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This journal resulted from a quest to confirm a theory that a building,the remains of which are shown in an aerial photo of portion of Dromana taken after the bushfires of December 1939, was the Kangerong guest house. My motto is USE IT OR LOSE IT now because I have often failed to find articles on trove that I have read in the past such as Watson Eaton's testimony that he'd never attended university or received any medical training, or my current problem of finding when Dromana was split over the proposal to relocate the post office from the Foote St corner.

Like George Smith's Wooloowoollboolook,Desailly's run on the peninsula has often been mentioned and I think I have seen a reference in a heritage study to it being on the southern side of Arthurs Seat's summit. The only actual place whose location I've been able to determine is Desailly's waterhole near which Victoria's second duel took place between Meyrick and Dr Barker. This was near the bend in Maxwell Rd in Melway 252 J6. (Location based on a map in Charles Hollinshed's LIME LAND LEISURE.)

This extract pertains to the family of Dr Desailly (who was on the staff of Sydney's hospital in 1832 and whose descendants married into the Dr Godfrey Howitt family and were valued members of the Camperdown community- none of which was mentioned in Billot and Kenyon's article.)

The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) Saturday 7 December 1935 p 4 Article

No. 103
SOMETHING of the Desaillys has already been told in this series of articles, but there is much more. Dr.Francis Desailly, who was born in London in 1772, came over from Van Dieman's Land after having been in partnership
with Captain Harrison at Jerico. With him were his sons, Francis and George.

They arrived in the ill-fated Britannia on April 1, 1839. As agent for Sir John Owen, Dr. Desailly took up Fulham, on the Glenelg, in 1841, but legal troubles supervened, and the run was transferred to George Fairbairn, who represented the Simeon Lord estate. Subsequently Fulham fell into the hands of George Armytage, of Bagdad.

Meanwhile Dr. Francis Desailly went to Gippsland and acquired a run a few miles from Sale, then in the possession of a Sydney firm John King and Co. The Gippsland run was also named Fulham,and was held by Desailly till 1853.

The sons, Francis and George, went to Edward Hobson's Kangerong and Tootgarook stations, on the eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay, where now Dromana stands. Hobson, a grandson of Dr. Luttrell, surgeon at Hobart Town, and a friend of another Desailly (Dr. T. A.), who was assistant surgeon at the Colonial Hospital, Hobart Town, was the first to settle in that locality.

Robert Jamieson, who for a time held all the country from Arthur's Seat to Point Nepean, persuaded Hobson and the Desaillys to accompany him upon an expedition to explore Westernport Bay.They took three blackfellows with them. They carried a whaleboat across the peninsula, and in it visited all parts of the Westernport Bay. The result of the expedition was that Jamieson sold out most of his holdings,including Cape Schanck, to Willoughby and Thomson, and they in turn sold to John Barker, who later was for 40 years clerk of Parliament.Jamieson then moved to the head of Westernport, and he called his new province Torbinurruck, now Tobin Yallock.
Francis (jun.) and George Desailly remained at Arthur's Seat for some time.

Meyrick(a member of the family after whom the area known as Merricks is named)talks of Edward Hobson at Kangerong in his book Life in the Bush...
Before the close of June 1837,he (Hobson) moved down the bay past Arthurs Seat and took up the country between the present day townships and Rye*.His run, known to Henry Meyrick as PACKOMEDURRAWARRA became best known as Kangerong or Tootgarook." (P.25 of Colin Mclear's A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA.)
*It is not certain whether Edward Hobson's run comprised all the land between Ellerina/ Bruce/Foxey's Hangout Rd and Government Rd, Rye at the same time, but he had moved past Arthurs Seat before Hugh Jamieson purchased his special Survey in 1841. The purpose of the above is to explain that "Henry's friend at PACKEMEDURRAWARRA" in the following article was Edward Hobson.

"And Some on—the Wallaby Track" BOOKS OF THE DAY
The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) Saturday 16 March 1940 p 34 Article Illustrated
... , the two boys, in order to be near Maurice, took up some land on Westernport, about half-way between ... . Finally they decided it was hopeless to stay at Westernport. Henry, on the recommendation of a friend ... 2520 words

Narre Gullen was probably Coolart. The Desaillys probably sat on the fence when two versions of the duel at Desailly's waterhole appeared, given that one version was written by Howitt, who received many grants in the parishes of Fingal (west of Boneo Rd and the Cape Schanck turn off road) and Flinders(fronting Boyds Rd.)

This extract from the above mentioned book of the day details how Henry Meyrick's life ended in the Thompson River in 1847 in an attempt to get medical attention for Mrs Desailly.

In May, 1847, Alfred and Henry were invited to stay at the station of Mr.Desailly, on the Thomson River. Mrs.
Desailly, whose confinement was expected, became suddenly ill. Desailly dared not leave his wife, and asked Henry to ride to Alberton for a doctor. The Thomson River was flooded at the time.To save time Henry insisted on swimming the river on horseback, despite Desailly's protests. Horse and man were sweptdown stream. By some means Henry lost his hold on the horse, and was drowned in midstream. Desailly witnessed the tragedy, powerless to give any assistance.

Next day Mrs. Desailly and her child both died. Henry's body was not found until a fortnight later.That is the story of one man who helped to make Australia. The final tragedy of the death of Henry and the mother and child must be typical of many such that have never been recorded.
"LIFE IN THE BUSH 11840-1847)," by F. J.Meyrick (London: Thomas Nelson); 10/.

1 comment(s), latest 3 years, 4 months ago


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!

5 comment(s), latest 1 year, 8 months ago


Found this while chasing Bulla/Broady and Mornington connections.

Messrs. A. E. Gibson and Co. report having sold by private contract, on behalf of Messrs. James Harrick and Son, 200 acres at Tullamarine, being the eastern portion of part of Crown portion 3, to Mr. George Mansfield.
(P.21, Argus,5-3-1910.)

Gordon Connor told me that George had built the Dalkeith homestead in 1910. Spot on!

Section 3 Tullamarine, granted to William Foster and consisting of 640 acres, fronted the north side of Sharps Rd, Tullamarine west of Broadmeadows Rd. The northern boundary,Post Office Lane,is indicated by the north boundary of Trade Park industrial estate. It also fronted the road to Broadmeadows Township (now Mickleham Rd) to the Londrew Court/Freight Rd midline. William inherited and returned home with his younger brother,John adding William's 1280 acres to his own "Leslie Banks" between Fosters Rd (now Keilor Park Drive)and the river.

In 1847 a road was declared between North Melbourne and Bulla. Land north east of it was leased in portions and soon David William O'Niall had established the Lady of The Lake Hotel just a triangular 1.5 acre block* south of the Derby St corner.(*This still exists,with a Melrose Drive frontage the width of a fence post, and was part of section 6.)Broombank (Millar Rd, Tadstan Drive) and the Junction Hotel and associated land (Northedge and Andlon/Londrew Courts)took up the rest of the triangle.

What is now Trade Park was sold to Methodists such as Charles Nash and Ann Parr and the Methodist Church was built on the north corner of the present Trade Park Drive in 1870. Before that the Wesleyans had bought a one acresite on the bend in Cherie St and established a Wesleyan School in 1855 that operated until 1884 when the Conders Lane school opened on the present Link Rd north corner,also replacing the "Seafield" school.

South of the Catherine Avenue/Janus St Midline,the remaining 400 acres were bought by the Kilburns who called it"Fairfield". David Milburn,Victoria's first irrigator, seemed to be leasing it in 1868 and it was later leased by the Williamsons for many years. James Harrick,whose homestead is now the museum of the Keilor Historical Society later bought the property and split it into two 200 acre farms. The farm west of the Fisher Grove houses became Michael Reddan's "Brightview" (later Doyle's "Ristaro") while the eastern half was Dalkeith. This was owned by George Mansfield, T.and Ernie Baker (who had a bad accident), Tommy Loft* (who subdivided 40 acres for the Dalkeith Ave, Eumarella St and Gordon St housing), Leslie King Dawson and Moorooduc's former postmaster, Percy Hurren, who'd earlier snored during sermons while near Red Cliffs, according to Mrs David Shepherd.
(*Tommy Loft called a meeting to form the progress association in 1924 and in 1929 had Squizzy Taylor's haunt,the Junction Hotel closed, much to the displeasure of the local drinkers.His son,Ray, married Maggie Millar,lived at 3 Eumarella St,leased and then owned "Broombank",hence Millar Rd,and had a son named Gordon,after whom Gordon St was named.)


The WARNING can be found at the end of the journal.

This journal arose from the one about Melbourne Brindle whose father bought 30 acres of the Gracefield Estate and established "Sunnyside". It was apparent that James McKeown owned the Gracefield homestead while young Melbourne was living there from 1904 till November 1918 as he shows the homestead which is labelled McKewen (sic). The homestead was the same distance from Boundary Rd as the Sunnyside house, both being on the same latitude as the westernmost point of Hillview Quarry Drive (Melway159 J9.) The Sunnyside house would have been near Sayvon Court and the Gracefield Homestead was probably near the CharmaineSt/Dorothea Cres. corner with Gracefield Ave being its driveway; the corner of Gracefield Ave and Sunset Way was probably the northwest corner of the final, much reduced homestead block.Why do I say this?
An unusual double right angle bend in a road such as in Price St (Melway 28 B2) and Henderson Rd (5 G10)is an indication of a remaining homestead or part of a property being sold off before the whole property is subdivided into normal house blocks. Price St bends around the reduced house block of William Hoffman's "Butzbach" by then the Croft family's "Buckley Park". The Hendersons had sold part of their farm to Mr Champion who built the brick post office that had to be demolished when Henderson Rd was made. Another clue is a mainly straight street with a slight dogleg in it. This usually indicates a boundary between two subdivisions, crown allotments or even parishes. One street that indicates a subdivision boundary is Levien St (28 F5.) The streets that cross the Moonee Ponds Creek(see map 29)have a bend to the south east as you approach the creek from the west because the crown allotment boundaries in Doutta Galla (west)and Jika Jika did not quite line up. Streets sometimes have a dog leg just before they meet a main road (that does not run E-W or N-S) but that is just so they meet the main road at 90 degrees. Enough of that; back to Gracefield!

Gracefield, crown allotment 5, section 3, of 249 acres 1 rood and 34 perches (249.4625 acres) was granted to William Grace.It was bounded by Boundary Rd, with 291 Boundary Rd indicating its south east corner, Arthurs Seat Rd and Caldwell Rd. There is no date on the Kangerong parish map to indicate when the grant was issued but it may have been in the late 1850's.He was on the property in the first Kangerong Road Board assessment of 1864. He planted a vineyard which was tended by the Counsels.

William also bought land fronting the Esplanade(beach road)and backing onto Palmerston Ave from Arthur St to about Marna St and another (nearly) 38 acres that became the Seacombe Estate adjoining Karadoc. A search of the Nepean Division would be necessary to confirm it, but I suspect that William moved to Rye by 1869. In 1868, he was assessed on 249 acres (Gracefield) and 130 acres (crown allotments 2, 3, 4 and 7, section 1, Kangerong, that is, the land fronting the beach road at Dromana.) By the assessment of 1869,he seems to have sold Gracefield to Henry Young and the beachfront land except the 38 acres near Seacombe St.

William was a grantee on the Beachfront in Rye Township as well.This block is easy to describe as it contains the original section of the Rye Hotel bearing the stone stating "Mrs Hunt, 1927 etc". His daughter,Ellen,married Patrick, son of Dennis Sullivan,who built the Gracefield Hotel on William's grant.In 1927, Mrs Hunt replaced the 80 year old Gracefield and renamed it the Rye Hotel.

It is possible that the Sullivans met the Grace family through Catherine Sullivan who was granted 15AB Wannaeue of 152 acres (Melway 171 B-C 10-11) on 31-10-1858 and probably used Bryan's Cutting (along the eastern boundary of Gracefield), via 171 H1, to have a drink at Watkin's hotel or do her shopping at Holden's nearby store in Dromana. It is due to Melbourne Brindle that I now know where Bryan's Cutting was.

Colin McLear referred to Bryan's Cutting in A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA. John Bryan was thought to actually be Bryan Watson, a deserter from the British army. He moved into Mary Ann McLear's "The Willow" on the Survey when she established Maryfield and later moved to the top of the town common where he was engaged in timber-getting. The cutting, very steep and mainly used by bullock teams, according to Sheila Skidmore in her THE RED HILL, was the closest to the summit of Arthurs Seat. As my Kangerong parish map has the wedge-shaped area adjoining Gracefield on the east (that is now part of Arthurs Seat Park along with the middle third of Gracefield)labelled Gravel Reserve, I was unaware that it was originally the town common.

On page 37 of THE RED HILL, Sheila (who thought it was Brien's Cutting) discussed the three cuttings, William Henry Blakely's Crestmobile and James Holmes' accident in 1913, when Melbourne Brindle would have been about nine years old. The chain came off Holmes' motor buggy, and the brakes failed to prevent the car rolling back over a steep bank and overturning.I thought it obvious that this accident had happened on Eaton's Cutting Rd (Melway 160 E9 to 190 E3, a delightful walk)where Thiele was killed, until I saw Melbourne's map.

On the map, Hillview Quarry Drive (Melway 159 J9) is labelled TO ARTHURSSEAT-BRYANS OLD PLACE. Heading straight uphill from the bend, alongside Grace field's eastern boundary are double dotted lines labelled PATH TO ARTHURS SEAT & TOWER PAST BRYANS. That the land adjoining Gracefield on the east was the town common is proved by Arthur Brindle's application in late 1904 to clear 25 chains on his eastern boundary.

FLINDERS&KANGERONG SHIRE COUNCIL.. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29. Present :-Crs Clark (President), Marsden, Nowlan, Cain, Oswin, Buckley, Shand, Davies, and Shaw. CORRESPONDENCE.(14TH LETTER)From Arthur L. Brindle, Melbourne, requesting permission to clear half a chain along the reserve side of his block, part of the Gracefield Estate, for a distance of 25 chains. - Permission granted.(P6, Mornington Standard, 5-11-1904.)

On Melbourne's map he has an arrow pointing to Hillview Quarry Drive, as it is now known, in other words, Bryan's Cutting,with the text HOLMES' MOTOR BUGGY USED TO CHUG UP HERE.

THE WARNING!(Rather, the warnings!)
A. Don't take anything in rate books as gospel, especially when it involves the Southern Peninsula. The first Flinders Road Board assessment of 1869 stated that almost every ratepayer owned his land and later assessments revealed that many of them were leasing it from the Crown.As in the case of Joseph Simpson of Red Hill, many new residents were overlooked and had to be added in an amendment after councillors had already signed the record. As you will see below, James McKeown was still paying rates on the whole of Gracefield despite the fact that the Brindles had been occupying 30 acres of it for some years.
B. This arises from my trip today (29-1-2013) to deliver the Milleara Railway Station Estate plan to Bob Chalmers. While in the big smoke, I decided to get a Kangerong parish map from the P.R.O.V. for the Dromana Historical Society. It seemed the same as mine but as I was about to write that the date of the issue of the grant for Gracefield was not on the parish map, just on spec, I looked at the map I obtained today. This one did have the date of issue. The second warning is this. There are many versions of parish maps and the one you see may not be the original one. There are maps of the Tullamarine, Doutta Galla and Bulla Bulla parish maps dating from the boom times of the late 1880's which record the names of speculators such as Herman in Tullamarine, and later occupiers of crown allotments such as Gillespie in Doutta Galla.If your ancestor's name appears on a parish map, do not take it for granted that he was a grantee!

There is no indication of when William Grace was granted crown allotment 5, section 3 Kangerong on my Kangerong parish map. However as intimated above, the date of issue appears on a reasonably similar map that I obtained today. The date of issue was 9-3-1857. William Grace was assessed on 249 acres and 130 acres of building land from 1864 (the first Kangerong Road Board assessment.) The building land (actually 131 acres 2 roods 6 perches ) was between Arthur St and Marnia St consisting of crown allotments 2-4 section 1 Kangerong,and crown allotment 7 near Seacombe St. These details were unchanged in 1868 but in 1869, William was assessed only on 38 acres. Thus began a search of the whole riding to determine the new occupant of Gracefield.

It was Henry Young who had 249 acres; William Heywood's 250 acres having also been occupied by him in 1868 and Abraham Griffith's 250 acres almost certainly being on the Survey, being a slight increase on the 210 acres of 1868. Whether Henry had bought, or was leasing, from William Grace, he was there also in 1870. In 1871, Gracefield was advertised for sale and seems not to have been assessed.
(My apologies for repeating some information. Submitting edits has been like Russian roulette with so many hours of text lost that I had to check if I had pasted the 1871 advertisement.)



To Capitalists, Vignerons, Agriculturists, and Others. GEMMELL, TUCKETT, and Co. havo received instruction from Mr. R. Kerr, as agent for the proprietor, to OFFER for PRIVATE SALE, at thelr rooms, 49 Collins street west,
All that valuable farm, Gracefield, Dromana,comprising 250 acres of superior land, on the north slope of Arthur's Seat Hill, well fenced, grassed, and abundantly watered, with six- roomod brick house, slate roof,outbuildings, &c, with two roomod cottage, large cellar, &c. Seven acres planted with 1000 trees of the best descriptions of fruit ; eight to nine acres of the choicest vines in full bearing.etc.
(P.2, Argus, 25-2-1871.) A similar advertisement appeared on page 1 of The Age on 4-4-1871, the only real difference being that the printer had forgotten a zero, shrinking Gracefield to 25 acres.

In 1872, Richard Counsel was assessed on 250 acres and a 5 roomed house. His assessment in the previous year had been on 121 acres, almost certainly crown allotment 21A, Kangerong of 121 acres 1 rood and 27 perches, granted to C.Counsel on 27-6-1876, and fronting the north side of McIlroys Rd (No. 146) and including Melway 161 D10. Colin McLear stated that several members of the Counsel family tended the grapevines that William Grace had planted and as the 1872 acreage is right, it can safely be assumed that the Counsels were on Gracefield. (The sixth room in the above advertisement was possibly a kitchen that was detached, so probable fires would not engulf the rest of the house, and not considered in the evaluation.)

In 1884 James McKeown was assessed on 215 acres,Balnarring (i.e. 73 A and B, later known as Glenbower,the name of McKeown's house, and Wildwood.) In 1885, he was assessed on 250 acres, Kangerong (Gracefield)having sold his Balnarring land to the Sheehan family. On 21-9-1903 and 1-9-1904 James McKeown was still assessed on the whole 250 acres of Gracefield and there would be no reason to expect anything else.

FLINDERS&KANGERONG SHIRE COUNCIL.. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29. Present :-Crs Clark (President), Marsden, Nowlan, Cain, Oswin, Buck ley, Shand, Davies, and Shaw. CORRESPONDENCE.(14TH LETTER)From Arthur L. Brindle, Melbourne, requesting permission to clear half a chain along the reserve side of his block, part of the Gracefield Estate, for a distance of 25 chains. - Permission granted.(P6, Mornington Standard, 5-11-1904.)

Dromana, with its unsurpassed beach and beautiful fern gullies, is becoming more popular every year as a healthful holiday resort for visitors, a number of city doctors have spent their holidays here this season, and they commend it as being one of the healthiest watering places along the bay. A good inquiry has set in for township allotments, and some prominent city gentlemen have secured blocks. Brindle Bros., decorators, have purchased some of the Gracefield estate, and have commenced to build a residence.
(P.5, Mornington Standard, 18-2-1905.)

One would expect the acreage on which James McKeown was assessed to drop by 30 acres (the Brindles' "Sunnyside") by the 1905 assessment, but no, it was not until 1910 that any adjustment was made.Part of the problem was that the Brindle land was called "allotment and building, Dromana". If it had been described properly (as Cr Terry demanded)a need to reduce the "Gracefield" acreage would have been more evident.

In 1910 James McKeown was to be again assessed on 250 acres but 250 has been crossed out and changed to 22 acres, part 5 section 3. In the 1915 assessment still had the 22 acres and buildings and another 10 acres in crown allotment 5 section 3.

McKEOWN.-On the 10th March, at Gracefield, Dromana, James McKeown, aged 89 years.(P.11, Argus, 13-3-1920.)
James must have been in a bad way at the time of the 1919 assessment because Mrs Catherine Townsend McKeown was assessed on the 32 acres on c/a 5 section 3. The rate collector must have assumed that James had already died or he would have written Catherine's name as Mrs James McKeown; a female ratepayer's name was not recorded with her own given names unless she was a spinster or a widow.

By 1910 it can be assumed that Arthur Brindle had the whole 30 acres of "Sunnyside" because the observant 6+ year old Melbourne would surely have mentioned it if his father had added another 10 acres or so afterwards. James McKeown had 22 acres (or perhaps 32 if he also had the 10 acre block assessed in 1915.) Therefore we are looking for a ratepayer assessed on an unspecified 200 or 190 acres in Kangerong. George Robert Dyson had 203 acres Kangerong and Henry George Chapman, Dromana's blacksmith had 204 acres and buildings, Kangerong.

In 1919, Henry George Chapman had almost 24 of the 35 acre c/a 4, section 1, Kangerong between Pier St and roughly Marna St. He was also assessed on 101 acres, part 27A, Kangerong. C/A 27A consisted only of 51 acres and 24 perches so what the rate collector should have written is: 101 acres 27A and 27B,the latter being exactly 50 acres. crown allotments 27A and 27B, at the north east corner of Harrisons and Dunns Creek Rds, had been granted to George Peatey, but he found it too wet for farming so he and wife, Susan, moved to a 2 acre block at the south corner of Jetty Rd and McDowell St in Rosebud in 1888. (PINE TREES AND BOX THORNS, Rosalind Peatey.) It is likely the blacksmith's land in 1910 included these 125 acres and that he did not occupy the bulk of Gracefield at that time.

This leaves George Robert Dyson as the only possible occupant of the bulk of Gracefield in 1910. The 1919 ratebook entry seemed to show that he had 303 acres in crown allotment 3 section 3 (at least that's what I wrote in my transcription.) The handwriting was so terrible that I sometimes took five minutes before I could hazard a guess about what a letter or numeral was, so the actual translation could be 203acres, c/a 5 section 3. Incidentally,the Brindles left in November 1918 and I could find no mention of Sunnyside (30 acres, crown allotment 5, section 3 or its new occupant.

Is there any evidence to indicate that George Robert Dyson could have been on Gracefield in 1919, and by extension 1910? "Charlie Dyson's son, George, planted two orchards flanking the upper reaches of Pier St. In the 1930's many of the apple trees were still there but the land has been subdivided and formed the Panoramic Estate...." (Colin McLear, P.84.) The Panoramic Estate, with street names indicating views of Macedon, the You Yangs etc is on the east side of Jetty Rd, being c/a 12, section 1 of 62 acres on which George Robert Dyson was also assessed in 1919.According to Melbourne Brindle's map and Colin, George Dyson's house was on the west corner of Jetty Rd(a road that probably did not exist or was a continuation of Pier St in name as well as actuality, hence Colin's "upper reaches of Pier St".)It appears that Jetty Rd was called Pier St.

DYSON.-On July 27, at Dromana Bush Nursing Hospital, George Robert Dyson, ofPier street, Dromana, dearly loved husband of the late Mary Dyson, loving father of Bob, dearly loved grandfather of Mary (Mrs Jenkins), aged 79 years.(P.2, Argus,28-7-1944.)

George Dyson was connected to James McKeown as a result of Bill Dyson marrying Edie McKeown. Bill, known as "Squeaker", was a son of George's brother, Jack,if I interpret page 84 of A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA correctly.

Armed with shire of Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows rates and Maribrynong, Doutta Galla, Jika Jika, Tullamarine, Bulla Bulla and Yuroke parish maps,(all of which I thought I had put into safe hands when I moved to Rosebud), I was able to specify exactly the boundaries of farms in a triangle bounded by North Braybrook Township (south part of Avondale Heights), Goonawarra near Sunbury and Roxburgh Park.

As in the case of the Flinders Road Board from 1869 to 1874, these shires listed ratepayers geographically so as I scrolled through their names, I could trace the rate collector's "mental" location on the parish map. Even if the location of farms was not specified (crown allotments), I knew exactly where they were. If someone sold or leased the farm, the new occupant would be listed between the same neighbours as the old one had. If a crown grant was leased in parts, it was not difficult for the rate collector to check acreages of parts to ensure that they added up to that given on the parish map.

Peter Nowlan was the first secretary of The Shire of Flinders and Kangerong in 1875. Living in the Flinders Road District he may have had a hand in deciding that its ratepayers would be listed geographically in 1869. The Kangerong Road Board was the senior partner in the merger to form the shire in 1874. The first undated (possibly 1963) page of (parish of) Kangerong Division which survived to be recorded on microfiche starts with: Mathews. McLear, McCrea Doctor, Marshall, Moat, McLear, Mitchell etc. This was obviously an attemptto use alphabetical order (and spell correctly!)

Matthews should be after Mc and the two McLear entries should follow each other, so you can see that the idea of alphabetical listings was causing problems, even with a very small number of ratepayers. Not one property was specified so that its location could be determined, the closest approach being the use of Dromana, Red Hill or Survey.If you were recording all the people at a meeting, how would you like to do it alphabetically?
Alphabetical listing is great if you are researching a particular family from year to year or if a rate collector had to check a ratepayer's claim that he had already paid his rates. But it imposed an enormous extra workload! Once subdivisions such as Warrawee started, the number of ratepayers exploded and to have assessments ready on time, the previous year's record was laboriously copied (including errors which often persisted for years)with any changes shown by crossing out the old name and replacing it with that of the new

I believe a strong-willed councillor from the Kangerong Road Board area (Kangerong, Fingal, Wannaeue and Nepean parishes), someone like John Cain, persuaded the first shire council to adopt alphabetical listing. The workload that resulted is probably the reason that rate collectors did not have time to worry about the exact location of the properties or to record changes in property size.

The case of the assessments of Arthur Brindle and James McKeown illustrate the lack of information about property location and size. Surely if Brindle's property had been described as house and 30 acres, "Sunnyside", part crown allotment 5, section 3, Kangerongin 1905, and McKeown's had previously been 2 houses and 250 acres, "Gracefield", crown allotment 5, section 3, Kangerong , the penny would have dropped prompting the rate collector to ask James McKeown what was going on. It would also be nice to have documentary proof that George Dyson had the other 188 acres of Gracefield!

The warning is "Don't believe everything you see in ratebooks." Was the early 1905 par about the Brindle Brothers buying part of the Gracefield Estate wrong? Was Melbourne Brindle's map showing "Sunnyside" east of the McKeown house on crown allotment 5, section 3, Kangerong wrong? You'd think so if you believed the rate collector!

1 comment(s), latest 3 years ago


See 6th item in column 2.

Who the heck was Hector Napier, Mr.Cohen? Don't you mean Thomas Napier or Theodore Napier of Magdala? According to Graeme Butler's ESSENDON CONSERVATION STUDY, William Kissock was an early owner of the land on which Alexander McCracken built his NORTH PARK mansion (today's St Columban's Mission at Melway 28 J1.)


As you can see, lot 1, of 17 acres, consisted of Skehan's c/a's 12 and 11 and David Duncan's c/a 10 (whose acreage has been altered.) Isaac Batey stated that David Duncan had built "Roseneath". It was the southern part of c/a 9 Hawstead, now occupied by Salmon Avenue houses and Salmon Reserve, that comprised lot 2.


The house's greatest claim to fame was being the death place of William John Turner "Big" Clarke, during the ownership of his NEPHEW, James Hearn junior.


"Teenie" Gibson (No details on page 82 of A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA.)

O'SHANNASSY -On the 31st March at the residence of her son T P O'Shannassy, Manangatang, Christina, relict of the late William O'Shannassy, Tyrrell Downs, and daughter of the the late Walter Gibson, Dromana aged 83 years.(P.13, Argus, 24-3-1934.)

EventMarriage Event registration number4241 Registration year1869
Personal information
Family nameGIBSON Given namesChristina Nelson Rutherford SexUnknown Spouse's family nameOSHANASSY Spouse's given namesWilliam Vincent

EventBirth Event registration number2121 Registration year1871
Personal information
Family nameOSHANNASSY Given namesWilliam Rutherford SexUnknown Father's nameWilliam Mother's nameChristina Nelson (Gibson) Place of birthDROM

The following well-deserved recognition of the services rendered by the undermentioned police constables at the prize fight catastrophe at Dromana appears in this week's Police Gazette: —
" To Constables William O'Shannassy,at Dromana, and George Stephens, at Mornington, Bourke district, £5 each has been awarded in acknowledgment of their services in saving human life on the occasion of a boat accident in July last."
( 1867.

Arising from the 1867 Dromana tragedy, William was a witness in Father Niall's trial in 1869.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Monday 13 September 1869 p 6 Article
... . Mr. Scurfield was in the room at the time. Constable O'Shannassy came in after the prisoner had had ... wished to speak to me privately. Mis. Scurfield and Constable O'Shannassy were in the room at the time ...

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Mr W. R.O'Shannassy. The young man, who was only 28* years of age, recently came from Sea Lake, where his parents reside, to Dromana for the benefit of his health, and has been staying with his relations at 'Glen Holme.'(Glenholm!)Unfortunately the expected improve-
ment in his health did not take place, and he passed away on Tuesday. Much sympathy is felt for the parents
and relations in their sad loss.(P.2, Mornington Standard, 20-4-1912.)

The above was not William Rutherford O'Shannassy. His given names were Francis Rutherford.
O'SHANNASSY.-On the 16th April, at his grandfather's residence, "Glenholm," Dromana, Francis* Rutherford, fourth son of William and Christina O'Shannassy, Tyrrell Downs. (P.1, The Age, 18-4-1912.)


This was the son at whose residence both William and Christina died.
EventBirth Event registration number8506 Registration year1875
Personal information
Family nameOSHANNASSY Given namesPeter Thomas SexUnknown Father's nameWilliam Vincen Mother's nameChristina (Gibson) Place of birthDROM

William Nelson was born in 1877 (reg. no. 2077) and William Rutherford in 1871 (reg. no. 2121.) If the latter was the one who died at Dromana in 1912, he would have been about 41, not 28.
William and Christina's other child listed on the Victorian BDM list of births was Lillian Clare Evelyn, born in 1880, Four sons and two daughters were mentioned in William's second obituary; if that was correct one son and one daughter have not been found.

Before I discovered Victorian BDM online, I was able to obtain some information about married women by googling maiden name, given name, married surname. As Christina was listed as the third child, Adam (1854-1937) being the first, on page 82 of A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA, I'd spent hours trying to find her birth notice on Victorian BDM. A GIBSON,CHRISTINA O'SHANNASSY search has produced details about Christina, William and their other daughter.

William Vincent O'Shannassy, Circa 1841 - 1916
William Vincent O'Shannassy was born circa 1841, to Peter O'Shannassy** and Mary O'Shannassy (born Kerrigan).
Peter was born in 1819, in Athenry, Galway, Ireland.
Mary was born in 1822, in Newpass, Westmeath, Ireland.
William had 4 siblings.
William married Christina Nelson Rutherford O'Shannassy (born Gibson) in 1869, at age 28 at marriage place.
Christina was born in 1851, in Kilbucho, Peeblesshire, Scotland.
They had one daughter: Edith* Ethel May Loader (born O'Shannassy).
William passed away in 1916, at age 75 at death place.

*See Edith's death and marriage records below.She was the daughter whose birth record wasn't found.
**William's father was a police sergeant. Extract from William's second obituary above.
" I much regret to record the death of a very much respected resident, Mr William V. O'Shannassy, late of Tyrrell Downs.
The deceased was a native of Dublin, and came to the colony at the early age of eight with his father, Sergeant O'Shannassy. In his youth Mr O'Shannassy joined the police force, and after a very creditable service of 26 years, the latter portion of which he was senior-constable, he retired to follow farming pursuits at Tyrrell Downs, where he lived for twenty years, coming in the early part of this year to reside on his property near his sons,Messrs. T. P. O'Shannassy, J.P.,and V* O'Shannassy."

N.B. Christina's maiden surname is wrongly given as Nelson, which was one of her given names.
EventDeath Event registration number34034 Registration year1960
Personal information
Family nameOSHANNASSY Given namesVincent Rutherford SexMale Father's nameOSHANNASSY William Vincent Mother's nameChristina (Nelson) Place of birthBEULAH Place of deathSEA LAKE Age66

EventDeath Event registration number20308 Registration year1980
Personal information
Family nameLOADER Given namesEDITH ETHEL MAY SexUnknown Father's nameO'SHANNASSY WI Mother's nameChristina Place of birth Place of deathBAIR Age95

EventMarriage Event registration number4511 Registration year1911
Personal information
Family nameOSHANNASSY Given namesEdith Ethel May SexUnknown Spouse's family nameLOADER Spouse's given namesJos Hy
While searching for Edith's marriage notice, I came across the 1915 farewell to William and Christina when they were leaving Tyrrell. William's experience, as a policeman FOR 26 YEARS, with official paperwork had made his assistance invaluable to his fellow settlers.

Although it is reasonable to assume that Edith died at Bairnsdale, it is also reasonable to assume that Edith and Joseph Henry Loader met, married and lived for quite some time in the Mallee. Their daughter, Edith (b. 1915), was the most successful Princess at Chillingollah in 1923.


Today,I received a present from Toolaroo, a family tree circles member. Not only couldn't I put it down, it is extremely accurate. The only item that I would query is the spelling of the surname of Sarah Prosser who is quoted on page 22. It is possible that she was descended from Henry Prosser, a Frankston Fish Company director and Frankston and Hastings Shire councillor (whose daughter, Sarah, married Isaac Sawyer and, after his death, Amis Renouf) but she was more likely to be a descendant of Henry Prossor, who was in the parish of Fingal before moving to the Red Hill Village Settlement whose through road is called Prossors Lane.

The book is called PENINSULA PIONEERS which could be misleading as to the number of pioneering families discussed; the families discussed are in my surname list. Those marked with a star are just mentioned in articles and I will provide some information about them below.

LAKE/LEAK. That the two acre block (lot 86 of crown allotment 18, Wannaeue)had been already sold was pointed out in a loan document of 1879 detailing a loan from Captain Henry Everest Adams of Rosebud to William Edwards, a publican who established the Tanti Hotel in the 1850's; see my Tanti Hotel journal. Fisherman, Jack Jones of Rosebud, later had a store on this(the FJ's) corner. I was not aware that the Leak/Lake brothers had actually purchased crown allotment 18 from Blooming Bob White, but Frederick and William Leak were assessed on 150acres on 29-7-1889. For once the rate collector got it right! After the sale flopped because of the dispute over lot 86, Robert White was again assessed on 19-7-1890 and 18-7-1891.

The loan document stated that the block had been sold off by this chappie.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Wednesday 18 February 1874 p 3 Advertising
... on .Saturday, February 21, at thrco o'clock. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26. BROADFORD. Wannaeue, County of Mornington. SALE by PUBLIC AUCTION Of 152a. 2r. 16p., Parish of Wannaeue, County of Mornington. And By Order of tho Executors of CHARLES BLAKEY, Deceased. For Positive and Absolute Sale. Without the ... 9204 words

Frederick and William Leak were later (about 1910 I think)in dispute with William Jamieson, a pioneer of the Rosebud Fishing Village, over what was probably part of that two acre block,but unfortunately due to shocking digitisation, I haven't been able to re-find the article. If I do stumble across it,it will be included in my EARLY ROSEBUD journal under crown allotment 18.

COLLINS and COLLINGS. Maiden names in the Robert White genealogy way back, in Scotland.
AULT. A Dromana carpenter who later bought 140 acres south of William Henry Blakely's 140 acres (which has the Red Hill Consolidated School in its north west corner) and west of James McKeown's grants. Henry Ault painted the original Red Hill School at the north end of Arkwells Lane in 1875 for seven pounds fifteen shillings.
HILL. James McKeown, Red Hill Pioneer who moved to Gracefield in Dromana circa 1885, married Catherine Townsend Hill of Warrnambool.
CLEINE. Son in law of the McIlroys. See THE RED HILL.
HOPCRAFT. William and John Hopcraft were granted land either side of Mornington-Flinders Rd near the north end of Tucks Rd and were near the Hillis and Davey grants and Henry Ault's 140 acres.
KEMP. Red Hill pioneer who was granted land in the parish of Kangerong on the east corner of McIlroys and Bowrings Rds between Blooming Bob White's 27 acres and the McIlroys and Forest Lodge to the east.
SIMPSON. See Joseph Simpson in my pioneer pathway JOURNAL. McIlroy in law.
HUNTLEY. South of Little Bridge Farm and east of another McIlroy grant farmed by Charles Cleine. Joseph McIlroy leased the Huntley's Hillside Orchard for five years. Sir Thomas Bent married one of John Huntley Senior's daughters and Cr John Shand married John Huntley Jnr's widow, Mary (nee Hope.)
BENNETT. Farmed Seven Oaks and Kent Orchard south of Craig Avon Lane. William Rd near the ArthursSeat summit is named after A.E.Bennett's son and executor,William.
ANDERSON. Yetta Ward Anderson supplied an anecdote about William and Joseph McIlroy and their strawberries. (P.22.)
PROSSER. See above.
CAIRNS. See my numerous journals about this family. Maiden name in the Robert White genealogy. A Robert White was leasing a hut from the Cairns brothers at Boneo in 1864. Both families came from Clackmannan near Menstrie; Robert White senior died at Menstrie Hill, Rosebud and Alex Cairns called his grant "Menstrie Mains".
PATERSON.RUSSELL.Both of these are maiden names in the Robert White genealogy.Perhaps the Cairns, Patterson and Russell families of Wannaeue and Fingal, with so many marital connections,were neighbours near Clackmannan before they set off to Australia. See LAND IN WANNAEUE AND FINGAL OWNED BY THE CAIRNS AND THEIR IN-LAWS and the CAIRNS GENEALOGY journals.

DAVEY. James Davey was descended from the pioneering Davey family of Frankston. The Davey pre-emptive right in the parish of Frankston was on the beach side of Old Mornington Rd from the Sweetwater Creek Crossing (Dory's Gully)to Canadian Bay Rd. The Davey homestead "Marysville" was demolished when "Marathon" was built if my memory serves me correctly. James Davey was granted land in Kangerong (Forest Lodge), 14A Balnarring (the Shand/Huntley "Kentucky" and "Rosslyn", houses now 214 and 212 Bittern-Dromana Rd)and land east of White's Rd farmed by Bullocky Bob White (born Robert James), his wife Hannah (nee Roberts) and their descendants.

BULLOCKY BOB WHITE was Blooming Bob White's nephew and the detail about his name change is in my journal about HILL HILLIS AND THE TWO BOB WHITES but not in the book.

Toolaroo's book has fantastic maps showing all the land grants superimposed on present day maps. Who's heard of slavery in Scotland and farms smaller than a house block in Ireland. By the time I'd read about these things, I fully understood why our pioneers would want to leave their homeland and familiesforever. Cairns descendants would love this book because of the maps and articles about the Menstrie area. Even the information about the Kew Lunatic Asylum was of great interest.

I don't know whether toolaroo had enough copies printed to have some available for purchase, but it is a terrific book which fills a void in the knowledge of the history of the Red Hill/Rosebud area. The Mornington Peninsula library and the Dromana Historical Society must obtain copies. Send a private message to toolaroo if you wish to obtain a copy.