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PIONEERS OF TULLAMARINE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: THE MCNABS AND GRANTS- pioneering Ayrshire breeders.

Journal by itellya

The McNabs were among the earliest pioneers of Tullamarine and are still there over 160 years later. At the time of writing (1:30 a.m.), I'm unsure whether anyone is doing a family history but I have a lot of anecdotes and property information, as well as some genealogy, supplied by Keith McNab. The Grant and McNab entries in my DICTIONARY HISTORY OF TULLAMARINE AND MILES AROUND are many pages long but I do not have access to this information at the moment. "Victoria and Its Metropolis: Past and Present" (Alexander Sutherland, 1888) has entries about members of both families.

To start, I will quote a passage from "Tullamarine: Before the Jetport".

Section 8 in the parish of Tullamarine was granted to John Grant, John McNab and Duncan McNab on 28-5-1850. SEE ATTACHMENT. They had settled on this land in 1848.The 640 acre block was split into three: John Grant who had leased land at Campbellfield for 11 years and became the first in the colony to plant a large area of wheat, which he probably sold to the mill on the Pipeworks Market site (Melway 7 J10), called his northern half "Seafield". He also bought a river frontage at the south corner of Barbiston and McNab Rds. John Grant donated the land on which Seafield National School operated from 1859 until the Conders Lane (Link Rd) S.S. 2613 opened in 1884.

Duncan McNab had the middle farm (180 ac.), which he called "Victoria Bank" and occupied until 1869 when he moved to Lilydale.In 1880, his sons John and Angus returned, the latter applying the farm name to to the former Ritchie land between Barbiston Rd and "Aucholzie". This was, if I remember correctly 93 acres. It was on the north side of Barbiston Rd as shown on the map. After subdivision of this farm, the corner block, containing the homestead, was called "Rosebank". The owner circa 1890 told me that two McNab descendants (elderly ladies) who lived at "Victoria Bank", a house in North Essendon, had paid her a visit one day.
John McNab called the southern quarter "Oakbank". The first Victoria Bank was absorbed into Oakbank as well as Love's old dairy north of Conders Lane (5 C8), Turner's (4 E12), and another part of the Upper Keilor Estate at 4 B11, which now contains Oakbank Rd. His sons were Angus, Duncan, William, Donald and John. Over the years, this branch of the family also had Vite Vite (Western District), land at Kooweerup, and Oakbank at Yendon, on the Geelong side of Ballarat.

The Victoria Bank branch of the McNab family seems to have had land in the Green Gully/Dunhelen area at the boundary of Broadmeadows and Bulla Shires (178 D2) and part of William Michie's future Cairnbrae (north of 177 D1.)

John McNab, the founder of Oakbank, married Mary Grant in 1857. As John Grant had married Mary McNab in 1846, the two families were well and truly in-laws. Oakbank John's son, Angus Duncan McNab, married Elizabeth Meikle whom he'd met while mining in Queensland and their only son was John Alexander Grant McNab, who with his sons, Ian, Alex and Keith, farmed Oakbank until its compulsory acquisition in about 1960 for the jetport.

Harry Peck (in Memoirs of a Stockman) said that Oakbank had the leading herd of Ayrshires in Australia. The McNabs are said to have imported the first cow of this breed (Oakbank Annie) into the country, although the Grants claim the credit. John McKerchar, who married Catherine McNab of Victoria Bank in 1855, also bred Ayrshires at his farm "Greenvale" (after which the suburb was named.)
The McNabs and Grants probably occupied at least one seat on the Keilor Roads Board/ Shire/ City from 1863 until 1973, with William McNab serving as President five times.

An article in one of the Keilor Centenary souvenirs (1963, of the Roads Board, I think)described how John McNab
was chased by aborigines while on his way home. In his architectural thesis on Arundel, K.B.Keeley had a picture of the first Victoria Bank homestead showing the slit windows which allowed rifle fire at hostile aborigines but were too narrow to permit entry for the attackers. Such attacks did happen and Tullamarine, after whom the parish was named, led an attack on John Aitken's "Mt Aitken" west of Sunbury.
The above documents were provided to the enthusiastic Rosemary Davidson at Tullamarine Library but when the Hume Library system was set up, these and other treasures, such as the article from the early 1960's about the CLAN McNAB'S long tenure being ended by the jetport, were removed to the Global Learning Centre at Broadmeadows.

THE STUDEBAKER. This poem can be seen in my journal RHYMES OF OLD TIMES IN TULLAMARINE.

TASMANIA.I found an article in trove about the Tasmanian stud book, which stated that Tasmania's Ayrshire herds were chiefly derived from "Oakbank". Entering McNAB, OAKBANK will produce 13 pages of articles (20 per page) about the family and its Ayrshires, including much genealogical detail. An article on the last page gives detail about the sale of Seafield and its history. A GRANT, SEAFIELD search provides similar information about the genealogy of this family and its Ayrshires. On the first page is a letter from John Grant's son headed FIRST AYRSHIRE COW IN VICTORIA which does not even mention the McNabs. Perhaps the rivalry regarding the pioneering of Ayrshires had turned nasty. To resolve which family's claim was correct, I would google Oakbank Annie and Seafield Annie to see which produces a result.

The rivalry, which brings to mind the Batman/ Fawkner claims about founding Melbourne, seems to have affected a closeness evident from the normal entrance from Grants Lane to Oakbank. The tree-lined drive passed through Seafield. According to Keith McNab, the entrance from McNabs Rd, which was the original entrance to what is now the Airport Golf Club, could only be used in dry weather.

The Reddans had a property called Seaview on the north side of Sharps Rd (west of Fisher Grove on the subdivision of "Dalkeith") and I had assumed that the names of both farms had derived from views of the bay. However the naming of John Grant's farm most likely has an aristocratic origin. John was probably letting everyone know that he was related to the Earl of Seafield!

Surnames: GRANT MCNAB REDDAN
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by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-01-18 09:44:53

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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