<< Previous - Next >>


Journal by itellya

The WARNING can be found at the end of the journal.

This journal arose from the one about Melbourne Brindle whose father bought 30 acres of the Gracefield Estate and established "Sunnyside". It was apparent that James McKeown owned the Gracefield homestead while young Melbourne was living there from 1904 till November 1918 as he shows the homestead which is labelled McKewen (sic). The homestead was the same distance from Boundary Rd as the Sunnyside house, both being on the same latitude as the westernmost point of Hillview Quarry Drive (Melway159 J9.) The Sunnyside house would have been near Sayvon Court and the Gracefield Homestead was probably near the CharmaineSt/Dorothea Cres. corner with Gracefield Ave being its driveway; the corner of Gracefield Ave and Sunset Way was probably the northwest corner of the final, much reduced homestead block.Why do I say this?
An unusual double right angle bend in a road such as in Price St (Melway 28 B2) and Henderson Rd (5 G10)is an indication of a remaining homestead or part of a property being sold off before the whole property is subdivided into normal house blocks. Price St bends around the reduced house block of William Hoffman's "Butzbach" by then the Croft family's "Buckley Park". The Hendersons had sold part of their farm to Mr Champion who built the brick post office that had to be demolished when Henderson Rd was made. Another clue is a mainly straight street with a slight dogleg in it. This usually indicates a boundary between two subdivisions, crown allotments or even parishes. One street that indicates a subdivision boundary is Levien St (28 F5.) The streets that cross the Moonee Ponds Creek(see map 29)have a bend to the south east as you approach the creek from the west because the crown allotment boundaries in Doutta Galla (west)and Jika Jika did not quite line up. Streets sometimes have a dog leg just before they meet a main road (that does not run E-W or N-S) but that is just so they meet the main road at 90 degrees. Enough of that; back to Gracefield!

Gracefield, crown allotment 5, section 3, of 249 acres 1 rood and 34 perches (249.4625 acres) was granted to William Grace.It was bounded by Boundary Rd, with 291 Boundary Rd indicating its south east corner, Arthurs Seat Rd and Caldwell Rd. There is no date on the Kangerong parish map to indicate when the grant was issued but it may have been in the late 1850's.He was on the property in the first Kangerong Road Board assessment of 1864. He planted a vineyard which was tended by the Counsels.

William also bought land fronting the Esplanade(beach road)and backing onto Palmerston Ave from Arthur St to about Marna St and another (nearly) 38 acres that became the Seacombe Estate adjoining Karadoc. A search of the Nepean Division would be necessary to confirm it, but I suspect that William moved to Rye by 1869. In 1868, he was assessed on 249 acres (Gracefield) and 130 acres (crown allotments 2, 3, 4 and 7, section 1, Kangerong, that is, the land fronting the beach road at Dromana.) By the assessment of 1869,he seems to have sold Gracefield to Henry Young and the beachfront land except the 38 acres near Seacombe St.

William was a grantee on the Beachfront in Rye Township as well.This block is easy to describe as it contains the original section of the Rye Hotel bearing the stone stating "Mrs Hunt, 1927 etc". His daughter,Ellen,married Patrick, son of Dennis Sullivan,who built the Gracefield Hotel on William's grant.In 1927, Mrs Hunt replaced the 80 year old Gracefield and renamed it the Rye Hotel.

It is possible that the Sullivans met the Grace family through Catherine Sullivan who was granted 15AB Wannaeue of 152 acres (Melway 171 B-C 10-11) on 31-10-1858 and probably used Bryan's Cutting (along the eastern boundary of Gracefield), via 171 H1, to have a drink at Watkin's hotel or do her shopping at Holden's nearby store in Dromana. It is due to Melbourne Brindle that I now know where Bryan's Cutting was.

Colin McLear referred to Bryan's Cutting in A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA. John Bryan was thought to actually be Bryan Watson, a deserter from the British army. He moved into Mary Ann McLear's "The Willow" on the Survey when she established Maryfield and later moved to the top of the town common where he was engaged in timber-getting. The cutting, very steep and mainly used by bullock teams, according to Sheila Skidmore in her THE RED HILL, was the closest to the summit of Arthurs Seat. As my Kangerong parish map has the wedge-shaped area adjoining Gracefield on the east (that is now part of Arthurs Seat Park along with the middle third of Gracefield)labelled Gravel Reserve, I was unaware that it was originally the town common.

On page 37 of THE RED HILL, Sheila (who thought it was Brien's Cutting) discussed the three cuttings, William Henry Blakely's Crestmobile and James Holmes' accident in 1913, when Melbourne Brindle would have been about nine years old. The chain came off Holmes' motor buggy, and the brakes failed to prevent the car rolling back over a steep bank and overturning.I thought it obvious that this accident had happened on Eaton's Cutting Rd (Melway 160 E9 to 190 E3, a delightful walk)where Thiele was killed, until I saw Melbourne's map.

On the map, Hillview Quarry Drive (Melway 159 J9) is labelled TO ARTHURSSEAT-BRYANS OLD PLACE. Heading straight uphill from the bend, alongside Grace field's eastern boundary are double dotted lines labelled PATH TO ARTHURS SEAT & TOWER PAST BRYANS. That the land adjoining Gracefield on the east was the town common is proved by Arthur Brindle's application in late 1904 to clear 25 chains on his eastern boundary.

FLINDERS&KANGERONG SHIRE COUNCIL.. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29. Present :-Crs Clark (President), Marsden, Nowlan, Cain, Oswin, Buckley, Shand, Davies, and Shaw. CORRESPONDENCE.(14TH LETTER)From Arthur L. Brindle, Melbourne, requesting permission to clear half a chain along the reserve side of his block, part of the Gracefield Estate, for a distance of 25 chains. - Permission granted.(P6, Mornington Standard, 5-11-1904.)

On Melbourne's map he has an arrow pointing to Hillview Quarry Drive, as it is now known, in other words, Bryan's Cutting,with the text HOLMES' MOTOR BUGGY USED TO CHUG UP HERE.

THE WARNING!(Rather, the warnings!)
A. Don't take anything in rate books as gospel, especially when it involves the Southern Peninsula. The first Flinders Road Board assessment of 1869 stated that almost every ratepayer owned his land and later assessments revealed that many of them were leasing it from the Crown.As in the case of Joseph Simpson of Red Hill, many new residents were overlooked and had to be added in an amendment after councillors had already signed the record. As you will see below, James McKeown was still paying rates on the whole of Gracefield despite the fact that the Brindles had been occupying 30 acres of it for some years.
B. This arises from my trip today (29-1-2013) to deliver the Milleara Railway Station Estate plan to Bob Chalmers. While in the big smoke, I decided to get a Kangerong parish map from the P.R.O.V. for the Dromana Historical Society. It seemed the same as mine but as I was about to write that the date of the issue of the grant for Gracefield was not on the parish map, just on spec, I looked at the map I obtained today. This one did have the date of issue. The second warning is this. There are many versions of parish maps and the one you see may not be the original one. There are maps of the Tullamarine, Doutta Galla and Bulla Bulla parish maps dating from the boom times of the late 1880's which record the names of speculators such as Herman in Tullamarine, and later occupiers of crown allotments such as Gillespie in Doutta Galla.If your ancestor's name appears on a parish map, do not take it for granted that he was a grantee!

There is no indication of when William Grace was granted crown allotment 5, section 3 Kangerong on my Kangerong parish map. However as intimated above, the date of issue appears on a reasonably similar map that I obtained today. The date of issue was 9-3-1857. William Grace was assessed on 249 acres and 130 acres of building land from 1864 (the first Kangerong Road Board assessment.) The building land (actually 131 acres 2 roods 6 perches ) was between Arthur St and Marnia St consisting of crown allotments 2-4 section 1 Kangerong,and crown allotment 7 near Seacombe St. These details were unchanged in 1868 but in 1869, William was assessed only on 38 acres. Thus began a search of the whole riding to determine the new occupant of Gracefield.

It was Henry Young who had 249 acres; William Heywood's 250 acres having also been occupied by him in 1868 and Abraham Griffith's 250 acres almost certainly being on the Survey, being a slight increase on the 210 acres of 1868. Whether Henry had bought, or was leasing, from William Grace, he was there also in 1870. In 1871, Gracefield was advertised for sale and seems not to have been assessed.
(My apologies for repeating some information. Submitting edits has been like Russian roulette with so many hours of text lost that I had to check if I had pasted the 1871 advertisement.)



To Capitalists, Vignerons, Agriculturists, and Others. GEMMELL, TUCKETT, and Co. havo received instruction from Mr. R. Kerr, as agent for the proprietor, to OFFER for PRIVATE SALE, at thelr rooms, 49 Collins street west,
All that valuable farm, Gracefield, Dromana,comprising 250 acres of superior land, on the north slope of Arthur's Seat Hill, well fenced, grassed, and abundantly watered, with six- roomod brick house, slate roof,outbuildings, &c, with two roomod cottage, large cellar, &c. Seven acres planted with 1000 trees of the best descriptions of fruit ; eight to nine acres of the choicest vines in full bearing.etc.
(P.2, Argus, 25-2-1871.) A similar advertisement appeared on page 1 of The Age on 4-4-1871, the only real difference being that the printer had forgotten a zero, shrinking Gracefield to 25 acres.

In 1872, Richard Counsel was assessed on 250 acres and a 5 roomed house. His assessment in the previous year had been on 121 acres, almost certainly crown allotment 21A, Kangerong of 121 acres 1 rood and 27 perches, granted to C.Counsel on 27-6-1876, and fronting the north side of McIlroys Rd (No. 146) and including Melway 161 D10. Colin McLear stated that several members of the Counsel family tended the grapevines that William Grace had planted and as the 1872 acreage is right, it can safely be assumed that the Counsels were on Gracefield. (The sixth room in the above advertisement was possibly a kitchen that was detached, so probable fires would not engulf the rest of the house, and not considered in the evaluation.)

In 1884 James McKeown was assessed on 215 acres,Balnarring (i.e. 73 A and B, later known as Glenbower,the name of McKeown's house, and Wildwood.) In 1885, he was assessed on 250 acres, Kangerong (Gracefield)having sold his Balnarring land to the Sheehan family. On 21-9-1903 and 1-9-1904 James McKeown was still assessed on the whole 250 acres of Gracefield and there would be no reason to expect anything else.

FLINDERS&KANGERONG SHIRE COUNCIL.. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29. Present :-Crs Clark (President), Marsden, Nowlan, Cain, Oswin, Buck ley, Shand, Davies, and Shaw. CORRESPONDENCE.(14TH LETTER)From Arthur L. Brindle, Melbourne, requesting permission to clear half a chain along the reserve side of his block, part of the Gracefield Estate, for a distance of 25 chains. - Permission granted.(P6, Mornington Standard, 5-11-1904.)

Dromana, with its unsurpassed beach and beautiful fern gullies, is becoming more popular every year as a healthful holiday resort for visitors, a number of city doctors have spent their holidays here this season, and they commend it as being one of the healthiest watering places along the bay. A good inquiry has set in for township allotments, and some prominent city gentlemen have secured blocks. Brindle Bros., decorators, have purchased some of the Gracefield estate, and have commenced to build a residence.
(P.5, Mornington Standard, 18-2-1905.)

One would expect the acreage on which James McKeown was assessed to drop by 30 acres (the Brindles' "Sunnyside") by the 1905 assessment, but no, it was not until 1910 that any adjustment was made.Part of the problem was that the Brindle land was called "allotment and building, Dromana". If it had been described properly (as Cr Terry demanded)a need to reduce the "Gracefield" acreage would have been more evident.

In 1910 James McKeown was to be again assessed on 250 acres but 250 has been crossed out and changed to 22 acres, part 5 section 3. In the 1915 assessment still had the 22 acres and buildings and another 10 acres in crown allotment 5 section 3.

McKEOWN.-On the 10th March, at Gracefield, Dromana, James McKeown, aged 89 years.(P.11, Argus, 13-3-1920.)
James must have been in a bad way at the time of the 1919 assessment because Mrs Catherine Townsend McKeown was assessed on the 32 acres on c/a 5 section 3. The rate collector must have assumed that James had already died or he would have written Catherine's name as Mrs James McKeown; a female ratepayer's name was not recorded with her own given names unless she was a spinster or a widow.

By 1910 it can be assumed that Arthur Brindle had the whole 30 acres of "Sunnyside" because the observant 6+ year old Melbourne would surely have mentioned it if his father had added another 10 acres or so afterwards. James McKeown had 22 acres (or perhaps 32 if he also had the 10 acre block assessed in 1915.) Therefore we are looking for a ratepayer assessed on an unspecified 200 or 190 acres in Kangerong. George Robert Dyson had 203 acres Kangerong and Henry George Chapman, Dromana's blacksmith had 204 acres and buildings, Kangerong.

In 1919, Henry George Chapman had almost 24 of the 35 acre c/a 4, section 1, Kangerong between Pier St and roughly Marna St. He was also assessed on 101 acres, part 27A, Kangerong. C/A 27A consisted only of 51 acres and 24 perches so what the rate collector should have written is: 101 acres 27A and 27B,the latter being exactly 50 acres. crown allotments 27A and 27B, at the north east corner of Harrisons and Dunns Creek Rds, had been granted to George Peatey, but he found it too wet for farming so he and wife, Susan, moved to a 2 acre block at the south corner of Jetty Rd and McDowell St in Rosebud in 1888. (PINE TREES AND BOX THORNS, Rosalind Peatey.) It is likely the blacksmith's land in 1910 included these 125 acres and that he did not occupy the bulk of Gracefield at that time.

This leaves George Robert Dyson as the only possible occupant of the bulk of Gracefield in 1910. The 1919 ratebook entry seemed to show that he had 303 acres in crown allotment 3 section 3 (at least that's what I wrote in my transcription.) The handwriting was so terrible that I sometimes took five minutes before I could hazard a guess about what a letter or numeral was, so the actual translation could be 203acres, c/a 5 section 3. Incidentally,the Brindles left in November 1918 and I could find no mention of Sunnyside (30 acres, crown allotment 5, section 3 or its new occupant.

Is there any evidence to indicate that George Robert Dyson could have been on Gracefield in 1919, and by extension 1910? "Charlie Dyson's son, George, planted two orchards flanking the upper reaches of Pier St. In the 1930's many of the apple trees were still there but the land has been subdivided and formed the Panoramic Estate...." (Colin McLear, P.84.) The Panoramic Estate, with street names indicating views of Macedon, the You Yangs etc is on the east side of Jetty Rd, being c/a 12, section 1 of 62 acres on which George Robert Dyson was also assessed in 1919.According to Melbourne Brindle's map and Colin, George Dyson's house was on the west corner of Jetty Rd(a road that probably did not exist or was a continuation of Pier St in name as well as actuality, hence Colin's "upper reaches of Pier St".)It appears that Jetty Rd was called Pier St.

DYSON.-On July 27, at Dromana Bush Nursing Hospital, George Robert Dyson, ofPier street, Dromana, dearly loved husband of the late Mary Dyson, loving father of Bob, dearly loved grandfather of Mary (Mrs Jenkins), aged 79 years.(P.2, Argus,28-7-1944.)

George Dyson was connected to James McKeown as a result of Bill Dyson marrying Edie McKeown. Bill, known as "Squeaker", was a son of George's brother, Jack,if I interpret page 84 of A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA correctly.

Armed with shire of Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows rates and Maribrynong, Doutta Galla, Jika Jika, Tullamarine, Bulla Bulla and Yuroke parish maps,(all of which I thought I had put into safe hands when I moved to Rosebud), I was able to specify exactly the boundaries of farms in a triangle bounded by North Braybrook Township (south part of Avondale Heights), Goonawarra near Sunbury and Roxburgh Park.

As in the case of the Flinders Road Board from 1869 to 1874, these shires listed ratepayers geographically so as I scrolled through their names, I could trace the rate collector's "mental" location on the parish map. Even if the location of farms was not specified (crown allotments), I knew exactly where they were. If someone sold or leased the farm, the new occupant would be listed between the same neighbours as the old one had. If a crown grant was leased in parts, it was not difficult for the rate collector to check acreages of parts to ensure that they added up to that given on the parish map.

Peter Nowlan was the first secretary of The Shire of Flinders and Kangerong in 1875. Living in the Flinders Road District he may have had a hand in deciding that its ratepayers would be listed geographically in 1869. The Kangerong Road Board was the senior partner in the merger to form the shire in 1874. The first undated (possibly 1963) page of (parish of) Kangerong Division which survived to be recorded on microfiche starts with: Mathews. McLear, McCrea Doctor, Marshall, Moat, McLear, Mitchell etc. This was obviously an attemptto use alphabetical order (and spell correctly!)

Matthews should be after Mc and the two McLear entries should follow each other, so you can see that the idea of alphabetical listings was causing problems, even with a very small number of ratepayers. Not one property was specified so that its location could be determined, the closest approach being the use of Dromana, Red Hill or Survey.If you were recording all the people at a meeting, how would you like to do it alphabetically?
Alphabetical listing is great if you are researching a particular family from year to year or if a rate collector had to check a ratepayer's claim that he had already paid his rates. But it imposed an enormous extra workload! Once subdivisions such as Warrawee started, the number of ratepayers exploded and to have assessments ready on time, the previous year's record was laboriously copied (including errors which often persisted for years)with any changes shown by crossing out the old name and replacing it with that of the new

I believe a strong-willed councillor from the Kangerong Road Board area (Kangerong, Fingal, Wannaeue and Nepean parishes), someone like John Cain, persuaded the first shire council to adopt alphabetical listing. The workload that resulted is probably the reason that rate collectors did not have time to worry about the exact location of the properties or to record changes in property size.

The case of the assessments of Arthur Brindle and James McKeown illustrate the lack of information about property location and size. Surely if Brindle's property had been described as house and 30 acres, "Sunnyside", part crown allotment 5, section 3, Kangerongin 1905, and McKeown's had previously been 2 houses and 250 acres, "Gracefield", crown allotment 5, section 3, Kangerong , the penny would have dropped prompting the rate collector to ask James McKeown what was going on. It would also be nice to have documentary proof that George Dyson had the other 188 acres of Gracefield!

The warning is "Don't believe everything you see in ratebooks." Was the early 1905 par about the Brindle Brothers buying part of the Gracefield Estate wrong? Was Melbourne Brindle's map showing "Sunnyside" east of the McKeown house on crown allotment 5, section 3, Kangerong wrong? You'd think so if you believed the rate collector!

Viewed: 1734 times
by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-01-25 00:46:59

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.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


by itellya on 2015-05-22 09:40:49

In the journal,there is an 1871 advertisement of the sale of Gracefield but William Grace had unsuccessfully tried to sell his Dromana land in 1867.

That most desirable
The property of Mr William Grace, situated at Dromana, containing 249 acres of superior land, fenced, subdivided,and permanently watered. The vineyard and orchard comprise 10 acres and a half, trenched 22 in. deep, the latter having choice cherry trees in full bearing, and 250 pear trees, while the former contains vines six years old just commencing to yield most superior wines. The situation is excellent, the vines never having suffered from frost or hot winds. The house contains spacious hall, verandah, five rooms, kitchen, store, and usual offices, and is supplied with water from a tank 22 ft deep. To persons desirous of obtaining a most comfortable
house and a good income, with very little labour, this offers a chance not often to be met with.

About 100 acres, in addition to the above, extending along the esplanade, Dromana on each side of the jetty will be sold together with the above, or separately, in lots. (P.8, Argus, 5-12-1867.)

Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.