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Journal by itellya

I recommend that you read my HILL HILLIS and GRACEFIELD journal first.

The McKeown grants at Red Hill are discussed at some length in my Red Hill and Hill Hillis journals.Colin McLear has much information about the family in his A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA, mainly on pages 86-7. As shown earlier, the family's move to Dromana would have occurred in 1885 the year he vacated Musgrove Farm and occupied Gracefield, not 1889 as stated by Colin.

Colin lists James and Catherine's twelve children,providing the birth and death year of each.(if you would like the details request this in comments.) James and his second child,Henry, built the Aringa Guest House in about 1892 on the corner of Foote and Clarendon Sts. (It will be interesting to see if we can find which corner from the 1919 rates!) There is a picture of Aringa on page 49. Confusingly, Colin said, on page 130, that the land set aside for a National School,on the north westcorner of McArthur and Clarendon Sts, was part of the site occupied by McKeown's Aringa guesthouse.

Only two of the seven daughters married and the idea of establishing Aringa was to provide the girls with a livelihood. Colin vaguely states that only one son married but luckily I can find out his name from a man who was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia on Australia Day, 2013 for services to the community and veterans. He is Ian McKeown, a retired soldier and long-time member of the Dromana Historical Society. It was Henry (b.1865 d. 1916) whose descendants carry on the McKeown name;Edith was the last of James and Catherine's offspring to die, apparently having chalked up a century (1886-1987), but had become Mrs Bill Dyson.The other daughter to marry was Maud (1876-1945), who married Archibald Vine Shaw.
A descendant of this marriage has requested Cr Graeme Pittock to have a reserve near Edith Place and Atunga Terrace named the McKeown-Shaw Reserve.(Copy of letter at museum in DROMANA FAMILIES folder.) Edith Place was probably named after Mrs Bill Dyson.

Colin said that Bill was the only son who stayed in Dromana and the others moved away to work for the railways or P.M.G. Colin was born too late to know of Arthur's orchard at Melway 159 F 11. Arthur was probably forced off his land by the depression which started shortly after Colin's birth. James (1867-1935), the third child and second son, was one of the railway employees.


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 JAMES HUTCHISON McKEOWN, formerly of Dromana, in the State of Victoria, but late of Branxholme in the said State, station master, deceased, intestate, left unadministered by Isabella Hervey McKeown of Aringa, Dromana aforesaid, spinster, deceased, the administratrix of the said estate may be granted to Ethel May McKeown, of Dromana aforesaid, spinster, a sister and one of the next of kin of the deceased.
Dated this 20th day of May 1935 WILLIAM S COOK A, MCCALLUM Temple Court 423 Collins street Melbourne. (P.1, Argus,30-5-1935.)

It mystifies me that beautiful Eva (photo on P.87 of Colin's book) did not find a husband. As well as her looks, Eva, who was fond of ferns, needlework and painting, regularly won prizes related to those interests at the Dromana show. Eva would have been about 16 at the time of the Boer War, in which her brother Ernie fought, and she may have given her heart to one of his comrades who never returned (and could never marry another.) Sounds like a good plot for a women's weepie anyway!

Ernest went to the Boer War with 5VMR (VICTORIAN MOUNTED RIFLES) and settled on the land in Queensland after this elaborate welcome home.
DROMANA. A troop of horsemen rode as far as Mt. Martha to meet and escort back Trooper M'Keown. The cavalcade formed up two deep and gave three cheers. A saddle horse being provided, our soldier had to mount and take his place in the ranks. Reforming, they rode back to Dromana, two greys leading, on one our gallant 5th man, on the other our veteran of the Seaforths, bearing the ensign which was floating gaily over the other's head. People rushed forward to greet the warrior; bouquets and bows were given. At the school Mr Rogers gave the children a few words of Imperialistic exhortation and called for three cheers. Our hero was then escorted home and invited to the social that evening by Constable Edwards.

A concert and social was held in the Mechanics' Institute on 1st May to welcome home Trooper E. M'Keown, of the Fifth Contingent. The hall was packed and crowds at the door could not get in. Amongst the returned soldiers were Troopers Allison and Purves. The weather was perfect and everyone seemed to come together for a real night's enjoyment, and they were fully satisfied ere the meeting terminated. Was nought wi'oot the lassies, 0 !" And the committee were wise in emulating that great king's example in calling on the ladies to help. The result was that the bare walls of the hall were transformed into a leafy bower-verdant with graceful fronds, bright with many a flower ; a special item being a large "Welcome home," in cotton on a red ground, and neat khaki rosettes, with red white and blue ribbon, the handiwork of Mrs H. Wilson.

With rural punctuality, i.e.five minutes past time, Constable Edwards took the chair, a duty which he filled with more grace than ease, but he was favored with the handling of a good programme, each number being filled and well rendered, besides being very appropriate,such as "The Old Brigade," "The Young Brigade," "Charge of the Light Brigade," "Deathless Army" and, best of all, "Home SweetHome," by Mrs H. W. Wilson.

A special feature of the evening was a presentation of a travelling bag to Trooper M'Keown from his friends and town men. The bag is fitted with all toilet requisites and a silver plate, suitably inscribed outside. The
honor of presenting fell by election on Mr Buchan who, wearing the medal and clasp for Imperial service in Central Asia Chitral-spoke feelingly on the sore point in connection with the Fifth, and said many people condemn those gallant men, themselves never disturbed at night by more than a fox in their hen house, whereas
that troop of men were placed in one of the most trying ordeals men were ever called upon to endure, but they had behaved right well, and so wisely that Wilaumsrust, as far as they are concerned, was no bug-bear on the history of Australia, but, with all the other gallant acts, went towards the great flag of peace which, if slowly, was surely being woven o'er the veldt of South Africa. "We present this bag to you," he said, "as a token that we esteem you as a townsman and admire you as a soldier and a man." Trooper M'Kcown suitably
responded, after which " Rule Brittania" and "National Anthem" brought the enjoyable proceedings to a close. Supper was then served in true Dromana style, and games and dancing occupied those who are of the " light fantastic' till the sma' oors o' the morn. Amongst those who contributed to the musical programme were Messrs Rogers, Wheeler, Simpson, Moore, B. Wilson and Miss E. Boag.

The festive spirit of Dromana was fully gratified on Tuesday night at an "At Home," given by Mr and Mrs M'Keown, of " Aringa," in honor of their soldier son. Seventy-three people assembled and a happy evening was spent by one and all. Untiring in their efforts the Misses M'Keown, ably assisted by Miss Kellet, were able to see their preparations developing into fruition of full fun and frolic Young folks, old folks and folks of middle age in each room--some few and some more numerous--engaged according to taste in different games-shooting gallery, quoits, music, singing and dancing.

Supper was served at 11 p.m, during which one person, at least, got a shock and surprise. Mr Buchan was quietly listened to as he gave an account of how, when the the Caledonian Singers were being driven by Mr F. Counsel, a horrible accident was averted by his (Mr C.'s) careful and steady handling of the 3 horse team. A bolt had broken in the brake lever, consequently the pressure relaxed and the drag got away on the horses. It was on Red Hill cutting it occurred, where certain death for a few moments stared us all in the face, but to a kind and gracious providence we felt our gratitude was to our plucky driver, and I was commissioned by the Caledonian Singers to present you, Mr Counsel, with the token of their gratitude and regard (The article
consisted of a neat morocco case, enclosing two razors) Mr Counsel showed by his silent eloquence that he was too much taken by surprise to speak, too grateful to express his feelings.

A hearty vote of thanks was passed to Mr and Mrs M'Keown and family for the happy evening. The roosters again being awakened early by the sound of retreating hoofs at - o'clock.

(P.2, Mornington Standard, 10-2-1902.)

Colin was born in 1928, so this helps to give a time frame to his statement on page 86: "The Gracefield orchard was a magnet in my childhood for the local boys with a streak of Huckleberry Finn in them. By then Bill McKeown looked after it and here he kept hundreds of beehives, the honey from which was marketed by Barnes Honey. He also traded honey and vegetables down the Peninsula." (Mr Barnes, who had a holiday house in Rosebud, probably organised the contract himself.)

In 1900, James McKeown was assessed on 250 acres, 14 acres, 2 lots, Kangerong. Pretty meaningless, but at least you'll remember that the 250 acre property was "Gracefield". We'll possibly get some detail on the others later. The penny dropped in 1910 and James was assessed on the 22 acre Gracefield homestead block instead of the whole 250 acres.He was also assessed on 1 lot 2 of 3 Dromana,and 14 acres 2 lots and buildings Kangerong.

Arthur John McKeown,orchardist, of Dromana was also assessed in 1910. Arthur (1873-1937) was the sixth child and fourth son. He had 34.5 acres (four fifths of 2, 11, 13, 14 Kangerong) and 36 acres near tower (late Rudduck) Kangerong. The description again is vague but luckily I had researched the exact 36 acres in the course of writing ADAMS'CORNER.

Crown allotments 5 and 6 of section D of 18.0.20 and 18.0.13, a total of 36 acres and 33 perches, were granted to Captain Henry Everest Adams on 27-11-1863. This land was located on the western side of Towerhill Rd and today adjoins Arthurs Seat Park to the north and west, its southern boundary being a straight line just north of Arthurs Seat Rd and touching in places,with its corners at the parking area near Arthurs (Hotel) and Seawind Lane/Fitzgerald Rise (part of Towerhill Rd.)Roughly,its location can be given as Melway 159 right half E11 and left half F11, with Nestle Court being on c/a 6.

Adams' neighbour across Towerhill Rd was George Henderson, a butcher and Flinders and Kangerong shire councillor, and Ben Hards who had a large grant across Pindara Rd in the parish of Wannaeue also received the grant for allotment 4, downhill from the old sea salt's grant. As you can see, "near tower" was a fairly apt description of the 36 acres. Was it just a bushblock? In the notes I made, the land was fenced by 1874 (soon after Henry's son, Robert Henry Adams had married the 19 year old Mary Jane Hopcraft, Gentlewoman, with Robert claiming that his parents had married before his birth!) Mary Jane had soon resolved not to live in the same house (later called Hopetoun House, on the site of the McCrae Carwash) as Henry not only over-indulged in the consumption of his Vivyan Vineyard produce but wanted Mary Jane's children to try it.By 1877, Robert had applied for a lease of land in the acute angle formed by the north end of Tucks Rd and Mornington-Flinders between the grants of William Hopcraft across the former road and John Hopcraft across the latter.

By 1880, the young couple had virtually kicked the captain out of Hoptoun House and he went to live with friends in South Melbourne. He didn't live much longer. I've spent two hours or more looking, in vain, for a circa 1880 advertisement placed by Captain Adams who was leaving the district and wished to sell his 36 acres.

THE Friends of Mr HENRY EVERIST ADAMS,of Dromana, are respectfully invited to follow his remains to the place of interment,the Melbourne General Cemetery.(P.8, Argus, 4-11-1881.)

NOTICE is hereby given, that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication of this notice application will be made to the Supreme Court of the Colony of Victoria, in its Probate jurisdiction, that PROBATE of the LAST WILL and TESTAMENT of HENRY EVERIST ADAMS, late of Vivyan Vineyard, near Dromana, in the colony of Victoria, landowner, deceased, be granted to Eliza Adams, of Vivyan Vineyard, near Dromana aforesaid, the widow of the said deceased, and sole executrix named in and appointed by the said will.Dated this 7th day of November, 1881.HUGHES and MICHIE. 53 William-street, Melbourne, proctors for the said Eliza Adams. (P.3, Argus, 7-11-1881.)

By 1882, Robert Adams was assessed on the 36 acres,a situation repeated until 1887 inclusive. In 1888 an unknown person was leasing the 36 acres from the owner, R.Adams. From 1889 until 1896 inclusive, Nelson Rudduck was leasing the 36 acres from Robert Adams.From 1897 to 1903 Mrs Jane Rudduck (not a widow!) was assessed on 136 acres (100+36) and in 1906 on 36 acres near the tower.I think that this is a reasonable chain of evidence that the Rudducks had Henry Everest Adams' grants.

By 1919, Arthur had 66.5 acres, being crown allotments 3 to 6 of Section D, Dromana (Township.) This took his boundary north to adjoin the present back fence line of the houses on the south side of Wunda St (Melway 159 F9.) He may have been forced off his land by the depression circa 1930 while Colin McLear was still a toddler, which would explain why Colin remembered Bill but not Arthur.

Bill had 23 acres and orchard, crown allotment 2, section E, Dromana (Township.) This is a poor description because c/a 2 consisted of 15 acres and 14 perches. I believe that the 23 acres was a description of c/a 1 of 23 acres and 2 roods immediately over Palmerston Ave from Verdon St. To quote Colin:"(James and Henry) also developed another orchard on the side of Arthurs Seat above the head of Verdon St." I believe crown allotment 2 was called the orchard and Bill, still tending the Gracefield orchard and keeping hives there as well, lived on c/a 1. Therefore his land was between Towerhill Rd and Caldwell Rd (adjoining Gracefield) from Palmerston Ave (the freeway) to the Maud Rd/Michael St midline. I believe that when Bachelor Bill died, the 23 acre c/a 1, fronting Palmerston Ave was left to his sister Maud (Mrs Archibald Vine Shaw), after whom Maud St seems to have been named, or perhaps a portion, with another portion going to Mrs Bill Dyson (nee Edith McKeown)after whom another street would appear to have been named.

James McKeown's mystifying 14 acres in 1910 was probably crown allotment 2, section E, Dromana Township of 15 acres and 14 perches, where he and Henry "had developed an orchard above the head of Verdon St,the same block that I presume was Bill's orchard in 1919." His two lots, Dromana, were probably crown allotments 9 and 10, section 2, Township of Dromana,granted to fellow Red Hill pioneer, F.E.Windsor.Being on the north (beach) side of Clarendon St between Foote and McArthur Sts, this makes sense of Colin McLear's claim that Aringa was: (a)on the corner of Foote and Clarendon; (b)on the north west corner of McArthur and Clarendon.

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by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-02-01 22:41:56

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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