<< Previous - Next >>


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!

Viewed: 3585 times
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.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


by renaesykes on 2015-05-03 14:07:38

Hi there. Just wondering if anyone has any information on John Alexander Grant Mcnab's wife. he's listed here and his children are listed here but she's not. i have documents i got off of that says he was married to my great great grandmother Una Lilian Mcnab. they are actually buried together in the Bulla cemetary (i went and visited!) although i don't think there will be any record of her family history being linked with mine as she had an illegitimate child before she married john (my great grandfather) but i'm looking to find / speak to people who knew her or could tell me anything about her life. i think most people assume that my great grandfather was Una's younger brother. we suspect this because she wasn't married at the time and my great grandfather was born in Northumberland, England. we think that Unas parents took her to England to give birth so the birth records wouldn't be in australia and then they told everyone they'd had another baby but Una's mother Mary Angus was 49 when my great grandfather, Norman Angus was born and Una was 19 so it's not likely.
i would love to get into contact with Una's children or grandchildren and see if anyone had actually met her. i know my grandfather knew her but we aren't on such great speaking terms
thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

by itellya on 2015-05-03 23:15:14

renaesykes, if you send me a private message, I'll put you in touch with Keith,who might be able to help, and has much material, such as the Clan McNab article, and knowledge about areas outside Tullamarine/Keilor where the family farmed.

This might be of value to you.

AFTER the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof, application will be made to the Supreme Court of Victoria in its Probate Jurisdiction that LETTERS of ADMINISTRATION of the estate of DONALD McNAB, late of Oakbank, Tullamarine, In the State of Victoria, farmer and grazier, deceased, Intestate, may be granted to John Alexander Grant McNab of Oakbank, Tullamarine, aforesaid grazier, a nephew and the only surviving next of kin of the said deceased.
Dated the 20th day of March, 1940
McNAB & MCNAB 414 Collins street Melbourne and at Kilmore Whittlesea and Sunbury
proctors for the applicant.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Thursday 21 March 1940 p 12 Advertising

NOTICE is hereby given that after the ex
plration of fourteen days from the publication
hereof, application will be made to the Supreme
Court of the State of Victoria, in its Probate jurisdiction, that LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION with the will annexed (which will is dated the 8th day of February, 1884) of the unadministered
estate of MARY M"NAB, late of Oakbank ,
Tullamarine, in the State of Victoria, widow, de
ceased may be granted to John Alexander Grant
McNab cf Oakbank, Tullamarine, in the said
state, grazier, a grandson of the said deceased
and executor of the wills of two of the sons of
the said deceased and administrator of the estates
or two of the sons of the said deceased.
Dated the 10th day of August, 1940
McNAB & McNAB 414 Collins street, Melbourne
nnd at Kilmore, proctors for the applicant.


NOTICE is hereby given that after the expira
tion cf fourteen days from the publication
hereof, application will be made to the Supreme
Court of the State of Victoria in its Probate
with the Will annexed (which will is dated the
29th day of September 1873) of the unadministered estate of JOHN McNAB late of Oakbank,
Tullamarine, in the State of Victoria, farmer,
deceased, may be granted to John Alexander Grant
MtNab of Oakbank Tullamarine in the paid
State, grazier, a grandson of the said deceased
and executor of the wills of two of the sons
of the said deceased and administrator cf the
estates of two of the sons cf the said deceased
Dated the 10th day cf August 1840
McNAB A, McNAB 414 Collins street Melbourne
and at Kilmore proctors for the applicant.
(P.8,Argus, 12-8-1940.)

Classified Advertising
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Monday 8 March 1926 p 18 Advertising
... the State of 1 ictorla farmer decevsed, mav 1 e granted to John Alexander Grant McNab, of Oak bank ... reserved to Fllrabcth Craig McNob, of Oakbank, Tullamarine aforesaid, widow the executrix named In mid ... 5370 words

by itellya on 2015-06-18 22:38:27


Here's a poem from my WHERE BIG BIRDS SOAR written in 1989 which Keith might enjoy.As the handwritten book was only made available to local libraries, he may not have seen the poem, which is based on information provided by Keith and Wally.

At the Show their Ayrshires they'd display
And usually carry first prize away.
As "Oakbank" had done for ages now,
Famed breeders of this Scottish cow.

In 1925, the McNab brothers three
Went upon a buying spree
And bought a Studebaker which cost a pile
So they could drive to the Show in style.

It cost just under two hundred quid
Which into the salesman's hand was slid.
This new possession of the Clan McNab
Much attention was sure to grab.

But they were quite like Mulga Bill,
And knew these new machines could kill
Those unsure of their temperament-
At least could cause an accident.

"Will you drive it home or should we deliver?"
The first alternative made them quiver!
But John's answer solved their predicament
Dissolving their embarrassment.

Not afraid of any beast
Of driving they knew the absolute least;
Scared of driving it on the road
John said, "We must ride to our abode."

"We cannot leave our steeds behind;
Deliver it, if you'd be so kind."
With a farewell to the salesman neat
They set off up Elizabeth St.

They cantered home in a cloud of dust
On a form of transport they could trust.
A problem was that night discussed;
To find a driver was a must.

On Wally Mansfield they'd decide;
Wal. tamed the beast on paddocks wide;
To change the gears the stick was moored
On the right hand running board.

By the time that September came
The sixteen year old had it tame.
With the McNabs aboard, Wally turned the beast
To the south and to the east.

And thus they arrived at the Melbourne Show,
The car admired by friend and foe;
A feeling of pride the McNabs exuded
Until at last the Show concluded.

Covered by sheets and jacked upon blocks,
The car was ne'er seen by a Blom or a Fox,
And horses were used by the McNab Clan men
Until the Royal Show rolled around again.

by TURNERS on 2016-10-15 03:16:49

Thank you for your informative article on the McNabs .
We are the current owners of the old Turner's farm at the south west corner of the old Oakbank farm. There is a very basic ruined cottage some cable stones a filled well and a loading bay on the top of the hill . I am intrigued by there origin. Is it still possible too contact Keith McNab to talk about it's history
Mike H

by itellya on 2016-10-15 23:09:10

TURNER'SExtracts from private messages to TURNERS.
Keith's phone number was given in the first message which also mentioned the difficulty finding Donald McDonald's article.
From: itellya
Date: 2016-10-15 22:33:45
As mentioned previously, I couldn't find the article on trove, getting tens of thousands of results no matter which search terms I used and I wasn't prepared to start wading through those so late at night. I checked HOW GLENGYLE BECAME ARUNDEL etc.and found it didn't contain the article. Forsaking trove, I googled ARUNDEL, TURNER'S, ITELLYA which led me to my FARMS NEAR TULLAMARINE journal. I'd been having trouble submitting edits so mention of the article had been posted in comments. The article was on page 8 of The Argus on 13 October 1928. I'm not sure how to post a link on F.T.C., but if you copy what is in brackets and paste it in your search bar, you should go straight to the article.

I must confess that I'm not sure exactly where TURNER'S was. In BEFORE THE JETPORT, I've shown it at Melway 4,B-F 12 south of the east-west section of McNabs Rd. Keith will be able to confirm if that is a correct interpretation of what he told me at about the time I drew the map in 1998.

Donald mentions Turner's Ford which I presume would have been near where a southern extension of the n-s part of McNabs Rd. would intersect the river, perhaps near the island shown at the bottom of 4 E-F 12.

In an attempt to find more information re TURNER'S I did a trove search for GLENGYLE ESTATE KEILOR. I was staggered when I found that Edward Wilson's new estate comprised nearly 1500 acres in 1863. This must have been most of the 917 acres in section 1 Tullamarine (of 917 acres) and George Annand's grant, section 2 Tullamarine (of 640 acres and called "Annandale")which altogether covered 1557 acres. the original homestead near the ravine is NOT the building you're referring to. It (the ravine) was the Arundel Creek running from Melway 4 E3 to join the river at 4 J2.

The article link is:

"The western boundary of the farm is the Deep
Creek, and on the east is the property of Mr
Guthrie, on the road to Broadmeadows."
The above indicates that the Guthries were leasing (probably 400 acres of) section 3 Tullamarine fronting Broadmeadows Rd and Sharps Rd west of it. The farm was approached from the south east corner, (on the track that became Annandale Rd.)


Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.