and the subsequent conviction of George WAINES for their murder.

George and Phillipa produced 4 sons – Walter Charles (died at 13 months of age) Edwin, Robert and George (the guest speaker’s grandfather). George CHAFFEY SNR died 21 September 1863 aged 46 years. He died of cancer. Just prior to his death on 20th August, 1863, George sold the Glenelg Inn to HENTY LEARMONTH AND CO for 3000 pounds to help repay a debt he owed then. He subsequently leased the Inn from the company for some 250 pounds per annum for a 5 year term. After his death, his widow Phillipa continued to conduct the Glenelg Inn as well as raise four young children. On May 1 1867, Phillipa remarried to Edward C COURTIS (aged 35 years). Edward was previously George’s solicitor. He also conducted the Glenelg Store – part of the Glenelg Inn establishment. He died 25/7/1902.

After their marriage, Edward and Phillipa went to live at WOODLANDS. She died on 17/5/1904 and was buried with her first husband George and her youngest son at the Old Cemetery.


September 21st 1994

Guest speaker Mrs Eileen TIERNEY

Mrs TIERNEY spoke of early recollections of her mother about the Indian Hawkers, before the turn of the century. He grandfather owned the Commercial Hotel in Hamilton that was diagonally opposite the Melville Oval. This oval was known as "Market Square" or "Billy Goat Hill" and it was here that the Indian Hawkers would come to get their licenses. They congregated here and drank wine until they were at the stage where they wanted to fight – this they did with sticks. Eileen’s mother could recall running up the stairs in the hotel and watching from the balcony. Lucca SINGH, along with Kaseta SINGH, Karem SINGH, Kisin SINGH and many other Indian and Chinese Hawkers who go unnamed, camped there.

In the early years when Eileen’s grandparents sold the Hotel and moved to Balmoral, her mother could remember the Hawkers walking about the countryside with a swag on their back. Lucca had a horse drawn van pulled by two black horses, and a side that dropped down and formed a counter. He carried everything imaginable from materials, mouth organs, needles and cotton, work clothes, socks, utensils and boots, to name but a few. When he camped at Eileen’s place, he always insisted on cooking the dinner at night – this consisted of curried chicken and Johnny cakes. As soon as Lucca was spotted coming up the driveway, Eileen’s father would run out and kill a fowl for him to cook. He also used to camp at CUYUAC (EDGARS) along with MULGA FRED and their Chinese gardener. Eileen’s father called it the "League of Nations".

Lucca loved cards and would insist on playing with Eileen’s family until he won –no matter how late it was and as soon as he won it was time for bed. He had 2 long plaits which reached the ground and as soon as he put his turban on, he twisted them into the turban. Eileen then read from the Shire of Glenelg Centenary Book about Lucca dying in the Casterton Hospital and being cremated – his ashes were then scattered on the Glenelg River at Moree.


October 19th 1994

Guest Speaker Mr Kevin STARK.

In 1839, a party traveling from Melbourne to Adelaide via horse passed through the Lake Mundi area. An Englishman amongst the party, a Captain Mundi, described how the party came across a broad expanse of fresh water, abundant with bird life. A friend later suggested that he name this lake after himself. Several years later two licenses to depasture sheep were issued for the general area. These runs were named HEATHFIELD and NANGWARY [sic NANGWARRY] (or KILBRIDE as it was known in those days). In 1847, Charles THOMAS was granted the HEATHFIELD license – the station covered some 55,000 acres. From 1848 to 1868, Hugh McEACHERN and sons occupied the run. They shore thousands of sheep and kept 2 sheep washes. However towards the end of their occupancy their sheep suffered badly from footrot and liver fluke, significantly contributing to their eventual bankruptcy. The remains of one of the McEACHERN antiqued wool presses can still be seen in the area. Other occupiers of HEATHFIELD included: 1868-1877 – Samuel Pickens LORD, CROAKER and SCOTT, 1877 – Bank of Victoria (WATTEN as manager), 1881 – Ambrose WALTERS followed by his son Fred WALTERS who retained it until 1922, although part of this time they leased it from Tom KERR, 1922 – Colin CAMERON of Dunan, then Bert TUCKER and sons until 1934.

In 1934, guest speaker’s father took possession. By this stage the property had been reduced to some 3000 acres.

The guest speaker then went on to discuss the history of the NANGWARY [sic] run.

The first license was issued to Charles Farquhar MCKINNON in 1845 and sometime before 1857 he was joined by Andrew WATSON. In 1857, Andrew WATSON took sole control of the property. Soon after the license was transferred to Robert GARDINER and his son Abraham, who retained possession for many years. Adam Lindsay GORDON broke horses for a while during the early years at NANGWARY [sic].

Many early Lake Mundi district selectors actually worked at NANGWARY [sic] in order to gain sufficient income to retain their selections. Many of these selectors had come from around Penola. Kevin’s grandfather, James STARK, arrived in the district in 1867 having previously landed at Portland in 1856, before making his way to Penola. He had 4 sons and 4 daughters. His wife died whilst giving birth to the 8th child. James later remarried to a Penola widow. The couple produced 2 sons and the youngest of whom later became the guestspeaker’s father.

Other early Lake Mundi selectors referred to by the guest speaker included Duncan BOYLE, George McCALMAN, Thomas SHANKS, Andrew McALPINE, ASHBY, SEEDS, HANSEN, Sandy and Fred McDONALD, Jack HODGE, Patrick McCARTHY (who was blind), James and George DAVIDSON, George and Fred McCALLUM, Harry GILDING, Zachariah NEALL and Mrs McGANN [sic MAGAN] (previously Mrs MCLOON). Thomas MUST was the first settler at ARGYLE.

Miss Bella GLADSTONE was the first teacher at the Lake Mundi School and another teacher James TOOHEY later selected land in the area. From 1910-1914, the guest speaker’s mother (then Miss CAREY) taught at the school. Another early resident, a Miss CAMERON (later Mrs McDONALD) was a friend of Sister McKILLOP.


November 17th 1994

Guest Speaker Mr Roly COOPER

Roly was born in Merino in 1919. He was christened Roland McLeary COOPER and over the years he has experienced many difficulties with official documentation (such as Driving Licenses, tax records, birth records, continually referring to him as Ronald.

Merino was a thriving little community in the 30s when Roly attended school there, with 4 grocers, 2 hotels, 2 tearooms, 1 baker, a bootmaker, 2 paper shops, a hairdresser and 2 fruit shops as well as 2 blacksmiths, 2 auctioneers and a bank.

The guest speaker resided with his family on a farm on GLENORCHY ESTATE, his father later became manager of T H LAIDLAW (auctioneer) in Merino. The family farm was about 3 miles from Merino on the railway line and being on the lower side of GLENORCHY, the guest speaker attended school at Merino, rather than the one at Glenorchy. Roly related several amusing events related to the difficulties experienced by trains when negotiating the rise near their farm. He remembers the Railways running a special train in 1938 to take the crowds from Merino Station to a football final at Sandford. In addition, special trains were often run from Casterton in summer to the beach at Portland. WURTHS CIRCUS also used to travel to local towns by train.

Laurie ICKE, who hailed from Merino, played League football with North Melbourne for many years and he and his brother Laure were contemporaries of the guest speaker. Roly also mentioned Jack OUTRAM, a bullock wagon driver who hailed from Digby.

At the end of 1939, the guest speaker’s family moved to Casterton as his father took up a position with YOUNGHUSBANDS here. Roly soon began working on the milk cart at weekends with Olly ROBERTS and helping to break in horses when he had the opportunity. Olly ROBERTS was a former buckjump rider with THORPES traveling show, and he exercised a large influence over the guest speaker.

However he soon graduated from the horses to the motor bikes and became closely associated with the late Charlie MAY. Charlie won innumerable titles including Victorian and Australian titles – in fact the guest speaker and he were Australian Junior Sidecar champions in 1949.


April 19th 1995

Guest speaker Mr Michael GREENHAM who spoke about a 150 page book that he has written on 115 District men and women who served in the Great War.

Gallipoli – Albert JACKA of Casterton was in the 14th Battalion and was the first Australian to win a VC. The battalion was known as "Jackas Mob".

Gus GREENHAM was the first man to enlist in the Glenelg Shire and the first to die.

Local identities featured in the book – Fred HANDLEY, Fred BULL, Jack DOWLING, Gus GREENHAM, David GREENHAM, Tom LACEY, William BULL, Harry DIWELL, Jack McDONALD, Frank McNICOL, Dugald McPHERSON, Harold PESKETT, Dan RAGGET, Michael SULLIVAN and William SHAW.


July 19th, 1995

The guest speaker was Mrs Connie CASEY, who joined the Land Army in July, 1943. The Land Army was established in Australia during May, 1942 and during the war years rose to a strength of around 3500 volunteers with some 1500 of those being situated in Victoria. One of the main reasons for the Land Army’s establishment in Australia was the fact that early in the war, England could not get sufficient supplies of flax (which was used for webbing, uniforms etc) so it turned to Australia for its supply. However, there was insufficient rural labour to effect its production and hence the Land Army’s formation. An additional benefit rendered by the Land Army was the release of more rural men for war service. Members of the Australian Women’s Land Army were not permitted to march at ANZAC services until 1987 since it was never recognized as an arm of the services. The guest speaker was aged 17 when she joined the Land Army, she attempted to join the Navy but was too young.

Connie’s first appointment was to ROSENEATH, but she later worked on dairy farms at Maffra and Corryong where she performed general farm duties, fed cows, drove tractors, milked and cut crop. Land Army personnel were provided with basic working clothes, and not much else and were placed in a specific position after framers applied for help. The majority of Land Army members were situated at Lake Bolac, Kooweerup and in fruit picking around areas of Central Victoria. Other locals who were members of the Land Army included Mrs Bill BURRELL (Joyce) and Mrs Rolf WATERS (Ruby).


May 15th 1996

The guest speaker was Des MURPHY who spoke on the history of the development of radio communications for fire fighting purposes in the Casterton area.

In 1941, the late Walter GILL became concerned about the fire problem that existed in the Glenelg Shire and his efforts eventually resulted in the Glenelg Shire calling a public meeting of all local bush fire brigades with a view of forming a coordinated body. At this meeting the Casterton Group of Fire Brigades was formed. Councillor Herbert MITCHELL was elected chairman, Secretary Tom McBEAN, Organiser Walter GILL. By 1944 the local brigades were meeting regularly and working to solve common problems.

In 1945, the Country Fire Authority was formed and Bush Fire Brigades were renamed Rural Fire Brigades. The following office bearers were elected:

Group Officer – Sam BURSTON, First Deputy Group Officer – Walter GILL, Second Deputy Group Officer – Ken CARMICHAEL, Communications Officer – Norm CAMERSON, Secretary – Tom McBEAN.

The Group System worked very well. However, poor communications between the various local Fire Brigades remained a distinct weakness since they were compelled to rely on an inefficient telephone system. In 1953, a move was made to establish wireless communications within the group.

The Group eventually acquired a number of ex army wireless sets. The original base was established at NOSS, the home of Sam and Verna BURSTON. The original wireless set numbers were as follows – 1, Sam BURSTON, 2 Ken CARMICHAEL, 3 Merv JACKMAN and John GARDINER, 4 Dr CROZIER, 5 Ian McCOMBE, 6 Loy CAREY, 7 Norm CAMERON, 8 Tom McBEAN.

In 1955 the Wireless Group was extended and more wireless sets purchased. Additional set operators included Jack MURPHY, Jack GILMORE and Tom McBEAN., Jim FORD and Lance KILSBY. It was soon after this that it became technically possible to suitably operate a wireless in a mobile fire truck.

According to the guest speaker, the Country Fire Authority was initially totally against the Group System and the use of wireless, but later became amenable to the idea. The Group System that was designed in Casterton is now used in many other parts of the world.


June 19th 1996

The guest speaker Mr Alan UPTON whose great grandfather, George arrived in Adelaide in 1860 after having previously been engaged in the Crimean conflict. He arrived at Hamilton soon after. In 1879 he selected a block at WANDO VALE of some 58 acres where he farmed for some years before purchasing a nearby holding of 279 acres. He later bought 177 acres at RETREAT subdivision sale which he sold to Ray O’CONNELL many years later. He had a family of 3 boys and a girl. George applied for a block at the 1900 WANDO VALE subdivision and secured 104 acres adjacent to Mick O’CONELLS block. He stayed at WANDO VALE until 1908 after which time he purchased a nearby block. His family consisted of 3 boys and 2 girls. The guest speaker’s father was Henty UPTON, who acquired the nick name of "Pod" at an early age due to his inclination to arrive at the dairy during milking and to drink the warm milk. The guest speaker’s grandfather operated a threshing machine for many years before it was ultimately destroyed by fire. He indicated that the UPTON name had been traced back to Spain at the time of the Spanish Amada.



August 4th 1996

The guest speaker Mr Gus LANE who was born at Merino in 1929 and completed all of his schooling at Merino State School. He left school at age 14 and went to work at WISHART’s store. He also served as a lamplighter in the Merino town ship earning 35 shillings per week in this capacity – unfortunately for his income, the lamps were not lit on moonlight nights.


November 20th 1996

Guest speaker Mr Ken McEACHERN of BASSENDEON Strathdownie who spoke of the McEACHERN Family history – the original members came to Australia in 1942 from Scotland worked for General McARTHUR at Lightning Ridge , Yass before coming south. Owned many large stations in this district including SPRINGBANK when Glenelg Inn built. One member found Alexander McKINLAY’s body in Boiling Down Swamp also known as Mosquito Swamp, Strathdownie on land now owned by MIDWAY. McKINLAY was on his way home from BORDER INN, Lindsay where HARVEYS house now stands.

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Casterton & District Historical Society