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THE FIRST EUROPEAN OWNERS OF MELBOURNE AIRPORT, DAVID DUNCAN AND WILLIAM THOMPSON.

Journal by itellya

The website of the PORT PHILLIP PIONEERS GROUP includes articles from its newsletter. One of these articles is entitled "Port Phillip Pioneers Register" and consists of extracts from the register.

Thomas Napier was an early resident of Melbourne, and his son, Theodore, whose biography can be found in Alexander Sutherland's "Victoria and its Metropolis: Past and Present" was born there. Thomas bought land at Strathmore and much detail about the Napiers is given in Bruce Barber's website about Strathmore's history.The Rosebank mansion was built close to the site of the original house by Thomas's son-in-law, Barbour. Theodore's Magdala was burnt down in 1927. Magdala was so named in relation to a family member famed for his military exploits in India. Theodore left Napier Park to be preserved in its natural woodland state and Strathmore was named after a valley near Thomas Napier's birthplace.

David Duncan and his wife, Alexina, came out on the "David Clark" in 1839 (as did, if my memory is correct, the McNabs of Oakbank and possibly John Grant of Seafield, who first settled at Campbellfield).The article describes David Duncan's role in the formation of what became the Royal Agricultural Society.The first show took place on La Rose in 1848. This farm, occupied briefly by Dr Farquhar McCrae, who had leased "Moreland" to Michael Loeman, became the property of Coiler Robertson, who built the grand bluestone mansion in Le Cateau St, Pascoe Vale South. Coiler was the father-in-law of Peter McCracken of Ardmillan and the father of James, who built Trinifour in Park St. THESE ROBERTSONS WERE NOT RELATED TO JAMES ROBERTSON OF ANOTHER GOWRIE PARK AT CAMPBELLFIELD AND JAMES ROBERTSON (FATHER AND SON) OF UPPER KEILOR AND ABERFELDIE.

Section 14 in the parish of Tullamarine was granted to William Thompson and David Duncan. The southern boundary of the 640 acres is indicated by a westernly extension of the line of the east-west part of Melrose Drive, which was Grants Rd, and the western boundary by McNabs Rd. The location of the airport terminal is on 80 acres of section 15 which was the Payne's pig farm "Scone" (with a long o)when purchased for the airport.

As the editor of Victorian Historical has mot yet returned my material, I have to rely on memory again in stating that David Duncan and the McNabs were original trustees of the Bulla Presbyterian Church on the corner of Uniting Lane (Melway 177 G9.) Also, because I do not have my DHOTAMA, that William Thompson was related to the wife of James Robertson of Upper Keilor, according to Deidre Farfor, a descendant of the Robertsons.

The following comes from "Early Landowners: Parish of Tullamarine" by Ray Gibb.
On 17-6-1854, David Duncan paid George Annand, David Duncan and James Robertson (obviously William Thompson's executors) 1500 pounds for the late William Thompson's half share of the 640 acres. On 18-9-1854, David mortgaged the 640 acres to George Annand for 1000 pounds and on 6-9-1855, he sold 80 acres (separated by Bulla Rd in 1847) at the north east corner of section 14 (Melway 5 A4)to Thomas Rogerson for 1200 pounds.
It was probably David Duncan who called the farm "Gowrie Park." A proposal to rename streets in Melbourne Airport in honour of aborigines, early settlers and aviation pioneers in 1989 was killed by
the powers that be after new names had been decided, but Anthony Rowhead, F.A.C. inspector, named the new street near the Liquor Locker as Gowrie Park Drive.
The property existed as one farm, and sometimes two. On 15-12-1857, Charles Duncan commenced a lease on 96 acres (block A, section 14)at a rent of 120 pounds per annum. This land which became known as "Gowrie Side" was acquired from the Donovans for the airport, with the remainder of Gowrie Park bought from Bill Ellis.Its frontage on the east side of McNabs Rd went south for 20 chains (400 metres) from the Mansfields Rd corner.

On 22-8-1859, David Duncan and his wife Alexina mortgaged 553 acres 2 roods and 35 perches to Peter Sharp for 2000 pounds.On 28-2-1863, they sold "Gowrie Side" to Francis Merson for 585 pounds one shilling.On the same day, they mortgaged the southern portion, "Gowrie Park Farm" to Francis Merson for
1200 pounds. On 26-8-1874, Merson reconveyed Gowrie Park Farm to John James and Malcolm Ritchie. They may have been David's heirs or executors, perhaps they married David and Alexina's daughters. The Ritchies of "Aucholzie", west across McNabs Rd, owned Gowrie Park for some time.Circa 1920 it was used as a landing field, and was one of the sites proposed for the state's major airport, during James Lane's tenure.

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on 2011-11-21 20:06:39

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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Comments

by itellya on 2011-11-26 05:58:26

See the J.T.Smith and his electors journal under McCracken re the presentation to David Duncan for his work as treasurer of the farmers' society. He and William Thompson obviously had a corn mill.

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