THE TRUEMANS OF TOOTGAROOK, VIC., AUST.
EXTRACT FROM MY PENINSULA DICTIONARY HISTORY ABANDONED IN 2011 WHEN I JOINED FAMILY TREE CIRCLES.
Lime Land Leisure gives a few details of this pioneering Tootgarook family and unfortunately many are wrong. So rather than start at the very beginning of my findings, I will start at the end; a seventeen page Trueman genealogy supplied to me by Heather Spunner, the wife of James Trueman’s great grandson, Graeme Spunner. The whole of this will be provided to the Rye Historical Society but my summary will begin at page 3.
The family moved around but within the county of Wiltshire. Jeffrey was born in All Cannings in 1719 and died there in 1791, likewise for his son, Thomas, (1743-1810). His son, Thomas, was born at the same village in 1774 but married at Collingbourne Ducis in 1799 and died there in 1841. His son, William, (1800-1870) entered and left the world in this new village. It is of interest that his wife was Jane Bennett, whom he married in 1822. I wonder if Jane was the aunt of Tom Bennett, a peninsula pioneer, and if Tom arranged for James Trueman to come to Tootgarook as a labourer indentured to James Purves. There is little evidence that James would have been able to pay for his passage.
The family seems to have been locked into poverty. Jeffrey was buried by the parish because he had insufficient funds. The same generosity was required for the burial of his son, Thomas’s wife, Elizabeth. William Trueman, Jane and their six children were the recipients of charity from the parish of Collingbourne Ducis in 1837, when money was raised to buy coal for the poor of the parish.
Their first child was James Trueman, born 16-6-1822 in Chute, Wiltshire, which seems to have been Jane’s home village as she died there in 1865. Some of his sisters were Ann, Elizabeth, Ellen and Sarah; I have included them here because no death details have been supplied and one of them could have been the grandmother of the mysterious Mrs Libbis.
James was described as an agricultural labourer in the 1841 Census. He married Jane Cook (b.1827 in Collingbourne Kingston, Wilts.) on 6-6-1850 in Collingbourne Ducis, and in 1851 they were living in Maddington, Wilts. Their first child, Annie, died after living just one month, all 38 days in Collingbourne Ducis. George Trueman was born on 2-3-1852 in Maddington and Henry was born in the same place on 30-9-1855.
Thus when James and Jane boarded the Sabrina at Southampton on 24-1-1857, they had two boys with them, but unfortunately young Henry was destined never to see their new home. He died near the Cape of Good Hope on 10-3-1857. Their passage was swift and they arrived at Hobson’s Bay on 13-4-1857. George must have preferred the open road to farming; he was listed as a carter and James was not impressed with his work on the farm and overlooked him when dividing his grant. He died on 10-10-1932, apparently a bachelor. The other five children were:
SARAH b.1857 Pt Nepean, d.1936 Dromana. Married Charles Moat 1891.
ELLEN b. 1858 Tootgarook, d.1899 Parramatta. Married Henry John Cook.
THOMAS b.1863 Tootgarook, d.1925 Dromana. Married Matilda Elizabeth Geary 1899.
WILLIAM b.20-3-1866 Tootgarook, d.1949 in Wangaratta. Married Elsie George 1901.
JOHN b.1870 Tootgarook, d.1943 in Sorrento. Apparently a bachelor.
Thomas and Matilda had two daughters:
Gladys Emeline Nellie b. 1901, married Andrew Seator in 1932.
Bertha Matilda b. 1906 Pt Nepean, d.1985 Caulfield. Married Lester Brooksbank 1941.
William and Elsie had four children:
Albert Edward b.1902 Tootgarook, d. 1975 Tootgarook
Married Florence Annie Dark 1921.
William b.and d. at Tootgarook 1904.
Frederick James b. 16-1-1908 Pt Nepean, d. 3-11-1959 Sydney.
Married 1. Olive Runciman:child-Linda (McKay)
2. Zita Muriel Hunter at Auburn NSW in 1942.
Nellie May Trueman b. 4-7-1911, d. 27-4-1967 Melb.
Married Frank Ernest Spunner 18-7-1931 Sorrento.
James Trueman died in 16-4-1904 at Pt Nepean and was buried at Rye Cemetery. His wife, Jane died in 1908 at Pt Nepean. It is likely that the cash-strapped government had dispensed with the registrar at Rye so that deaths had to be notified at the quarantine station. As Thomas had the part of the Trueman property bought by Raymond Guest and Thomas died in 1925, I wonder which family member occupied the farm until c.1948. Was it Mrs Libbis?
James Trueman was granted lot 47 in the parish of Wannaeue (consisting of 112 acres) on 5-7-1877. It was on the west side of Truemans Rd, between farms granted to S.Stenniken, near the beach road, and Robert Rowley Snr. It is possible that James had selected the land at least a decade earlier. Linda McKay has confirmed that family folklore has it that James ran some sort of taproom or hotel on the Purves’ Tootgarook Station, which adjoined his farm at the midline of Morris and Keith Streets.
The following information was supplied by Linda McKay of Rosebud, who is a Trueman descendant, and lived on the property until 1938.
It is not known whether the Truemans had a lime kiln but it is likely that James was quarrying limestone on his property. He donated limestone for the building of the Anglican church in Rye (still standing in Lyons St opposite the cemetery, and heritage-listed.) According to LIME, LAND, LEISURE, their neighbours to the north, the Stennikens, did so too.
Some of James Trueman’s children were William T., Thomas, John, George, Ellen and Sarah. The Moat family obviously supplied details of Sarah’s marriage for Lime Land Leisure. (See MOAT-TRUEMAN in the FAMILY CONNECTIONS entry.)
Charles, son of William Moat, married Sarah, daughter of James Trueman. Details about Charles and their children, and possibly Sarah, can be found on pages 27, 35, 47, 52, 54, 55 and 61 of RYE PRIMARY SCHOOL 1667 by Patricia Appleford.
I believe that a female member of the Trueman family married and gave her daughter the Christian names: Stella Elizabeth Trueman, and that the latter married Ernest William Libbis.
TROVE; THE ARGUS, 1-11-1945, PAGE 18, ADVERTISEMENT.
ERNEST WILLIAM LIBBIS, late of Rosebud, guest house proprietor deceased-
After14 days Stella Elizabeth Trueman Libbis of Rosebud, widow, the executrix appointed by the deceased’s will (dated the 23rd July, 1945) will apply to the Supreme Court for grant of probate of the said will, leave being reserved to Ernest Charles Libbis of Rosebud, concreter, the executor appointed thereby, to come in and approve the same at any time. James P.Ogge LL.B Solicitor, 165 Greville St, Prahran.
Mrs S.Libbis was running the Narooma Guest House (Rosebud) in 1947-8 according to John Berry’s accommodation index. It is interesting that Narooma was the town in which Fred Trueman settled in N.S.W. His daughter, Pam Shepherd, is still in Fred’s house.
William T.Trueman married Elsie who died at the age of 54. The details of her death were reported in the Argus. On Monday, 18 February, 1935, Elsie was driving a jinker along Pt Nepean Rd when the horse bolted and she was thrown out of the jinker striking her head. It says much about the volume of traffic in those days that Emily was “found” unconscious. Once alerted, William and his son in law, Frank Spunner, rushed Emily to Melbourne but she had died and the hospital would not accept her body. Think of the sad return trip that William and Frank would have made! As there was no grave available, Elsie was buried at Rye Cemetery with Thomas Trueman who had died in 1925.
There is more interesting detail about Emily but first I will mention their children. Frank Spunner had married their daughter, Nellie. The Spunner family had started as limeburners with a kiln near the foreshore (front beach), just on the Melbourne side of Hughes Rd but some time after 1920 some members had occupied land south of Eastbourne, probably on land granted to Lovie and occupied for many decades by the Crichtons of Glen Lee. This was not far from the Trueman property, which would explain the family connection.
A son of William and Emily found a wife in much the same sort of way that his father had. His name was Fred and he was the father of my wonderful informant Linda McKay. The telephone line was being installed in about 1932 and a chap called Jim Black had come down from Melbourne for this reason, bringing his wife Silvia (Runciman). Fred befriended Jim and was rather taken by beautiful Silvia when he first saw her. He asked jokingly, “Any more like that where she comes from?” Jim probably answered that Silvia’s sister Olive was a bit of a sort too. Fred had probably been too busy growing vegetables (with pumpkins being his principal crop) to have time for womanizing so here was a heaven-sent opportunity.
Fred and Olive married but in 1938 they separated and Olive took Linda back to Melbourne to live with Grandma Runciman. Linda probably appreciated being able to walk without having to look down-for snakes. Their abundance was one of her main memories of the farm.
During the war, Fred was apparently involved in running the Corowa P.O.W. camp where the famous break-out occurred. Fred stayed in N.S.W. and a daughter from his second marriage, Pam Shepherd, lives in Fred’s old house in Narooma. Now back to how Linda’s grandfather, William, met Elsie. There is no timeline on the following yet, but for some reason William’s brother, Thomas, (I suspect, much older) was at Beechworth. Because of the lack of markets, farmers had to leave the farm to earn money and perhaps Thomas was working alongside Hans Christian Hanson (Red Hill pioneer of 1887) “ a bridge building contractor and carpenter, who worked on all the bridges between Melbourne and Bright”. (Memoirs of a Larrikin P.9.)
Now, if there had been TV and programs such as Farmer Meets a Wife (or what ever they call it), the Trueman men might have left more descendants and information, but I think you’ll agree that Linda is doing a pretty good job of having this pioneering family recognized. In Beechworth, Thomas met Matilda, and (after he waltzed her-sorry, my humour gets out of hand after 1am) they married. Having a daughter of about 19, Matilda was no spring chicken. Thus Thomas arrived back at the farm with a wife and a grown-up stepdaughter. William seized this heaven-sent opportunity and married Emily.
John Trueman had severe arthritis and according to LIME LAND LEISURE was practically bedridden. After knocking over a lamp, he was unable to escape the resulting fire and died from his burns.
1864,65. Nil. James was probably running the tap room at Tootgarook Station and managing it while the Purves attended to their other properties* and traveled to Melbourne with horses to sell at Kirk’s Bazaar and for other purposes, which Hollinshed dwells on.) *See Purves entry.
POSTSCRIPT 2015. THE ONLY TROVE REFERENCE TO THE TAP ROOM FOUND IS PETER PURVES' APPLICATION FOR THE (FIRST) TOOTGAROOK HOTEL IN 1857.
1879.James Trueman (leasing from Crown) 112 acres. The grant was issued on 18-7-1877! See what I mean about errors being perpetuated in rate books through copying the previous year’s entries?
1900. James Trueman 125 (sic) acres.
1910. Thomas Trueman Rye farmer, 62 ½ (sic) acres 31b (sic)
William Trueman, Rye farmer, 62 ½ (sic) acres 31b (sic)
1920. Thomas Trueman, Rye, 56 acres, part crown allotment 47
William Trueman, Rye, 56 acres, part crown allotment 47.
See what I mean about errors being perpetuated? They had it right by 1920.
Unfortunately the microfiched rate records end at 1920, but as has been shown, at least half of lot 47 was farmed until 1938. The Stenniken grant had been offered for subdivision in 1920. (See STENNIKEN entry.)
The following information about the Truemans comes from Nell Arnold’s “RYE: A BOOK OF MEMORIES.”
It is understood that the first inn in the Rye area was the Tootgarook Inn built by James Trueman and dating from the early 1850’s.
The first building on the site of St Andrew’s Anglican church was a limestone hall built in 1866 that served as a school and a place of worship (probably shared by different denominations like Dromana’s Union Church). By the time it became a State School, it was in need of serious repair and when part of a wall fell down, schooling continued in a room attached to John Campbell’s hotel. A new school on the present site commenced in 1875.
There is a claim in LIME LAND LEISURE that the Stennikens donated limestone for the Church of England. Yet Nell Arnold backs up Linda McKay’s claim that the Truemans donated it. Can both claims be correct? With the original building no longer needed as a school, it was demolished in 1875 and the limestone blocks (probably donated by Stennikens circa 1865) supplemented by limestone donated by James Trueman (circa 1875) were used to construct the original portion of the present church.
The two small brass vases (very heavy) are in memory of Elsie Trueman, relative (ie. daughter in law and grand daughter in law!) of James Trueman. As she was the wife of William, she was a daughter in law and because she was the daughter of Thomas’s wife she was a grand daughter!
W.Trueman was in Rye Cricket Club’s first published team list of season 1890-1.
We must thank Marie of Tootgarook for the following information, given to her by Raymond Guest, who was her hairdresser in Canterbury. Raymond’s father, was also a hairdresser and looked after many TV stars including Panda, Graham Kennedy’s famous barrel girl on In Melbourne Tonight. He bought part of the Trueman grant in about 1948, probably after the Libbis will of 1945 had been finalized, and it is likely that the will involved Thomas Trueman’s 56 acres. See the GUEST entry for further details. I have managed to contact Raymond Guest and he has sent me a subdivision plan of the ALMARAY ESTATE (named after his parents, Alma and Ray.) Ray alerted me to neighbouring land being owned by a Mr Doig and another speculative phone call resulted in contact with Ron Doig and his wife, both local history enthusiasts.
(The following comes from Ronald Doig, whose mother was a Rowley.)
In 1939 Henry Doig bought part of James Trueman’s grant, most likely William Trueman’s 56 acres, which had passed to Fred. When Fred and Olive separated, Fred had probably sold the property before going to New South Wales because Henry Doig bought his land from Mrs Murkett. See the DOIG entry for details.
Streets on the Trueman grant are named after the Guest and Doig families.
No members of the Trueman or Libbis families are listed in The Sands and McDougall directories of 1950 for Rosebud, Rosebud West or Rye. However the ACCOMMODATION entry near the beginning of this work shows that Mrs S.Libbis was running the Narooma Guest house in the summer of 1947-8.
It is now clear that James Trueman built his house close to the boundary between his farm and James Purves’ Tootgarook Station. One would expect that he would have built it near the government road (Truemans Rd); the fact that he built it at the back of the block indicates that HE WAS WORKING ON Purves’ Tootgarook PRE-EMPTIVE RIGHT. It was this house that Thomas later occupied, and his 56 acre farm was subdivided by Alma and Ray Guest as the Almaray Estate. The Trueman house pictured in Joseph Dubois’ historical newspaper belonged to William Trueman and his son Fred. Harry Doig’s family lived in this house and Ron Doig’s photo (taken during their time there) shows little change except for the addition of iron ornamentation on the veranda. The Doig farm was subdivided as the Oceanaires Estate.
Finally, Ron Doig has confirmed that James Trueman’s taproom on the Tootgarook Station was the building that became the Bright family’s home. The Brights had a portion of Tootgarook Station,450 acres of which was the Jennings’ Rye Park.
The following detail comes from “Lime Land Leisure”.
James Trueman married Jane somebody. They had sons named Tom, William, George and John. A daughter, Sarah, married Charles Moat. Their marriage was said to have been the second performed at St Andrews Church of England ie. in 1875. They had a son named William, who married (Ada Campbell. This is wrong; William Moat married Ada Elizabeth Myers!)
Thomas Trueman married Matilda in 1899. William married Matilda’s daughter, Elsie.Their daughter, Gladys, married a son of Edward Williams of Chinamans Creek (Eastbourne.) Another daughter was named Bertha. Wrong! Gladys and Bertha were daughters of Thomas Trueman and Gladys married Andrew Seator.
Although the mystery of the Trueman-Libbis connection is yet to be solved, some great genealogical detail has been supplied by Heather Spunner of Berrigan, N.S.W.
James Trueman married Jane Cook on 6-6-1850 in Collingbourne Ducis, Wiltshire. Their first child was born in September 1850 but died in October. George was born on 2-3-1852 and had much more luck, living for eighty years before dying in Prahran in 1932. Henry was born on 10-3-1855. James and Jane, with their two boys, left England aboard the “Sabrina” on 24-1-1857 and they had a quick voyage, arriving at Hobsons Bay on 13-4-1857. Unfortunately young Henry died at sea on 10-3-1857 near the Cape of Good Hope. Sarah was born at Pt Nepean in 1857 and Ellen at Tootgarook in 1858. (They were probably both born at Tootgarook; birth records refer to the place of registration and there was probably no registrar at Tootgarook until 1858.) Their other three children were Thomas, William and John.
Ellen married Henry John Cook and Heather Spunner succeeded in tracing some of their children despite them departing the scene. See her findings in the Libbis entry.
Although there may be no relationship to the Truemans at all, it is interesting that a Stella Gladys Myrtle Cook obtained a divorce from Bernard Charles Cook (Sydney Morning Herald 14-12-1927 page 12.) Her three given names are shared with Stella Libbis, a daughter of Thomas Trueman and Ellen Trueman’s first child (Myrtle Cook).
on 2015-10-04 20:16:38
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.