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EDWARD WILSON: THE FISHERMAN'S FRIEND, THE SQUATTER'S FOE. TULLAMARINE AND NEWSPAPER PIONEER.

Journal by itellya

I am often prompted to write a journal by something I read in an old newspaper on trove. The spur for this journal was an article about fly-fishing on page 15 of the Sunday Herald Sun of 12-2-2012. I quote: 'Trout were introduced into Australia in 1834 by Edward Wilson, editor of the Argus newspaper,"to provide for manly sports, which will lead Australian youth to to seek their recreation on the river's bank and mountainside rather than in the cafe and casino."

Geoffrey Searle and K.B.Keeley would have been delighted with that bit of trivia but would have been quick to point out, as I now do, that Edward did not arrive in Australia until 1841. Keeley would probably have added that the importation would have been in 1854 when Wilson was enjoying the peacefulness of "Arundel" at Tullamarine.When he was retiring as editor of the Argus, he recommended 10 or 12 mile rides to his successor; this would be the distance from the Argus office to "Arundel" via Keilor and Bertram's ford. In his A.N.U. biography of Edward Wilson, Geoffrey Searle mentions that Wilson became a model gentleman farmer at Keilor but does not name the property or explain what model farm meant. He also gives little detail about James Stewart Johnston, Wilson's original partner in The Argus.

I will not give any detail about Wilson's life story because Searle covers it all.My focus is on local history. I will paste some information from K.B.Keeley's architectural thesis on Arundel, circa 1961 and from Tony Cockram, owner of Arundel Farm, circa 1990. Wilson's squatting and newspaper partner James Stewart Johnston established the Craiglee Winery, across Sunbury Rd from the Goonawarra Winery (established by Francis, a fellow politician) and just east of the Jacksons Creek crossing, (Melway 382 H5.) The bluestone building he had erected 1865-8is shown on the Victorian Heritage Database, Heritage overlay number H.O.58.

MODEL FARM. The description "model farm" could mean good fencing and buildings, the use of modern equipment or experimentation such as H.B.Slaney's trials with superphosphate on "The Ranch" at Moorooduc. In the early days, the term was used in conjunction with acclimatisation, a movement started in Victoria by Edward Wilson. I think I can remember one of the McCracken letters referring to the zoo as the Model Farm. No doubt, as pointed out by Keeley, Edward Wilson'a aims on Arundel were those listed on the website called VICTORIAN ACCLIMATISATION SOCIETY.

EXTRACT FROM "EARLY LANDOWNERS: PARISH OF TULLAMARINE".
SECTION 1, known in early days as the Glengyle Estate, went west from the most northerly point of Annandale Rd to the river. Its northern boundary is indicated by Localiser Rd (Melway 4 K10) and the southern boundary by a western extension of Sharps Rd, except that the farm originally known as Glengyle (Guthries) and Ellengowen (Bertrams)which became the blocks in Browns Rd were also in section 1.

SECTION 1. (ARUNDEL)
This was granted to Richard Hanmer Bunbury who obtained it by selection and paid 907 pounds, one pound per acre. Bunbury, after whom streets in Gladstone Park and Williamstown are named, became harbour master and chief of water police. Later owners were Colin Campbell (1843), Donald Cameron (1851), Edward Wilson (1853), Robert McDougall (1868) and Robert Taylor (1889). Wilson, Argus editor and a leader of the acclimatisation movement, had a virtual zoo on the model farm as well as importing crops to trial and breeding chinchilla rabbits. He sold Ellengowen (Browns Rd area) and Turners (south of the e-w section of McNabs Rd). McDougall was the expert regarding the Booth strain of shorthorn cattle but had only contempt for the Bates strain of which his western neighbour (in section 23 Doutta Galla), Henry Stevenson was a devotee.
In 1904 Arundel was resumed by the Crown and, in 1910, J.B.McArthur bought lots 21, 22, 3 and 4, a total of 291 acres 3 roods 25 perches. This included 112 ½ acres north of Wallaces Elm Grove as well as the homestead area enclosed by Arundel and McNabs Roads. Owner of Hosies hotel in the city, McArthur was Moonee Valley Racing Clubs first vice president from 1917 and, I believe, succeeded the first chairman, Alister Clark, following the latters death in 1949. He was also involved in the Oaklands Hunt Club which often enjoyed hospitality at Arundel farm. Other longtime Closer Settlement pioneers were Cock, Wallace, McFarlane, Fox, Hassed, Birch and Brown.
Later owners of Arundel Farm were: Arthur Wilson (1925), Frank Smith (1935), W.S.Robinson (1949) and W.W.Cockram (1962.) Robinson unfortunately remodelled the façade of McDougalls graceful 1872 homestead in 1950. (K.B.Keeleys architectural thesis C 1963 and Tony Cockrams notes re ownership.)

The two photos below are from K.B.Keeleys thesis. They show (a) the Arundel homestead in which Edward Wilson lived and (b) the homestead built for McDougall and shown during the ownership of J.B.McArthur, who often hosted Oakland Hunt Club members. See P.100 of The Oaklands Hunt by D.F.Cameron- Kennedy for a better view.
The photos could not be pasted but are in Keeley's thesis, a copy of which I put into the (safekeeping???) of the Hume Library when leaving Tullamarine.

One final point. Mornington's first motorised fire engine was provided by the EDWARD WILSON TRUST.

by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-02-13 22:17:15

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

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Comments

by janilye on 2012-02-14 04:44:16
by itellya on 2013-08-07 10:43:31

Edward Wilson was responsible for the Mornington Peninsula's first motorised ambulance, a trust he had set up helping to finance it. Cr Jack of the Shire of Flinders motivated the fund raising with willing volunteers in each town collecting for the much-needed ambulance that was garaged at Mornington. Cr Jack also gained the assistance of the three shires. Next time you go to the Old Shire Offices,hopefully the name on the plaque outside re the opening of this building will have much more meaning to you, as will that of Edward Wilson.

by itellya on 2013-08-26 04:17:15

Thought I should give a source for the above comment.

Peninsula Motor Ambulance
PRESENTATION OF WAGON AT
MORNINGTON
Cr. Jack's Efforts Reach Fruition.
In the presence of a representative gathering of Peninsula public bodies at the Mornington Shire Hall, on Friday afternoon last. Mr. F. Hansford, president of the Victorian Civil Ambulance, made the presentation to the Peninsula of a Ford ambulance wagon. The wagon has all the necessary inscriptions, also a first-aid -kit.It will be stationed at the Mornington fire station, and by any person ringing Mornington 126 or 13, immediate service will be guaranteed.
THE PRESENTATION.
In the absence of the Mornington Shire president, Cr. P. McArthur, who has been ill for some time, Cr.J. G. Barrett occupied the chair. Cr. Barrett commenced proceedings by saying that the motor wagon would be a great thing for the Peninsula, and he was pleased to note that such a number were present to take an interest in the service. He then introduced Mr. Hansford, who was well received. This gentleman spoke of the establishment of country ambulance services, which was only made practicable by the generosity of the Edward Wilson Trust, c/o "The Argus." etc.
(Peninsula Motor Ambulance PRESENTATION OF WAGON AT MORNINGTON Cr. Jack's Efforts Reach Fruition.
Frankston & Somerville Standard (Vic. : 1921 - 1939) Friday 16 October 1925 p 6 Article)

by itellya on 2013-10-23 19:21:12

Extract from my journal about FARMS NEAR TULLAMARINE. The source is given in that journal; this advertisement being one of several advertisements about properties near Tullamarine on just one newspaper page. Edward was soon to die and return to Melbourne in a box. The digitisation will be corrected in the above-mentioned journal.

ARUNDEL, EDWARD WILSON'S "MODEL" FARM.
FOR SALE, the following STOCK, .bred by Mr.
Edward Wilson, at his Experimental Farms, at
Kollor and Riddoll's Creek :
1 entire Spanish ass, three years old, over 13
hands
1 do Egyptian ass, thrco years old, 13 hands
1 do French ass, two years old, 13 hands
2 puie-bred Alderney bull calves, two months old
12 puro-brcd southdown rams, two and four
tooth, bred from stock purchased from tho late
Jonas Webb of England
Danubian and Toulouse geese, ice.
Silver grey or Chinchilla rabbits.
For particulars apply to
Mr. ANDERSON*, overseer, Aninilol, K

*James Anderson who later farmed James Wilson's Spring Farm after managing Arundel for Wilson is discussed in my journal 1888 GEOGRAPHY WITH THE MELBOURNE HUNT.


EDWARD WILSON.
Information about Edward Wilson and his model farm can be found in my journal about him. He was an editor/co-owner of The Argus and Tullamarine pioneer. He left money in a Trust* which supported Cr Jack's establishment of a motor ambulance service on the Mornington Peninsula. (See previous comments.)

*EXTRACTS FROM WILSON'S BIOGRAPHY IN AUSTRALIAN DICTIONARY OF BIOGRAPHY.In the late 1850s Wilson travelled widely among the Australasian colonies. His travel-jottings were published as Rambles at the Antipodes (Melbourne, 1859). His sight was now beginning to fail and in 1859-60 he visited England for advice, travelled on the Continent and served on the committee of the General Association for the Australian Colonies. In 1862 he again went to England; on the homeward voyage his sight deteriorated so badly that he returned immediately, and late in 1864 he had an operation for cataract; he regained good vision in one eye, but decided to remain in England close to the best medical aid. He lived at Addiscombe near Croydon, but in 1867 bought Hayes Place, Kent, the eighteenth-century home of the Pitts. Surrounded by nephews and nieces, he dispensed endless hospitality aided by a small army of servants; the amenities included a small zoo which contained emus, kangaroos and monkeys. Colonial visitors were always welcome; he was on close terms with the Darwins, Archbishop Tait, Edward Lear and Hugh Childers; children adored him.


After several heart attacks, Wilson died peacefully on 10 January 1878. His remains were taken to Melbourne and interred on 7 July according to the rites of the Church of England. He was unmarried. In his will he made twenty-six legacies of £100 a year to old female friends in the colonies, but the bulk of his estate was used to form the Edward Wilson Trust which since his death has distributed several million dollars to Victorian charities, especially hospitals. A bust by Thomas Woolner is in the State Library of Victoria.)

DISTRICT LICENSING BENCH.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Wednesday 21 April 1852 p 4 Article
... William Boucher, Gold Diggers Retreat, Deep Creek: Edward Wilson, the Lincolnshire Arms, from Mr Wright.

The above entry from Trove is puzzling in two ways. Was the Argus Editor juggling two jobs? Why would the pub be described as being at Deep Creek,when Tulip Wright had leased his Deep Creek or Bridge Inn (where Bulla's mail was left until 1851-see PETER YOUNG in my journal JOHN THOMAS SMITH AND HIS ELECTORS) to Donohue and built the Linc on its present site, corner of Keilor and Lincoln Rd at "Essendon Crossroads"? (BULLA BULLA, I.W.Symonds, P.8, THE ANNALS OF ESSENDON, R.W.Chalmers.)

The answer to the first question is that Wilson probably needed the second job to pay off loans; see the extract (in italics) from the editor's biography. There is no proof found yet that the editor was the short term publican; the publican may have been one of the editor's nephews. Later that year Johnston* persuaded him to buy the Argus from William Kerr for £300; Wilson had to borrow money and Johnston became joint-proprietor in 1849. The issue of 15 September 1848 was Wilson's first; from 18 June 1849 the paper became a daily. Circulation declined to about 250, but by the close of 1850 equalled the combined circulation of rivals and by late 1851 had risen to 1500. Wilson successfully met the challenge of the gold rushes. The Argus absorbed the Melbourne Daily News from 1 January 1852 and only the Herald and the Geelong Advertiser survived as competitors for the goldfield market. He brought out forty compositors from England and in mid-1852 doubled the paper's size and reduced its price from 3d. to 2d. Circulation rose from 5000 in May 1852 to almost 20,000 late in 1853, advertisements snowballed and the number of employees grew to about 140. But costs were outrageous and Wilson was almost ruined.
(*Politician and founder of the Craiglee vineyard at Sunbury.)

Deep Creek Road, or THE GREAT ROAD TO THE DIGGINGS might have been a better way of describing the location of the Linc. The term Essendon Crossroads seemed to be mainly used by the Oaklands Hunt after 1888. The popular route was through Deep Creek (Bulla) until Brees' bridge was built as part of the construction of the road to Mount Alexander (Castlemaine) in 1854. Edward Wilson must have heard a whisper about this huge project, to take a chance on running this hotel. I'm not sure whether he had bought Arundel by 1852 but the facts will emerge when I discuss the ownership of Arundel (courtesy of K.B.Keeley's architectural thesis circa 1960 and 1989 owner (Tony?) Cockram.)

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