JOHN PASCOE FAWKNER, CHAMPION OF THE YOEMAN FARMER.
WE WANT LAND!
Just think,this letter was written at Pascoe Vale.
THE BEST WAY TO ESTABLISH A COLONIAL YEOMANRY.
Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851) Tuesday 21 August 1849 Edition: MORNING p 1 Article.
My time researching in the Titles Office showed me how much land was in the hands of a very small number of people. Many of the gold miners had been farmers, a large number of them having been tenant farmers in Ireland. They did not have the money to buy the large crown allotments that became available when parishes had been surveyed. In the parish of Will Will Rook,north of J.P.Fawkner's Belle Vue grant a huge area of land was bought by speculators, Hughes and Hosking, and later became part of the Kennedy estate.Much land in the parishes of Tullamarine and Bulla was alienated in square mile blocks.
Later land acts tried to prevent big landowners from obtaining so much land in grants but the use of dummies, and possibly loopholes enabled James Hearn, W.A.Blair, Charles Gavan Duffy, James Ford, James Purves, the Cains and Professor Hearn to buy huge tracts of land between Balcombe Creek's mouth and Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula for example.
Former squatter he may have been, but John Pascoe Fawkner had a great affection for yoeman farmers. He made a plea to the government to help them obtain freeholds in 1839, and a decade later he was sick and tired of the lack of action. You must read the letter. When Townships were established, suburban blocks were provided,but often multiple blocks were snapped up by such as Frederick Dawes Wickham at Horseshoe Bend near Keilor and William Allison Blair at Rye.
The only real efforts to establish closer settlement that came from Government were caused by the 1890's depression and the aftermath of war. The first effort was probably an attempt to remove beggars from the city (as one does before the Olympic Games are conducted!) Village settlements gave these people a chance to be self-sufficient and to pay off their land on easy terms.
After world war 1 an obligation to servicemen led to the establishment of soldier settlements in many areas.
By the 1930 depression the government probably decided it was easier to put the unemployed on susso projects such as Coburg Lake and the Great Ocean Road.Father Tucker's village settlement at Carrum Downs is discussed in my GORDON BOYINGTON journal.
However it was mainly the death of big landowners and the burden of death duties that caused many big landowners, such as Sir Rupert Clarke of Rupertswood and the family of William Taylor of Overnewton at Keilor, to ask the Crown to resume their huge estates. The Closer Settlement Acts circa 1900 finally achieved what John Pascoe Fawkner started in 1850, shortly after he wrote the letter,at the top of today's Oak Park Court;to give people the chance to buy their own small farms, not because they were out of a job or they had served King and Country but as a right.
Tulip Wright (section 3 Bulla) and Charles Gavan Duffy (the Irish Land Rights hero) did subdivide their grant fairly early but I doubt that their motives were as pure as good old J.P.F.,THE CHAMPION OF THE YOEMAN FARMER AND CLOSER SETTLEMENT.
Details of the many pieces of land bought by J.P.Fawkner on behalf of his co-operative members are given in several other of my journals.
on 2013-11-04 08:46:34
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.