PIONEERING NEIGHBOURS NEAR CARRIGG ST, DROMANA, VIC., AUST.
Frustrated that edits to my SAFETY BEACH resulted in the OH NOES page when I clicked submit, I decided to find out when the Osbornes arrived in Dromana. George Wilson was supposed to have died at Osborne House, Dromana, which was probably an error because Osborne House was in Mt Martha.(George was a pioneer in the parishes of Flinders and Balnarring and probably the son of Sarah Wilson, an early settler on the Survey, who is discussed in my DROMANA PIONEER PATHWAY journal.
Osborne was also an early township in the part of Mt Martha north of Balcombe Creek, named after Queen Victoria's seaside residence and with streets named after her daughters, such as Augusta. That's when I was led astray, finding out that the Esplanade (through Safety Beach) to Dromana was first proposed in 1910, that Mr Holden of Dromana was an early preacher at Frankston Methodist Church, and soon afterwards, that F.Holden was a true friend of John McLear. Then I found out that the true friend was Mrs Frances Holden who was, like Mrs Fred Warren*, a long-time widow in the township. I didn't find out that they were neighbours, Colin McLear had already told me that through his A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA.
(* WARREN.-On the 20th October, at Dromana, Frederick Warren, the beloved husband of Janet Warren. (P.1, Argus, 4-11-1919.)
The Township of Dromana was west of McCulloch St,the part of present day Dromana to the east, and extending to Boundary Rd, being Section 1 of the parish of Kangerong. On the coast side of the freeway were crown allotments 1-8 of section 1. C/A 1, triangular with Arthur St as its eastern boundary, was granted to William Dixon Scurfield, who built the Scurfield Hotel(later the Arthurs Seat Hotel and burnt down in early 1898) between Permien and Foote St in the Township. C/A 8, granted to Nelson Rudduck's father, Samuel,was almost triangular, except that its boundary was Ponderosa Place rather than the freeway near Pt Nepean Rd. All the other allotments were rectangular with a frontage of 200 metres, except the Dromana Hub site which went only 180 metres west from Pier St. William Grace, who received the grant for "Gracefield" in 1857, bought four of the six rectangular blocks.
Crown allotment 5, of 36 acres and 25 perches, commenced 200 metres north east of Pier St, its frontage being another 200 metres. (The Dromana hotel is right in the north west corner of Allotment 5.) It was granted to Alex P. Thompson,who had sold off two one acre frontage blocks by 1864, the year of the oldest available Kangerong Road Board assessment. Before I deal with the assessments,let's turn to page 79 of A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA.
" HOLDEN (1864) had been a miner and came from the goldfields to build a store in Dromama. This stood approximately on the corner of what is now Carrigg St. The verandah in the fashion of this time was low and shoppers stooped to pass under it. He also had a slab hut hard by. Here Peter Pidota's men were quartered. At one time, Robert Rowley and his wife, later of Rye, lived there when he was working loading craft for Peter."
1.The name appeared in George McLear's account book in 1864.
2. I searched for Pidota on trove and found not one reference. Colin McLear and practically every rate collector gave the surname as Pidota. So did Isobel Moresby in ROSEBUD:FLOWER OF THE PENINSULA, with a twist.
'Among the craft which carried timber, firewood,wattle bark and so on to Little Dock in Melbourne was old Antonio Pidota's "Little Angelina".' Isobel was probably confusing his given name with that of Antonio Bosina, a fisherman, of Rosebud. But she made no mistake with the boat's name! A search for Pidoto revealed not only his correct surname but a maritime tradition and links with Williamstown.
THE DROMANA JETTY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,-I would wish through your columns to call the attention of the Government to tho urgent necessity that exists to deepen the water inside the breakwater at this jetty, as at present it is at great risk vessels lay there to load or discharge cargo. On Saturday last the Little Angelina, only drawing 5ft. of water, bumped heavily through the sea that was on.
Taking into consideration the growing importance of Dromana as a watering-place, it behoves the Government to give this matter their immediate attention, and thus enable the residents here to get their goods loaded and discharged at any time by any vessels of a moderate draught of water.
-Yours, &C.,PETER PIDOTO. Dromana, July 2.(P.5, Argus, 4-7-1883.)
A message from Flinders (Vic.) says.-The wrecked ketch Little Angelina on Phillip Island shore is still hold ing together. She is right up on the rocks, and at low tide can be discerncd from Flinders, distant across the bay about five miles. There does not appear to be much hope of getting her afloat. It is not known here whether any steps are likely to be taken with this object. Tho Little Angelina belonged formerly to the late Mr. Pidoto, of Dromana, and was a regular trader between Dromana and Melbourne.
(P.10, Sydney Morning Herald, 17-6-1899.)
PIDOTO.-Mrs. Pidoto, Clifton Hill, has been informed that her son, Gunner J. Pidoto, who was mentioned in despatches, and was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery, has been wounded in the chest, and left arm, and is returning to Australia. Before enlisting Gunner Pidoto was a linesman in the post-office in South Australia. He has been on active service for two and a half years. (P.6, Argus, 7-2-1918.)
Has itellya gone completely mad (like Ken Bruce)? Clifton Hill, South Australia? Why not throw in Balmain too,to make the joke complete?
N.B. 3. Robert Rowley was not "later of Rye". He and Henry Cadby Wells were, with the exception of Robert's widowed mother and her second husband, Richard Kenyon (and possibly Captain Adams of Rosebud)the first permanent settlers on the Mornington Peninsula, lime-burning together in the Sorrento area in 1840 and crayfishing together from 1849. Robert married Christine Edwards from Longford in Tasmania in 1859 and probably went to Dromana soon after.He signed the petition of 1861 asking that Robert Dublin Quinan's school be chosen for the Common School. James Holden and Sarah, George and Robert Wilson were some others who signed.
AND NOW FOR THE RATE RECORDS.
In 1864, detail was scant but Richard Watkin had a 12 roomed house (the Dromana Hotel), Alex (Collop?)had an impressive 3 roomed house (nett annual value 30 pounds) and (stores?)and Peter Pidota(sic)had a house and store (N.A.V. 30 pounds.) In 1865, the details for Pidoto and Watkin were the same but Connop(or whatever!)was missing and Alex Haldan, who had not been assessed previously, had 1 acre and a 6 roomed house, N.A.V. 25 pounds.All of these properties were on crown allotment 5 of section 1, and almost certainly the 17 acres on which Edward Burgess was assessed in 1865, along with a hut. Connop and Haldan were probably leasing from James Holden. The hotel would have made the vicinity the ideal place for stores.
James Holden died in about 1874 so we would not expect him to appear in the 1879 rates re crown allotment 5.Peter Pidota (sic),mariner, had 17 acres,possibly bought from Burgess. The Dromana Hotel and its associated 17 acres seems to have been forgotten by the rate collector. John McLear, laborer, was assessed on 2 acres. It is likely John combined fishing with any work that was available. With Harry Copp,Fred Vine and Jonah Griffith,he was one of Dromana's four professional fishermen.
Forgetting the 25 perches, crown allotment 5 (and its 36 acres 25 perches) is fully accounted for (17 acres Pidoto, 17 acres pub, 2 acres McLear.)I believe that John was paying Francis Holden's rates for her. John had married Janet Cairns from Boneo in 1874.The 1900 assessment was the sort of effort that later had Cr Terry fuming. John McLear was assessed on one acre; no mention was made of the 17 acres associated with the Dromana hotel or the late Peter Pidoto's 17 acres.
The 1910 rates weren't much better. Still no mention of Frances Holden. Mrs Pidoto must have sold her 17 acres to G.S.Edwards who was running the Dromana Hotel (whose 17 acres weren't mentioned);the occupier was W.E.Thompson but Mrs Pidoto of Clifton Hill was paying the rates.
In 1919, Lou Carrigg was assessed on:
17 acres and hotel, part c/a 5, section 1, N.A.V. 150 pounds;
16 acres, part c/a 5 section 1, N.A.V. 15 pounds.
If I remember correctly he bought the other 17 acres soon after arriving in about 1914.
Mrs Frances Holden paid rates on 1 acre and buildings, Esplanade, part c/a 5, section 1.
The 34 acres behind the hotel became one of Dromana's two racecourses, (the other being north of Dromana Secondary College) and also served as the footy ground until about 1927 when Spencer Jackson sold it as the Foreshore Estate. John McLear's son Nip lived in his father's house till the end of his life. It was demolished to make way for extensions to the Dromana Hotel.
And by the way,Mrs Pidoto's address was given as Balmain , N.S.W. in an assessment but I can't find it.
McLEAR. - On the 16th June, at his residence,Dromana, John, beloved husband of the late Janet McLear, and loving father of Mrs Wilson (Boneo), Mrs Pentecost (Mornington), George (Wagga), Jack, Mrs A. Griffiths, Mrs McDonald (Abbotsford), Lily, late Harry (A.I.F.), James (A.I.F., returned); true friend of F. Holden, Dromana, aged 72 years 11 months. Colonist 72 years. "Thy will be done." (P.1, Argus, 18-6-1918.)
(Mr Wilson was a cousin of Godfrey Wilson. The Pentecosts were Mornington pioneers and a family member was appointed to take care of the Schnapper Point jetty light in 1863.)
OBITUARY CENTENARIAN PASSES. The death of Mrs Frances Holden, probably the Peninsula's only centenarian, occurred at her residence at Dromana on Monday. Had she lived until October, Mrs Holden would have reached the age of 102 years. With her husband, she settled in Dromana 82 years ago and had lived there ever since. She came from Sussex, England, when a young girl. In her younger days she took an active part in movements for the advancement of the district. A good horsewoman, she used to join parties that went out hunting kangaroos. Burial took place in the Dromana cemetery where the remains were interred beside those of her husband who died about 60 years ago. The burial service was read by the Rev.A.F. Falconer. Mr Hector Gamble, of Frankston had charge of the funeral arrangements. (P.1, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 25-8-1934.)
Mrs. Frances Holden who was a widow, aged 101 years has died at Dromana. She had lived in a cottage near the Hotel Dromana for very many years and had a store of reminiscences of her experiences with the blacks in the early days. (P.8,Argus, 23-8-1934.)
Mrs Holden, the oldest resident of the Mornington Peninsula, has died aged 102 years. Mrs Holden arrived from England when aged 14 years. She was in Melbourne when it was a canvas town, and she went to Ballarat in the early gold mining days with her husband, who was a mining engineer. She remembered having ridden down Sturt street, Ballarat, with mud almost up to her horse's girth. Mrs Holden is said to have been the first white woman at Dromana. (P.20, Argus, 25-8-1934.)
AT LAST WE FIND MR HOLDEN'S GIVEN NAME!
HOLDEN.?On the 30th August (passed peacefully away), at Dromana, Frances Isabell, widow of the late James Holden, aged 101 years. -At rest.(P.1, Argus, 21-8-1934.)
EARLY HISTORY. The pioneer and founder of the Methodist Church at Frankston was Mrs. Potts' father, the late Mr. John Carr. He arrived in Frankston. about 1856 or 7 and lived in the village for a time; later he started, farming. Early in 1860 he felt the necessity for a place of worship, such occasional services as were conducted, were held in the common school; so he set to work collected money, bought material and superintended the erection of a house of prayer; helping with his own labor. When finished he held services with the help of a few Christian people and a preacher named Mr Holden, who lived at Dromana. (P.8, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 19-9-1931.)
You may wonder how I have such detailed knowledge of crown allotment 5, section 1, Kangerong. When I felt that more information had to be made available about the peninsula and its pioneers in August 2010 and started my research, I was concerned mainly with Rosebud. When I found that Captain Adams gave William Edwards a loan of about 200 pounds with only a 2 acre block as security and that Edwards had a hotel in 1888 that seemed to be described as being in Dromana, I started researching the Dromana hotels in ratebooks.
It wasn't easy because hotels were described as houses and then as buildings. However I worked out that the Dromana Hotel was associated with 17 acres of land and Scurfield's hotel with 5 town lots. This information, combined with nett annual values helped me to confirm the transition of owners and occupiers.Once I saw Peter Pidoto's 17 acres specified as being in crown allotment 5 , the picture was complete because I had already suspected that the other two acres of c/a 5, section 1 were Holden's and John McLear's from reading A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA.
I had spoken to Ray Stella about the Dromana Hotel before I started my examination of every year's assessment of the two hotels (from 1864 to 1898 for the Scurfield/Arthurs Seat and until 1919 for the Dromana) and he told me that John Coleman had died at the Dromana hotel after he had sold it and was about to move out.Ray showed me an internal brick wall, (probably an external wall in Watkin's original hotel) that was left intact when Lou Carrigg did his renovation circa 1927.
Ray was so interested in the hotel's history, I said I'd write a brief summary of what I discovered. When I gave it to him in late 2010, he said it would make a good place mat. Today (20-2-2013), I saw the laminated place mat for the first time and it looks great. It has a photo of the hotel in each corner: Watkin's, two from the Rose Series, and a present day shot. He left out "To be pedantic" at the start of "Watkin should have called it the Kangerong Hotel." but the meaning is made clear in the following sentence about the township's location.Ray has included my information about the Scurfield hotel and the racetrack (that Melbourne Brindle and his siblings were instructed to keep away from)and added his involvement from 1986 until today. As a clincher, he mentions that Prime Minister John Curtin lived at the hotel as a boy when his father managed it! My copy is going on the wall and I suspect that many customers will follow suit.(POSTSCRIPT 21-2-2017. The information I provided included the oft repeated error that the Dromana hotel was built in 1857. Richard Watkin stated in an advertisement that it was established in 1862!)
on 2013-02-19 02:59:36
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.