THE FEMALE DROVER 2 (MOOROODUC, VIC., AUST.) (Pages 11-21.)
The Firth grants in Moorooduc parish can be seen on the maps I have included. The Balnarring grants are as follow, with Melway co-ordinates indicating location.
J.Firth 10A, 112.3.3, 162 D 8-9
Wm. Firth, 10B, 13B, 235.3.28, 162E 8-11
James Firth, 5, 319.1.23, 162 E-f 5-7 and fronting Balnarring Rd.
James married Ellen Benton, John married Kate Gilligan and William married Ann Scott.
(Ellen Benton was probably living on J.G.Benton’s 207 acres (193 A2-4, fronting three roads) about a mile south from James Firth’s Balnarring land. Kate Gilligan would almost certainly been the daughter of Thomas Gilligan’s widow Catherine who had 60 acres on the south west corner of Jones and Bungower Rds. Ann Scott was probably the daughter of Alexander Scott, whose allotment 62A, of 90 acres, was adjacent to that of the Gilligans, on the Webbs Lane corner.)
Leila Shaw has kindly provided me with a summary of a letter written by E.Firth following the drowning of a large proportion of the Mornington Football Club that is commemorated by the monument at the bottom of Main St. It follows in italics. Leila said that her address was given as Mornington but as I have found in googling on TROVE, most references to Tuerong and Moorooduc were usually followed by “Mornington”, so Leila’s belief that they were living in Stumpy Gully Rd could be correct. The letter was presumably written to her brother and sister in the Orkney Islands, Scotland.
A LETTER BY E.FIRTH, JUNE 9TH, 1892 by Leila Shaw.
June 9th, 1892.
In a letter to her mother and brother in the Orkney Islands, E.Firth tells of local footballers who went in a boat to play a football game at Mordialloc. On their return journey, the boat capsized and all fifteen men were drowned. She writes that her brother John’s two sons were amongst them. The second son, James, had been getting on very well for nearly three years in his trade with John Jenkins. (She doesn’t say which trade.)
The accident happened on 21 May, 1892. It was reported in many newspapers. They were a fine bunch of men.
John was out at sea every day searching for the bodies. All that he found were a coat belonging to one of the lads, at Sorrento, and not so far west he found a singlet, and a cornet that young Coles had been playing.
Further on in the letter, she writes that three bodies were found, one being John’s son and the other two were John Kenna and Mrs Batman’s son. The body of James was fully clothed but without boots. A military funeral took place the next day and “The Dead March” (sic) was played.
Miss Firth’s information is not quite accurate. Four bodies were found although my source does not specify their names. One of John’s sons must have traveled on the train. James Firth was 17 and John Kemp 18. Leila says that the handwriting was hard to understand and guessed Batman; it may have been Allchin. Victorian Historical Morn. Pen. P.4.
Mrs James Firth died in tragic circumstances in February 1923. Until sixty year later, the train used to cross Moorooduc Rd where the tourist trains are stored when not running to the Watts Rd platform. Middle aged Mrs Firth was driving across Moorooduc Crossing at a moderate speed when she saw a train coming. Moderate was probably a kind way of saying painfully slow; she probably thought the car would bolt if given too much rein! Certain that the car would be hit, she clambered into the back seat (according to a witness) and then jumped out of the car in blind terror. Ironically the car rolled out of harm’s way while Mrs Firth jumped right in front of the train.
Trove shows that the incident was reported in the Argus as well as in newspapers in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Hobart and Perth.
The Argus of 29-7-1916 reported the death of Sarah Renouf, the widow of Amise Renouf of Frankston, who died on 15-7-1916 at her daughter’s residence in Dromana. She was 95 and a colonist of 68 years. Strangely all of her children had the surname “Sawyer”, indicating an earlier marriage. Two of her sons had moved to the vicinity of Neerim but another two were pioneers of the locality known as Moorooduc and a daughter married into a prominent Dromana pioneering family. Her children were: L. and H.Sawyer (at and near Neerim), J.Sawyer(Moorooduc), F.Sawyer (Bittern), Mrs John Hopcraft and Mrs Jonah Griffith.
As my original area of research was between Safety Beach and Tootgarook, I think I can be forgiven for having a hazy recollection of information that I have noticed about places outside this area. I am sure a Renouf was a director of the Frankston Fish Company and it may have been Amise. David Renouf, who bought a block (which had seen many Floods since it was granted) from John Scott and named it Island View, might have been a son or nephew of Amise.
The same depth of knowledge exists in relation to Henry Prosser. I know that Henry was a fisherman and I think he owned farmland as well. Having deliberately ignored the Westernport area (so I wouldn’t get side-tracked), I’m not even sure whether he was at Hastings or Flinders. The fact that he stood against Alfred Jones in the East Riding of Mornington Shire in 1881 indicates that it could have been the former. He seems to have become a councilor. When some Government big-wigs came to Frankston, Cr Prosser drove them around the district.
It is possible that descendants of Henry later moved to Red Hill. Keith Holmes is adamant that the surname of the Red Hill family was Prossor but Hector Hanson recalls neighbours Norm and May Prosser near Tucks Rd. But what do the Prossers have to do with the Renoufs and Sawyers?
I googled Sawyer-Prosser on Trove in the hope of finding some details of the marriage. There I found information posted by somebody who must be researching the Hodgkinson family. It so happened that Sarah Renouf had been born Sarah Prosser and had married Isaac Sawyer. Jessie Sawyer, her son, who had a farm called “Summerlands (Annals 26-2-1921) had a daughter that married John Hodgkinson (born 1898 Daylesford). In the following, all deaths occurred in Victoria where no details appear.
Jesse was born in 1854 and died on 21-11-1925 at Mornington. (So his retirement, at 67, lasted only four years.) He married Mary Ann Coxshall at Frankton on 6-2-1878. She had been born at Moorooduc on 29-4-1858 and died at Schnapper Point in 1909. It is strange that the old name for Mornington appeared in records so long after the name change. A search of Summerlands on trove revealed that Jesse was living in View St, Mornington, at the time of his death (Argus 26-11-1925.) Mary Ann died at Summerlands on 3rd October (Argus 5-10-1909.) Their son, James William died at Mornington on 24-5-1948 (Argus 29-5-1948.)
I’ve heard of short pregnancies but this takes the cake (unless Sarah’s father was equipped for a bit of rabbiting after the wedding service!) It seems that Jesse was a frisky devil and that Mary Ann was not the type to develop a headache at bedtime. Or perhaps, she had developed a method to make all her pregnancies last only three months and nineteen days! With SP standing for Schnapper Point, here are the details of their fifteen children.
1. SARAH EMILY B. 25-5-1878.
2. ANNIE B.10-9-1879 SP
3. FREDERICK HENRY B.1-7-1881 SP D.1-4-1882 SP.
4. JAMES WILLIAM B.10-8-1882 SP D. 1948 MORNINGTON.
5. JESSIE B. 2-10-1883 Bittern D.14-8-1950 CHATHAM, VIC.
Jessie married James Alexander Johnstone (and other spouses.)
6. MARY ELIZABETH B.28-11-1884 SP D.1886.
7. ERNEST THOMAS B.8-5-1882 SP.
8. JOHN RENOUF B.10-7-1887 SP.
9. ETHEL MAUDE B. 16-8-1888 SP D. 24-6-1969.
10. ALICE RUBY B. 20-1-1890.
11. HILDA MAY B. 12-5-1891MOOROODUC.
12. HENRY ISAAC B. 5-9-1892 D. 25-9-1892.
13. WINIFRED FRANCES B. 1-12-1893.
14. GRACE B. 11-2-1895 D.1973 MENTONE. M. John Hodgkinson.
15. HAROLD STEWART B.12-7-1898 MORNINGTON, D. 29-1-1963 ELSTERNWICK.
It is likely that Isaac Sawyer had died and his widow had remarried by 1887 when John Renouf Sawyer was born and named.
Mrs John Hopcraft- See the Sawyer land in Wannaeue.
Mrs Jonah Griffith.
I quote from page 69 of Colin McLear’s “A Dreamtime of Dromana”.
Jonah Griffith died on July 12, 1933, aged 83. He was married to Sarah Sawyer and had seven children.
1. Maud Alice 1871; 2. Edith Annie 15/11/1873-1953; 3.Delia Sarah 5/3/1874-1951
4. Gertrude18/8/1876; 5. Sylvester Frederick George 1872 (1882?);
6. Harry Lewis Theobald 23/1/1885-27-3-1954; 7. Grace Dora 26/10/1889-1977.
Jonah, known as Doan, was a builder and a professional fisherman working closely with Harry Copp. He lived in Seaview Parade off Jetty Rd (Melway 159 H8).
Colin has plenty of information about the Griffith family. Doan’s father came from Philadelphia with his wife Sarah and (probably) Watson and Bernard Eaton. Bernard was the gold miner and father of Maud Eaton. Hollinshed lazily called him Mr Eaton because Colin did not know his Christian name.
THE SAWYER LAND.
In 1879 Frederick Sawyer was leasing 142 acres in the parish of Wannaeue from the Crown. There were only three Crown allotments of this size and Professor Hearn already had two of them. This left only 21B of 142 acres 3 roods and 1 perch, granted to Alex. Shand Jun. on 1-6-1909. This land is fairly well indicated by Melway 190 D9 and C-D10.
And guess who had the land north of his. John Hopcraft. Guess who had 178 acres (70 A and B, Balnarring) to the north and east of the start of Tucks Rd. William Hopcraft! Directly across the road (69A Balnarring) was Robert Henry Adams, whose “gentlewoman” wife, a Hopcraft girl, refused to live at Hopetoun House with the ungentlemanly old sea salt, Captain Henry Everest Adams. Both Frederick and Robert did not extend their licences and their land was granted, respectively, to Shand and M.Byrne. The Hopcrafts moved further south later and the Hansons occupied William’s beautiful house and called it Alpine Chalet. (Sources: parish maps, rates, marriage certificate of Adams-Hopcraft, Adams family legend, “Adams Corner” Ray Gibb, “Memoirs of a Larrikin” Hec Hanson.)
In the FAMILY CONNECTIONS entry of my PENINSULA DISTRICT HISTORY, I demonstrate how the bride and groom met each other. In most cases the two families were at some stage very close neighbours. Fred Sawyer was in 1879 the neighbor of John Hopcraft, the man that his sister married.
The grants in this parish are described in the 26-2-1921 entry in the Annals of Moorooduc.
There is a chance that Summerlands was in the locality of Moorooduc rather than the parish of Moorooduc. The former included the parish of Bittern. After careful measurement in Melway, I have concluded that the location of Summerlands as given in the advertisement of 26-2-1921 is nonsense. There is no way it could have been 8 miles from Somerville and still be near Moorooduc. Perhaps the distances were written in figures and a typesetter misread a 3 as 8. The corner of Coolart and Tyabb Rds would be about 5 miles from Mornington and 3 miles from Somerville.
GOMIN Henry, Somerville. (HENRY GOMM!)
This is how the surname Gomm is rendered on the Kingston Heritage website (where his father’s surname is given as Gunn) and in Victoria and its Metropolis: Past and Present, published in 1888. In the latter, Henry stated that he had been born in
Oxford in 1839, had come to Victoria in the same year and had spent his whole life in farming pursuits. There was a Henry Gomm, born in 1835, who came to Australia in early 1838 but no mention of one who was born in 1839 and came to Australia in 1839.
My interest in Somerville Henry Gomm was aroused when I read Leila Shaw’s “The Way We Were” because the seaside block now housing Jetty’s Café near the Rosebud jetty was granted to W.Gomm in late 1872 and Harry Gomm paid the rates on it in 1900 and 1910, although the directory for Rosebud in 1895 did not list him as a resident.
I thought Henry’s 1888 biography was suspiciously brief and that the lack of detail was an attempt to hide something. When I made contact with Henry’s great grandson, Murray Gomm, he told me something that increased my suspicion that Somerville Henry was the lad born in 1835. (This Henry was the third child of Henry Gomm who married Hannah Neal and was transported to Hobart in 1836!) The snippet that caused my suspicion to increase was that the family legend had it that that Henry had come to Australia on the same ship as Tommy Bent. The future Premier of Victoria was actually born in Penrith, N.S.W. Was Henry manufacturing a new past?
Thus began an investigation of “The Mysterious Henry Gomm” that eventually proved that Henry was not related to Convict Henry and that William Gomm (who died at Hastings) and Thomas Gomm (who died at Dromana) were Convict Henry’s sons. My book, “The Mysterious Henry Gomm”, which is virtually a diary of discoveries, starts with information about Rosebud, adds information from Leila’s book and then traces the unraveling of the mystery. As it involves much information about Somerville Henry and Convict Henry’s families, and St Kilda-Cheltenham as well as Somerville, it will be made available to the Somerville-Tyabb Historical Society, Parkdale Library (Kingston City’s Historian) and the Prahran Mechanics’ Institute. It includes many photos of Henry Gomm’s “Glenhoya” provided by Murray Gomm. As my poem on the back cover relates many events relevant to the Annals of Moorooduc, I will include it here, but there is not enough room for the other 33 pages.
SNIPPETS FROM THE BOOK.
Paddy Gomm’s two sons were Somerville Football Club legends but were also enterprising in their working careers. Billy rose to a high position in the Lands Department but was also Melboune’s biggest S.P, bookmaker. He dressed like a real yobbo on the farm and once drank with Reg Ansett at the Mornington races wearing a shoe and a gumboot! George ran a prize-winning dairy farm in Queensland, gave Colin Hayes his start in racing, and saved a ghost town in N.S.W. and the Somerville Hotel.
The Gomms were related by marriage to two other pioneering families, the Shepherds and the Firths. George Gomm married a Wilson girl from Red Hill.
Convict Henry Gomm’s son, William, who died at Hastings, left his elderly, first wife and started siring children with a 20 year old.
Henry Gomm was granted land in the parishes of Tyabb and Frankston ( Gomms Rd area) but his “Glenhoya” where he settled at the north east corner of the parish of Moorooduc was not bought from the Crown.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PADDY GOMM Argus issue
When little sis Beatrice went to Graf at Ascot Vale
Paddy gave help so their marriage wouldn’t fail;
Her rejection by Henry was a sorry tale
So he’d take her food when he went to a Newmarket sale.
Big sis Minnie Ann witnessed three deaths by suicide:
Stan Clarke and Janet Ross when their love expired, 5-11-1921.
And hubby, George Shepherd, when his pain grew too great,
Made use of a shotgun to seal his fate. 28-6-1932.
H.T.Dicker, a bookie of Highfield Estate, took his life,
Mainly due to grief over the death of his wife; 4-9-1901.
And near-blind Herb Murray chose to expire
With the aid of knife and shotgun and fire. 13-9-1946.
Tommy Bent, Paddy’s dad’s old mate
By 1906, was Premier of the State
And opening the Annual Fruitgrowers’ Show
Told why his Brighton cabbages did abundantly grow.
A field day at J.Byrne’s Binnak led to orcharding finer, 19-8-1933.
Caldwell’s St Johns sent the first fruit trees to China, 9-10-1936.
In early Fruit Shows J.Docwra’s exhibits were beaut
And in ’44, fire destroyed the hall for displaying fruit. 9-3-1944.
Of her milk production, J.Hutchins kept tabs;
Best Jersey in the Empire was Somerville Babs. 16-2-1925.
Webb had found great clay on his land;
Construction of his Pottery Works was in hand. 24-3-1902.
Mornington-Somerville played footy in 1937, a depression-caused merge.
If William Coleman had settled here, what a goalkicking splurge!
But his 33 acres were further back 22-7-1925.
And Hastings got the kid known as Deadshot Jack. (Coleman google.)
After 40 years, to replace the school came a push:
“In poor condition and now in the bush!” 3-10-1912.
Grasshoppers, thrip, black spot kept orchardists’ hands full
Did I mention J.Firth was gored by a bull? 3-2-1936.
LESLIE M. MOORHEAD wrote centenary books for several schools in the area, and while brief, they present the history of each community very well. The old church that was responsible for the Quinns becoming Presbyterians was built by public subscription but most of the money came from Richard Grice, James Butchart and Mrs Balcombe. Dick Smith berates the lack of generosity from the haves in today’s society but a walk through Mornington shows that the Balcombes did much for the community. No doubt Grice and Butchart were just as public spirited.
The church served as the first school. In 1865 an application was sent for aid, the payment of a master’s salary and for the school to be brought under the Common Schools Act. It was signed by members of the Blake, Benton, McKay, Matthie, Absolom, Norman, Wilson, Connell, White, Quinn, Andrews, Ricketts, Smith, Flood and Dunkerly families. It was pointed out that there were 64 children living within a two mile radius of the school. An inspector was sent out to assess the situation and reported that most of the inhabitants were woodcutters and labourers rather than farmers but were likely to stay in the area, ensuring a stable population.
Thirty two children attended when the school commenced, so the area had obviously been populated quickly and probably by the offspring of pioneers in areas closer to Melbourne. Rickett’s parents had obviously been early settlers near Beaumaris (fine sea). Many of Somerville’s pioneers, such as the Gomms and Docwras had come from the same area. Henry Gomm was about 26 at this time and it is likely that many of the settlers were of about the same age.
Blake was a captain, presumably a sailor. Benjamin Benton received the grant for 26A of 32 acres across Moorooduc Rd from Tuerong Rd and much land in the parishes of Bittern and Balnarring. He supplied timber for the Mornington pier.
J.H.Ricketts received the grant for 18a Bittern on 4-6-1884. He might have been leasing this land from the Crown at the time he signed the petition for a school, and being one of the many poor woodcutters on the area that the Inspector described, he probably took about 20 years to pay it off (the value of improvements deducted from the purchase price.)
S.Absolom received the grant for 11A and 11B Bittern, 100 acres, on the north east corner of Stumpy Gully and Graydens Rds. W.S.Absolom was granted 34 A Bittern, of 69 acres, on the south west corner of Coolart and Graydens Rds.
The parish of Bittern was south of Tyabb Rd and East of Derril Rd, which was parallel to Stumpy Gully Rd. Today, Derril Rd curves around the Devil Bend Reservoir whose waters cover the grants of George Dimmock, James Connell, F.P.Wagner, J.Ferguson and R.Turner in the parish of Bittern and part of Rennison’s grant in the parish of Moorooduc, where the Schnapper Point Handicap was conducted in 1868.
The following maps show the portions of the parish of Moorooduc that became, along with parts of the parish of Bittern, the locality of Moorooduc.(PAGES 18 AND 19)
Andrew McKay received the grant (title from the Crown) for allotment 5 in section A, 266 acres south of Tyabb Rd between Moorooduc and Derril Rds. Wilson was possibly J.B.Wilson of Tuerong Station or E.M.Wilson, granted 10D adjoining the east side of the Tuerong pre-emptive right. It could also have been Henry William Wilson who lived where Three Chain Road meets the highway before changing his occupation from bullocky to butcher. In view of the fact that the Wilson signature is followed by that of Connell, I believe that it was the founder of the butchering empire who signed.
James Connell received the grant for allotment 12 near the boundary with Kangerong and Bittern parishes. It was probably James whose rates on 50 acres and a hut in Dromana (probably 27C Kangerong at Melway 161 A7) were paid for him by Wilson at the deathknock on 20-1-1865. The rate collector didn’t know much. As well as not knowing the given names of Connell and Wilson, he didn’t realize that the name Dromana only applied to land west of McCulloch St.
Colin McLear tells us the following. The Connells were tenants on Jamiesons Special Survey in 1851 or shortly thereafter. (Anthony Connell’s block was probably near the one later occupied by Henry Wilson.) A descendant of Anthony’s was a silent partner of Jack Rudduck in Mornington Station in the Kimberleys in the 1950’s. Mornington Station was near Fitzroy Crossing 300 miles inland from Derby.
The Connell and White children were among the pupils of a school that operated near the Hickinbotham Winery site in the early 1850’s. This school may have closed when the teacher’s wife died or because two private schools had been opened in Dromana by Quinan and Nicholson. Its closure was probably the impetus for the establishment of a school in Moorooduc.
Anthony Connell was obviously the forerunner of the Connell family in the area. He received the grants for allotments 27 and 29, totaling 337 acres, all or part of which became the rifle range.
In 1910, James Connell, a farmer of Mornington, was leasing 238 acres (lots 3-6 of Bruce’s) and James Connell, a farmer of Tuerong, was leasing 230 acres (lots 1,2 of Bruces.) This land was just south of Ellerina Rd in the parish of Kangerong. I presume that would be James senior and James junior. Bruce’s was the northern section of the Survey fronting the Sea Lane, which is now called Bruce Rd, and is the boundary between Kangerong and Moorooduc parishes.
The White and Quinn families have already been mentioned and it was probably a descendant of the next signatory, Smith, who bought Peter White’s farm on Three Chain Rd. I wonder if Matthie should be Mathieson. Margaret Matheson (sic?) was the grantee of 57 acres right across the road from the old church. James Flood had lot 75 of 178 acres on the north west corner of Stumpy Gully and Tyabb Rds and much land south of Tyabb Rd in the parish of Bittern.
Quinn, Norman, Smith and Dunkerly were not grantees, They probably bought part of a pre-emptive right or a Crown Allotment that had been granted to a speculator. Quinn’s farm was part of Sumner’s P.R.
FROM THE PARISH MAP.
Francis A.Gillett received the grant for 11C of 320 acres on 14-4-1874. Gillett Rd and the Woods Bushland Reserve are now on the allotment. Like James Purves, pioneer of Tootgarook Run, Francis Gillett must have been an architect. He designed Manyung at Mt Eliza and then built Sunnyside nearby. (Shire of Mornington Heritage Study P.16.)
He or his son must have married a Van Suylen girl from near Hastings. He was appointed a magistrate of the central bailiwick in 1885, his residence given as Sunnyside..
South of Gillett’s grant was 11B of just under 240 acres where a race meeting was probably held in 1868.It was granted to Thomas Rennison, owner of the Schnapper Point Hotel in Mornington, which is now the Royal. When advertised for sale in the Argus of 9-12-1950, it was called Tuerong Valley and the quarry was bringing in four pounds a week.
It has been nearly 20 years since I read Richard Broome’s “Between Two Creeks” but I believe that he mentioned Robert Mailer as a pioneer of Coburg.
I believe that the forerunner of the Sherwood and Counsel families were master nurserymen who obtained their expertise on the estates of the rich and aristocratic in England. The Counsels tended the vineyard of William Grace on Gracefield (Melway 159 H11) and later owned the property. As well as the 520 acres shown here in Moorooduc, the family had a grant of 121 acres in Kangerong and grants in Balnarring and Bittern parishes.
ISAACS AND WHITAKER.
I believe that Isaacs and Benjamin were two money lenders who signed on as joint grantees and were then bought out (with interest) by their co-grantees. Isaacs and Bensilum were granted a block in Fingal and Benjamin and Marks were granted a block on the west corner of Boneo and Pt Nepean Rd at Rosebud. Whitaker’s descendants may have owned a bus company that did tourist runs to the Peninsula from Melbourne, dropping off and picking up from Dromana, Rosebud, Birkdale* and Rye.(*Tootgarook.)
John Campbell left Dromana with William Cottier (who established the Rye Hotel in Dromana in 1859) soon after they had signed a letter supporting an application for Quinan’s school to be made a Common School in 1861. They built a hotel east of Lyons St in Tootgarook and gave it the same name, which led to Tootgarook being renamed Rye. Whether this grantee was the Rye pioneer is unclear because he was still involved in this area in about 1889.
It is possible that some of the Bulla family had moved south. Bulla had a high concentration of Irish pioneers, as did Keilor. The Bulla Catholics, such as the Crottys who worked for Brannigan at St Johns (at the end of St Johns Lane), attended St Augustines in Keilor where Hannah O’Neil (who married John Sullivan) may have been in the congregation if she was the daughter of William O’Neil of Horseshoe Bend. How strange that the names of GILLIGAN, O’NEIL and SULLIVAN are among those of Somerville pioneers!
See details under Dalkeith.
Visit The Briars and find out all about this public spirited man who was always ready to support the little man’s interests, as the Mornington Shire Heritage Study shows. The monument just off Main St shows the community’s love of this benefactor. His farm’s name comes from the family’s estate in the Channel Isles.
McLENNAN, McKAY, FIRTH, TAIT, JONES, ALLAN, SCOTT.
See the annals of Moorooduc.
on 2012-03-10 13:51:38
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.