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AUSTRALIA-WIDE HERO IN 1905: William John Ferrier of Warrnambool, Queenscliff and Rosebud.

William John Ferrier was a hero. Apparently suffering with an injured arm and conditions so bad that he had to lash himself to his mast, he performed a heroic rescue when the La Bella was wrecked near Warrnambool in 1905. He was a fisherman at this stage and was awarded the Humane Society's gold medal for his bravery. Between 1905 and 1915, he was the lighthouse keeper of the South Pile Lighthouse in Port Phillip Bay. During his time there, he owned the historic house at 858 Pt Nepean Rd on crown allotment 7 of the Rosebud Fishing Village, which had been granted to Thomas Coppard, a member of the Queenscliff Fishing Co. It is probable that the Government had given him this job as a reward for his heroism. While at the lighthouse, he painted ships on the timber interior which are shown on the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum website. Both Warrnambool and Queenscliff have a continuing Ferrier presence. William and his wife seem to have retained an affection for Rosebud as they gave this name to their house in Beach St, Queenscliff. Lew Ferrier's fishing boat was also given this name and played a prominent role in the opening of the renewed harbour in recent years.
When William (having gone back to fishing) died in 1937, all the flags in Queenscliff flew at half-mast.
Ferrier, a great name in Victoria's maritime history!

4 comment(s), latest 3 months ago


As can be easily found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, this Arthur was a member of an artistic family. His grandfather, also named Arthur Boyd, came to Australia via New Zealand. The family became established at Murrumbeena, with one of the properties being Open Country where young Arthur's father, Merric, became a famed potter. When Merric's mother died in late 1936, young Arthur went to live with his grand-father at what is now 62 ROSEBUD PARADE, ROSEBUD. Young Arthur's maternal grandmother, Evelyn Gough, an early advocate of equality for women, had owned a house on the foreshore (Rosebud Fishing Village)since 1905 or before. With tuition from his grandfather, the teenager painted many scenes in the Rosebud area (10 known so far)until 1939 when his grandfather's ill health forced a return to Murrumbeena. Merric and Bloomfield are two common given names in this Boyd family and I suspect that they were maiden names of women that married into the family. Two of young Arthur's paintings featured Charles and Walter Burnham's jetty at the bay end of Boneo Rd; the view from the east gracing the cover of Robin Boyd's book. The house at 64 Rosebud Ave has been demolished so the Mornington Peninsula Shire must immediately protect the house that the 1995 Australian of the Year occupied, as a teenager launching a fabulous career. Honour this noted family's connection with Rosebud!

As two of Arthur's paintings, HOUSE AT ROSEBUD and INTERIOR LIVING ROOM, ROSEBUD had been sequestered on gallery websites, finding the house was difficult. Ben Boyd, a descendant of Arthur's, answered a plea for help emailed to his sister and it was mainly due to his titles searches that the house was granted heritage protection.

The newspaper article might have helped a bit.
A LOCAL historian wants a Rosebud house where renowned artist Arthur Boyd once lived to receive heritage status.

It was when he began researching Rosebuds history that he discovered the link between the Boyd family of painters, potters and writers and the house at 62 Rosebud Parade.

The retired primary school teacher had already written extensively about different aspects of peninsula history when he read that the Boyd presence in Rosebud started in 1905 through Arthur Boyds grandmother, Evelyn Gough.

I have advised the owner of 62 Rosebud Parade that I intend to apply a heritage overlay to the property; this process takes some time, and in the meantime I am exploring what the future of the cottage could be in a practical sense, for example what could it be used for.

It may be that the owner is willing to sell the property to someone - or some organisation - interested to preserve it for its Arthur Boyd history.

Do you know of any persons, or organisations, that might have in interest in the cottage, to purchase or to use?

I would appreciate any leads you can give me.

The Bundanon Trust, The Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, University Arts Departments, or some umbrella group for Art Societies (if such exists) might be able to get a Government grant to buy the property and employ a live-in manager. I envisage groups of artists, from interstate or country or even metropolitan areas, staying in the house for a reasonable fee for a week or so to follow an expanded Artists' trail and execute their own works of our Peninsula beauty spots. Failing lack of interest from the above organisations and success in obtaining grants, there are many artists living on the peninsula who would probably jump at the opportunity to buy a house with such bragging rights and conduct it as a B&B for clients as described above. They could pocket income from guests for accommodation and conducted tours (the trail, good locations to paint) as well as soaking up inspiration from the many different artists that Arthur Boyd's house would attract. Local traders (shopkeepers) would benefit from the extra tourists that this very different guest house would attract.

1 comment(s), latest 3 years, 1 month ago

THERE WOULD BE NO SORRENTO WITHOUT Sidney Smith CRISPO of "Eastbourne" Rosebud West, Victoria Australia.

I'm so sick and tired of the Commonwealth and State Governments blaming each other for the deficiencies in health, education and so on. People have being saying for years that we should get rid of State Governments but if notice had been taken of that song "Amalgamate the Colonies" in 1898, there wouldn't have been any State Parliaments. Where the hell was Manners-Sutton, anyway?
Sidney Smith Crispo was a pioneer of the areas of the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, now known as Blairgowrie and Rosebud West.He was the son of John Crispo R.N. and may have been named after Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, the man that Napoleon claimed to have cost him his destiny. Sidney Smith Crispo's name was often written as Sydney.

S.S.Crispo was on the staff of the Victorian Naval Survey. He may have arrived in Victoria on the same survey ship as William Edwards in 1855.
In 1871 he was a squatter near Benalla but it is likely that he moved to the Rosebud West area soon after, having obtained a grant of 282 acres which he named "Eastbourne". As a naval officer, he would have been aware of coastal towns such as Eastbourne on England's south coast.

Sidney was a most innovative man.One of his ideas was to amalgamate rather than to federate the colonies, which, if adopted,would have prevented the wasteful duplication that is a major criticism of the Australian political system. He was a prolific writer of letters to the editor and was much involved in the community.

Sidney died at the home of Edward Williams to whom he had recently sold "Eastbourne". He died on 13-10-1899 at the age of 71. I suspect that he was unmarried and his estate was administered by T.F.Bride, curator of deceased estates (The Mornington Standard 1-3-1900.)
There were Crispos in New South Wales who might have been related to him.

A squabble between lime merchant, W.A.Blair and Charles Gavan Duffy about who had first applied for a piece of land in the parish of Nepean could not be resolved so Sidney suggested to James Grant that it be declared a village site.
CRISPO ON TROVE. (A=Argus, M.S.= Mornington Standard.)
Sidneys error regarding the origin of Dromanas name appears in a letter he wrote concerning his own involvement in Sorrentos early days. I will reproduce it verbatim.
M.S. 1-6-1899 PAGE 3. MR COPPIN AND SORRENTO. To the editor. Sir.-In your issue of the 18th May, Mr Coppin is called the discoverer of Sorrento. This is a mistake. When the Hon. James Grant was Minister of Lands and Survey, Mr Charles Gavan Duffy and Mr Blair, lime merchant, each applied for the site of Sorrento, no doubt on account of the limestone in the ground, but by some oversight it could not be discovered who had made the first application and a long dispute arose, appearing in the press at the time. But as both applicants had much land, I wrote to Mr Grant and suggested the site should be cut up into small lots and be put up at 4 pounds an acre so as to give other people a chance to get land. This was done, and a Government Township surveyed, and a jetty built. Mr Kerferd and Mr Anderson, Commissioner of Trade and Customs; were the first to build houses, and then I believe followed the Sorrento Hotel. who (sic) built next I do not know, but old Sorrento residents may be able to supply the information. Some considerable time later Mr George Coppin got a company to promote journeys to the Back Beach, but at that time the cost of steamboat fares was one pound, and I wrote to Mr Coppin suggesting that his company should run a steamer at reduced fares, after trying to get the fares reduced without result. Mr Coppins company, after a time, bought the Golden Crown, and reduced the fares to 3 shillings and sixpence. This made the place go ahead quickly and great credit is due to Mr Coppin and his Coy. Mr Duffy suggested the name Sorrento as he had been travelling in Italy and named it after a town there. Long before Sorrento was founded I tried to start a town for summer resort, three miles east of Sorrento but no lots were sold at that time. After Sorrento started I sold many lots. Canterbury never became a town, being eclipsed by Sorrento. Some place Mr Duffy and some Mr Coppin as the founder of Sorrento but no one has placed Mr Grant or myself in that position. Dromana was named after a town in Italy where Signor Crispi has a large house. I used to think it an aboriginal name until an Italian put me right. S.S.Crispo, Rye.
As has been pointed out before, there seems to be no Dromana in Italy. Sidney was writing from Eastbourne and as the locality name of Rosebud West had not come into use, he used Rye, although at this time that was hardly a thriving metropolis as the VICE REGAL STORY shows.
WAS SIDNEY RIGHT? Was Sydney right in his claimed involvement in the gazetting of a township at Sorrento, suggesting the price at which blocks should be sold, suggesting to Coppin that his company run its own steamer to reduce fares and so on? I think he was. One thing for sure was that George Coppin (and Gavan Duffy) went through the papers with a fine tooth comb and responded immediately to any attempt to discredit them. If he had strayed from the truth, Im sure they would have pointed this out. See The Argus 10-1-1876 page 6 in regard to Coppins battle with Robert Anderson of Cape Schanck over the proposed Borough of Sorrento and The Argus 10-12-1872 page 6 concerning Duffys response to an insinuation that he had misappropriated trees from the Botanical Gardens for his own garden at Sorrento. Unless Sidney had collected hundreds of newspaper cuttings to concoct a web of lies nearly 30 years later, (showing amazing foresight!), his recollection of detail was amazingly accurate.
The dispute over the first lodger of an application (Blair or Duffy) for the site of the township would have started in the 1860s. (See DUMMIES.) Both seem to have acquired their first grants in 1863, Blair a Rye Suburban block (bounded by the beach road, Elgin Ave, Melbourne Rd and Brae Ct) and Duffy at Melway 156K 4-5. They acquired the majority of their land in 1867 and 1869-72 respectively. At the time, Sidney was still working for Her Majestys Coastal Survey and would have known James Grant personally, so his suggestions would have been seriously considered.
The village lots were offered at the upset price (reserve) of four pounds per acre, and the larger suburban lots at three pounds per acre. (The Argus 28-12-1869 advertising auction on 14th January.)
DUMMIES. (The Argus, page 6 of the issues of 8,9,11 and 15 January, 1869.) Peter Wilson devoted a chapter of On the Road to Rosebud to a petition objecting to a fence being built to enclose the police paddock (west of White Cliff.) Investigations showed that few of the signatories actually opposed the fence. The Fords and Purves had exerted pressure of some sort or the other to obtain their signatures. The fence was not built, probably because the parish of Nepean was soon after surveyed and alienated. Famed Irish land rights agitator, Charles Gavan Duffy, emigrated to Victoria and was thrust immediately into the forefront of politics, as detailed in Lime Land Leisure.
Charles and his son, John, took up a run but the Ford and Purves bullocks often trespassed to enjoy free grazing (as they had on the police paddock.) When the land was opened up for selection, the Duffys wanted as much of the run as they were entitled to, but also wanted more agreeable neighbours than the aforementioned two and the manager of the Victorian Lime and Cement Company, William Allison Blair. Not surprisingly their choice of neighbours had very Irish names: Murphy, Casey and Cain.
Sidney Smith Crispo seems to believe that the dispute between Duffy and Blair was a matter of who had lodged an application first, and this may have happened in regard to the actual site of Sorrento Township. However, it is likely that this was a continuation of a battle that had commenced in 1869, when Blair had accused C.G.Duffy of employing the Cains as dummies and Duffy had responded by accusing Blair of using the Swans for the same purpose. The Special Land Commission found the charges against Duffy not to be proven and that the Swans genuinely wanted the land for which they had applied. A rebuke for Blair was implied.
Some points found from evidence are: James Swan and his son David were illiterate, oversaw fencing of Blairs land, met him at Dromana when he came to the peninsula and hosted him at their home. John Clarke, a labourer of Nepean, who said that Joseph Cain was a shareholder of Blairs company, was probably Lugger Jack Clark; Jack lived in Sorrentos first limestone house (built in about 1850 by Henry Cadby Wells) which became known as Clarks Cottage and later skippered craft and ran the Mornington (now Koonya) Hotel. His address was given as Nepean as there was no Sorrento until Crispo suggested it! W.A.Blair was the manager of the Victorian Lime and Cement Company Limited, and was probably one of its five shareholders.
Sidney claimed that he had tried to sell Canterbury lots without success but things changed as soon as Sorrento took off. When checking the rate records on page 69 to see when the lots started selling, I made a discovery. I had earlier speculated that Sidney had bought Cockburns grant on the Canterbury Jetty Rd / beach road corner. Sometime in 1873, he appears to have bought it because that block and his own grants total 137 acres. By 1876, as far as the rate records can be relied upon, Sidney had sold a total of 30 acres. Some of the buyers (listed near the bottom of page 69) had probably travelled down on Coppins Golden Crown.
Sidney claimed that he advised Coppin to run a steamer at reduced fares and the price went down from a pound to three shillings and sixpence. This slight deviation from the text of the report of the first half-yearly meeting of the Sorrento and Queenscliff Steam Navigation Co. at its office at 33 Flinders St West (Argus 3-8-1875 page 6) shows that Sidney was relying on memory, not a cutting. Part of the text is quoted in italics. The steamer Golden Crown was purchased for the purposes of reducing the fares between Melbourne, Queenscliff and Sorrento from 20/- ( a pound) return to seven shillings and sixpence and offer healthy recreation for the people. No doubt profit was a consideration as well! Sidney was obviously remembering the one way fare, reduced outside peak summer periods. Return fares to Sorrento were 20/- on the Challenge. (The Argus 26-2-1870 page 1.)
Mr Kerferd or Anderson probably placed the advertisement (Argus 16-2-1870 page 3) calling tenders for the construction of a wooden house about 40x28 feet and containing 6 rooms &c. This would not have been the first house in Sorrento Village however.
Frankston pioneer, Henry Cadby Wells, whose daughter had been the first white child to be born near the Heads at the start of the decade (1840s) while he was lime burning with Robert Rowley, returned in 1849 with his own boat to commence a successful but ill-fated cray-fishing venture with Robert. In about 1850, he built a limestone cottage on the site of the Koonya Hotel. Later occupied for yonks by the family of Lugger Jack Clark, who ran the Mornington Hotel, it was known as Clarks Cottage. (The Wells Story website; Family, Connections, Sorrento and Portsea by Jennifer Nixon.)

8 comment(s), latest 12 months ago


While researching the origin of the name of Somerville, a town near the northern end of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, I found some interesting things that might help family historians.
Valda Cole has claimed that the town's name had connections with Canada; two of the settlers in the area were Canadian and were responsible for the name of Canadian Bay and Jones and Hodgins Rds.
A Frankston historian said that the town was named after Sir William Meredith Somerville (who was elevated to the peerage in 1863, three years before the earliest mention of the locality name in "The Argus".)
Sir William became Baron Athlumney of Somerville and Dollarstown in County Meath, Ireland and in 1866, he was given the additional title of Baron Meredith of Dollarstown.
The ancestor of all the Somervilles in England was sir Gaultier de Somerville who accompanied William the Conqueror to England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Somervilles had hereditary titles in England, Scotland and Ireland.Sons who were not heirs usually forged careers in the army, navy or the professions (law, the Established Church etc) but many tried their luck in the colonies. The 19th and last English Lord Somerville was one of these.The Argus of 25-1-1870 reported that he had recently returned from Australia and was quite ill. He died on 28-8-1870 at Aston (East) Somerville, Gloucestershire.

A SOMERVILLE FUNCTION.-The recent celebration at Solmerville in connection with the unveiling of the portraits of the late Messrs Jones and Unthank was worthy of the place.- Too often, men who have been benefactors of their district, have been passed over, and their labours forgotten; and it shows a fine spirit in the Somerville people, when they give this meed of re membrance to their old friends, and pioneers of the district. The men "who have blazed the track " do not always get their due in this respect. In addition it is a fine object lesson to the rising generation and inspires them to take a pride in their district and help it forward. (P.2, Mornington Standard, 6-7-1907.)

...Our Somerville Letter By Our Special Representative
Miss Thornell Honored A very pleasant social evening was spent by the members and friends of the local Presbyterian Church on the 29th ult, when a presentation was made to Miss Dorothy Thornell in recognition of her services as organist of the church. Mr J. F. Bell made the presentation-a silver cake dish -and spoke of the good and efficient services rendered by Miss Thornell for some time past. He said she had come to their assistance when they were in a fix and they felt deeply grateful for the help she had so cheerfully given them. (P.3, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 14-10-1921.)

SOMERVILLE -- THE LATE MARK THORNELL. . Sincere regret was expressed throughout the district when news was received here that Mr. Mark Thornell had died in a private hospital at Kiataia, New Zealand, on June 27, aged 53 years. Mr. Mark Thornell was born at "Sunny Cottage,". Somerville, his parents' farm. He was the third son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Mark Thornell, of "Frampton," Somerville. He went to New Zealand 33 years ago, and for the past 30 had been a member of the New Zealand police force, in which his energy and integrity won him promotion. He was noted for his ready wit and jovial manner. On three occasions he returned to his home town to visit his parents, the last trip being made ten years ago. His wife predeceased him by fourteen years. He leaves a daughter (Dorothy) to mourn her loss. (P.7, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 3-7-1936.)

PROGRESSIVE SOMERVILLE. THE NURSERIES AND ORCHARDS: No. IV, MR .THORNELL. One of the oldest, if not the very oldest, orchards in Somerville is that at present owned and occupied by Mr. T. Thornell, on the Eramosa road, within easy distance of the railway station. This orchard was established some 20 years ago by the present owner, whose father, Mr. John Thornell, senior, settled in the district with his family as far back as the year 1860, when the surrounding country was in a very wild state, it being by no means an uncommon occurrence in those days for wild kangaroos to be shot at their door. Mr. John Thornell, senior, who is at present 79 years of age, and hale, hearty, and strong, originally bought the site from the Crown and commenced operations in the cultivation of fruit trees almost immediately after his purchase, but did not turn his attention to the nursery business until some two years later, since when the nursery has been gradually extended, as many as 20,000 of nursery stuff being sent away in one year. Mr. T. Thornell, the present owner, has therefore had great experience in fruitgrowing and the raising of young trees, more especially so when it is taken into con- sideration that he was thrown into immediate contact with the business at the early age of 12 years, although it cannot be said that he took an active part until he arrived at the more mature age of 20 years, at which time he entered into partnership with his father, the partnership existing for 10 years, when Mr. J. Thornell, senior, retired from the business, which has since been carried on solely by Mr. T. Thornell. The orchard, which is situated at the rear and side of the homestead, Camillia Cottage, covers an area of from 15 to 20 acres, and is well stocked with trees of all kinds, which are in an excellent condition and bearing splendidly, as many as 2,000 cases of fruit being gathered during the present season. Peaches are grown extensively, the principal variety gone in for being the Royal George,which always commands a good market. Of this class of fruit 850 cases of fruit were forwarded to Melbourne during the present season, all of which were of first-class quality. Apricots are also gone in for extensively, but not on such a large scale as the peach. The quantity forwarded to the fruit salesmen this season was 180 cases. The principal class of fruit grown is however the apple, which is grown on a very large scale indeed,and for which there is always a good demand. The other varieties of fruit grown include pears, plums, cherries, quinces, almonds, and walnuts. All the fruit, when gathered, is packed in cases and forwarded by rail to agents in Melbourne, who in their turn dispose of it all over the colony. Prior to consigning the fruit to agents, it was the custom to convey it by road to the markets in Melbourne, which were visited as often as twice a week, and at times they were thus visited for a period of not less than three months without a spell, as many as 80 cases being taken at one time. The marketing was done by the present proprietor, who, it will thus be seen, has also had considerable experience in this direction. The price obtained for the fruit in the early days was, of course, much better than at the present time, and very often the takings at one market alone would amount to as much as 30 or 40. But Mr. T. Thornell has only attended Melbourne markets twice during the last ten years, his previous experience of fifteen years' marketing being quite enough for him, and at present he transacts most of his business through agents, although he does not debar himself from dealing with private individuals whenever the opportunity arises. This year the yield has been much better than for the previous two or three years, and in many instances it has more than doubled itself, the prices realised also being very satisfactory. The trees are all of good size and condition, and are planted about 20 feet apart each way. They range in age from 25 years down to 7 years, all bearing well. As much as 20 a year is spent in manuring the orchard, stable manure, bone-dust, and dessicated night-soil being the kinds employed. The manuring generally takes place once a year, in the early spring, the plan adopted being to throw the manure on the ground and then plough it in. Mr. Thornell finds it most beneficial to change the manure every year. The nursery covers an area of 8 acres, and is situate almost immediately opposite the dwelling-house. At the present time it is estimated that it
contains between 60,000 and 70,000 young nursery stock of all varieties. As previously stated, the cultivation of nursery stock is gone in for on a more extensive scale than formerly, the young stuff being sent all over Victoria, a leading firm of nurserymen in Melbourne being supplied at one time with lines totalling 10,000. It is only to be supposed that a great amount of labour is required in the working of the orchard and nursery, at the present time Mr. Thornell employing two men, one of whom resides with his family all the year round, in a four-roomed cottage erected on the nursery, exclusive of his own and his son's labour. Great care has also to be exercised, the apples all being worked on blight-proof stocks, being first grafted in order to make them blight-proof and then budded to the varieties required. The birds have not been found to be so troublesome as of late. I might here state that Mr. Thornell has invented a simple and ingenious contrivance for the destruction of birds, which has been found to be very efficacious, as well as economical, and within the reach of all, as many as 250 minahs being caught in six weeks. It consists of a frame about 8 feet square, covered with ordinary netting wire, to which a line is attached. It is slightly raised up from the ground and a quantity of rotten fruit placed underneath, which attracts the minahs, who go underneath the netting in order to get at the fruit. The line is then pulled, with the result that the frame falls upon the birds, who are then removed and killed ad libitum. As many as 12 birds have been caught in this way at one time. It has the advantage also of saving powder and shot. Of course this is only of use when the fruit is gathered. The plan adopted for the preservation of the fruit held over is to place it upon layers of dry grass or ferns, which is first laid upon dry sandy soil, and then covered over with thatch grass. By adopting this plan it is found that the fruit is kept in good condition for a much longer time than by any other process. At the present time there are about 100 cases of apples being treated in this way. The orchard is ploughed over sometimes once a year, sometimes twice, but generally the latter-during the spring and autumn. Mr. Thornell is also very large land owner in the district, having in all about 400 acres, as much as 14 an acre being given in some cases, besides which he possesses a great deal of property in the city, as well as in South Yarra and Prahran, all of which brings him in a fair rental. At one time he represented the district in the shire council, and, until a few weeks ago, he occupied the position of treasurer of the Somerville Fruitgrowers' Association, of which he is a prominent member. When Mr. Thornell, senr., first came into the district he had nothing beyond the land which he bought from the Crown. Mr. T. Thornell is one of few men who can say that he never paid one penny in rental during his lifetime. At one time he dabbled in speculation in buying and selling properties previous to the land boom and was very successful, the land boom not affecting him beyond decreasing the value of his pro perties. Mrs. T. Thornell, who was a very large prizetaker at the late shows, has a splendid collection of preserves of between 100 and 200 bottles of all varieties. The son was also successful in carrying off the first prize for the best pony at the show, out of 22 entries. (P.3, Mornington Standard, 16-7-1896.)
N.B. The journalist confused land boom with bust. Thornell sold during the boom,when his properties would have increased in value.

George Thornell was, with George Griffieth, a Justice of the Peace at Somerville in the early 1900's and also served as Coroner.

SOMERVILLE ACCIDENT TO MR. G. E. SHEPHERD, Senr. A rather serious accident befell our highly respected citizen, Mr. G. E. Shepherd, senr., of "Malurus." In driving a horse and jinker along Park street, it came in contact with a stump at the side of the road. The impact threw Mr. Shepherd out in front of the wheel, rendering him practically helpless. Fortunately, the pony was quiet, and remained stationary until help was forthcoming. Mr. Shepherd was badly bruised and shaken, though no bones were broken. He is under the case of Dr. Somers, of Mornington, and is now making favourable progress towards recovery.
(P.8, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 23-10-1925.)

PROGRESSIVE SOMER VILLE. THE NURSERIES AND ORCHARDS: No. I. MESSRS. W. A. SHEPHERD AND SONS. The pioneer nursery and orchard in Somerville is without doubt that of Messrs. W. A. Shepherd and Sons, which is situated on Shepherd's road some two miles distant from the local railway station. The homestead in all covers an area of 207 acres, 2 roods, 5 perches, 10 acres being reserved for the nursery and 45 acres being planted with fruit. On arriving at the homestead our representative could not help being struck by the busy scene which burst upon his view, and every where it was apparent that here at least the depression experienced of late was not felt. In a large shed four men, under the supervision of Mr. W. A. Shepherd, jun., were busily engaged packing young trees, which were to be subsequently dispatched to the Somerville railway station, and thence forwarded to their destination. So ex?????? that it is found necessary to employ on an average four men throughout the whole of the year. The output during the present season has been something enormous, a decided improvement in business being experienced on that of last year, a fact due no doubt to the recent shows held in the place, which have been the means of bringing the district so prominently before the whole of the colonies. The principal market of young trees for which the demand is greatest for apples, which goes to show that orchardists and fruit - growers generally are fully alive to the fact that the export of apples to the old country will be one of the leading industries of the country, the demand being principally for local requirements. Great care has to be exercised when picking the young trees for transit, being first carefully tied together with New Zealand flax, which is specially grown for the purpose, after which they are protected by layers of ordinary bush grass, which is obtainable in large quantities close at hand, the whole when complete having a cone-like appearance. The nursery is named the Perfection Nursery, and was established 30 years ago by Mr. W. A. Shepherd, senior, who is alive at the present time hearty and well, and, although 70 years of ago he still takes an active interest in all matters connected with the nursery and orchard. Mr. W. A. Shepherd, senior, is the pioneer nurseryman of the district, and no doubt feels conscious of a certain amount of pride in the fact that the opinion formed by himself 30 years ago as to the suitability of the soil at Somerville for fruitgrowing purposes has, by the flourishing conditions of the place at the present time, been so conclusively proved to be correct, more especially so as when he first selected the site on which the nursery and orchard now stands the country all around was heavily timbered bush land, which is in marked contrast to the well-cared for and prolific orchards now established throughout the whole of the district. Mr. W. A. Shepherd, senior, arrived in the colony 38 years ago last December, when comparatively a young man. He will be 70 years of age next January, and, as previous stated bears his age well. He is a thoroughly trained orchardist, having served an apprenticeship of seven years when a lad under the head gardener of Middleton Park, England, then owned by the Earl of Jersey, and was there when the Earl brought his bride home. After serving his apprenticeship, Mr. Shepherd, senior, was for two years gardener at Holland Park, Kensington, England, the residence of Lord Holland, after which he filled the position of gardener at various other places. It will thus be seen that Mr. Shepherd, senior, is an authority on matters connected with horticulture. Mrs. Shepherd, who is some three years her husband's senior, is also alive and hearty, although she does not bear her age so well as her husband, but still, like him, she takes a lively interest in the busy scene around her. The management of the business is divided between the two sons, Mr. W. A. Shepherd, junior, and Mr. George Shepherd, who have inherited their father's good qualities regarding the culture of the soil, a fact which is plainly evident by the splendid specimens of trees to be seen in the orchard. The bulk of the work devolves upon Mr. George Shepherd, who attends to all the correspondence (which at the present time is very extensive) and the dispatching of orders, etc., while Mr. W. A. Shepherd, junior, who was recently elected to the high position of president of the Somerville Fruit growers' Association, attends to the more immediate work connected with the nursery and orchard, Mr. G. Shepherd, also bearing his share of the burden. Both work together with a will. The nursery occupies an area of about 10 acres, and at the present time it is estimated to contain about 200,000 young trees in all stages and of all varieties, which are planted in rows, each row containing from 700 to 800 young shoots. Even to an amateur the vast amount of work necessary is apparent, each shoot being grafted on to blight proof stocks, all of which are of even growth, and the soil free from weeds, the whole presenting a perfect picture, and one which any nurseryman might well feel proud of. The orchard, comprising 45 acres, is situated behind the nursery, and is a very fine one indeed. From year to year it is extended in order to have fresh trees coming into bearing, as well as to keep up the quality of the fruit. Apricots are grown very extensively, 10 acres of this fruit being planted. The crop from these trees last season was very great, as many as eight cases of fruit being obtained from one single tree. The total crop of apricots for the season just over was estimated at about 11 tons, as many as 7 tons being sent away in one day. Numerous varieties of apples are grown, amongst the number being the world -famed Shepherd's Perfection, which was first raised on this nursery thirty years ago, and from which the nursery derives its name, and not as many suppose, from the idea that the nursery is perfection in itself. The Shepherd's Perfection is an apple with which Mr. Shepherd's name will be always associated, and which is so well known for its many good qualities. The original tree, now 30 years old, was raised by Mr. W. A. Shepherd, senior, from the pip of a Blenheim Orange apple, and is still vigorous and healthy, it being one of the sights of the place, the elder Mr. Shepherd pointing it out with pride to all visitors. Last season eight cases of fruit were got off this tree. Peaches, pears, plums, and numerous other varieties of fruit are also grown very extensively, plums being greatly in evidence, a large demand in that class of fruit being experienced. The fruit grown is of splendid quality, the firm being large prizetakers at the late Somerville show, carrying off the Champion Challenge trophy for the best collection of fruits grown in Victoria, as well as the first prize for the best collection of twelve varieties of apples suitable for export, and also carried off six other first prizes, two seconds, and one third. As great attention has been paid to the pruning the trees are remarkably handsome and well grown specimens and are singularly free from blight or disease of any kind whatever,a fact due no doubt to the great care that is taken of them and to the unusually dry season last year. The trees in the orchard are planted 20ft apart each way, thus allowing them plenty of room for growth. Although most of the trees have been planted a number of years, the necessity for artificial manuring is not yet apparent. All the farm yard manure raised on the place is, however, used in the orchard, a good number of the trees receiving a good dressing every year. The system adopted of using the manure is to clear away the soil from the stem and top roots, the roots being bared for 3 feet or 4 feet from the stem, the trenches formed being left open for some time, after which they are filled with manure, the soil being again thrown in on top. The firm intend to go in for the use of dessicated nightsoil, which they believe will have a beneficial effect on the yields of the trees. The orchard ???and is ploughed on an average of about twice a year, generally in August and about the end of October, ordinary single-furrow ploughs being used, while for working the soil the acme harrow and a cultivator made by Mr. D. M. Bett, the local blacksmith, is used. The land is worked very frequently during the spring and summer right up to the time when the fruit has attained such a size as to be liable to injury from the horses and cultivating implements. Great care is exercised in picking and sorting the fruit for market, the main object being to produce as good a sample of fruit as possible, as well as to avoid the fruit being bruised. The apples which are held over for disposal later on in the season are all stored in cases in the fruit room, instead of the practice usually adopted of placing the fruit on shelves or trays, which the Messrs. Shepherd do not approve of, as they find that by heaping up the apples very often results in many being bruised, and in a very short time they become unfit for market. In order to allow of the free circulation of air, the cases are placed about 2 inches apart, and are stacked one on top of other. Vegetables are also grown, but only for home consumption. When Mr. Shepherd, senior, first came to the colony he brought with him some lettuce seed (Paris Cross), which he has kept ever since. A splendid specimen of rhubarb (Topp's Winter), about 2.5 feet in length, was shown our representative, the rhubarb being of a beautiful rich red colour. At the last show the firm obtained first prize for the best brace of cucumbers. Not withstanding the immense amount of labour involved in the working of the nursery and orchard, sufficient time is found for the cultivation of flowers and ornamental plants, a large plot of ground, close to the homestead and in front of the nursery, being specially reserved for that purpose. Mr. George Shepherd is the fortunate possessor of a splendid collection of stuffed water and land birds, most of wh:ch have been shot in the neighbourhood, many being of very rare species. Each class of birds are enclosed in a separate case, each bird being appropriately mounted, the whole collection being valued at 150. Included in the variety is a little Tabuan water crake, which is a very rare species indeed, but the two birds of which Mr. George Shepherd is most proud of are the tiny Little Bittern and a beautiful Australian White Egret, the Little Bittern standing out in marked contrast to the tall and noble-looking White Egret with its snowy white plumes. These two birds are enclosed in a separate glass globe. The crafty Renard is also to be found occupying the place usually allotted to him. A visit to the homestead would not be complete without a visit being made to the pantry of Mrs. George Shepherd, where, stored away on shelves, are to be found the collection of preserves so successfully shown at the town-hall, Melbourne, and at 8omerville and Cranbourne. The preserves are in just as good a state as when they were first preserved, and form a collection which any housewife might well be proud of. [xC Dn cotIIusao.] (P.3, Mornington Standard, 25-6-1896.)
N.B. A couple of lines, unable to be read because of a crease in the newspaper, are indicated by question marks. Mistakes, such as a redundant "of", are the journalist's not mine. I presume he means the crafty reynard (fox.)

See comment 6. (Oh Noes struck again!)

Leila Shaw,author of THE WAY WE WERE, was a Brunnings girl and her history gives much detail about the family,the St Kilda connection and so on. Sadly the soldiers' memorial park donated by the family has been sold to Aldi.

MR. JOHN BRUNNING. The death of Mr. Jno. Brunning, of Somerville, on Monday came as a shock to his many friends in that district. Deceased had been in ill health for some weeks, but his death was not anticipated. Mr. Brunning came to Somerville about 62 years ago, when he was a toddler of three years. For the grea ter part of his life he had conducted the well-known nursery business of J. Brunning and Sons. Burial took place at Frankston cemetery on Wednesday afternoon, when a large number of Somerville and district residents attended. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. D. A. White and Rev. C. R., C. Tidmarsh. Rev. Tidmarsh, who had known deceased for many years, gave an impressive address at the grave. Messrs. Herbert, George and Stanley. Brunning (cousins of the deceased), William Shepherd, James and Benja min Caldwell acted as pall-bearers. The funeral was conducted-by Mr. H. Gamble. Deceased leaves three sons and one daughter (Mrs. Ryan). His wife and two daughters predeceased him. (P.4, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 7-9-1928.)

The will of the late Mr Alexander Scott, of Somerville, has been lodged for probate. In it the testator's two sons, James and John, are bequeathed the properties in the parish of Mooroo- duc, subject to the payment by the former of the sum of 100 to deceased's daughter, Caroline, wife of Charles Unthank, of Bittern; and the latter of the sum of 50 to the second daughter, Ann, wife of Wil- liam Firth, of Moorooduc. The bal- ance of the estate, after payment of debts, &c., is bequeathed in equal por- tions to the two sons and two daugh- ters named above. The estate is valued at 1825, and the female branch of the beneficiaries are any thing but satisfied with the portions allowed them. (P.2, Mornington Standard, 17-10-1903.) Also see Firth.

Seldom has Somerville community been oftener called upon to mourn the loss of well known and respected residents than within the last two years. Another of the sturdy old pioneers passed away on Friday evening (20th. inst.), in the person of Mr. William Firth. The end was not altogether unexpected, as Mr. Firth has been in failing health for some time. The deceased, who was a native of the Island of Orkney, N.B., came to this colony when 16 years of age, and spent some four years at Bendigo, Maryborough, and other diggings. He then came to this district, and for a few years, as a partner with his brothers, John and James, he carried out several road and other large contracts. After purchasing the property on which he died (Orkney Farm), Mr. Firth gave up contract work, and has ever since devoted his energies, with marked success, to mixed farming, being one of the very first to attempt wheat growing in these parts. He was for some time successful in getting some very large returns per acre. His horses were well known, and always commanded a big figure, being specially sought after by Brighton market gardeners, who often bought them unbroken in the paddock. Sheep and cattle were also successfully raised. During Mr. Firth's long residence here of 53 years, he had seen vast changes, and had himself during his strenuous life become the owner of somewhere about 1000 acres in the district. Though a keen Scot at a bargain, deceased had by his uprightness, kindliness of heart and integrity, won the respect of all who knew him as a kindly neighbor, a staunch, friend, and a just foe. Although never taking any prominent part in public affairs Mr. Firth always had the welfare of the district at heart. The deceased leaves a widow, four daughters and one son to mourn the loss of a loving husband and fond father. Mrs. Firth is the daughter of another very old pioneer, Mr. Sandy Scott, who died a few years ago. The funeral on Sunday was very largely attended, some 40 vehicles and 12 horsemen being present, in addition to many relatives, including Messrs. John, James, and Joseph Firth (curator Macedon Nurseries). There were also present several leading councillors of the Mornington and Frankston and Hastings shires, and many old resi- dents. (P.2, Mornington Standard, 28-12-1907.)

Death. MURRAY--On the 7th August, at her residence, Somerville, Elizabeth, the dearly beloved wife of Charles Murray, and only daughter of James Grant, post- master, Somerville. Deeply regretted.
(P.2, Mornington Standard, 16-8-1890.)

OBITUARY MR. GEORGE ALFRED GRANT Mr. George Alfred Grant died on Thursday, November 28, at his resi dence, Eramossa Road, Somerville. Mr. Grant was born at Somerville, and lived there all his life. He was a well-known orchardist and nursery man, and won many prizes at local shows. He was also interested in all sport, and won many trophies at foot running, high jumping, rifle shooting and cricket. He was a trustee of the early Presbyterian church, also member of the Fruit growers' Association, , Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows, and past director of Cool stores. Mr. Grant's parents,, the late Mr. and Mrs. James Grant, were early settlers of Somerville, and were in charge of the first post office at Somerville. He was held in high esteem by a large circle of friends. His wife, six daughters,and two sons survive him. .The funeral took place on Saturday, November 30, the remains being interred in the Frankston Cemetery. Many floral tributes were made. There was a large attendance at the funeral, the district being well represented. Pall bearers were: Cr. Webb, Mesrrs W. P. Hutchinson, Geo Richardson, Chas. Thornell, D. Heywood, Theo Grant, Gus Murray, W. Monk. Coffin bearers were: Messrs. Ray Harding, Dan. Heywood, H. Brown, G. Gamble, L. Smith, sons-in-law, Ray Grant nephew. (P.7, Standard, 5-12-1946.)

Obituary MR JAS. GRANT, SEN. It is with regret we have to chronicle the demise, at the advanced age of 83, of one of Somerville's oldest and most respected residents, in the person of Mr Jas. Grant, sen., which occurred at his late residence at Somerville on Sunday last. By Mr Grant's death Somerville and district lose one of the very oldest and most highly respected residents. Mr Grant and Mr W. A. Shepherd (who died only a few weeks ago) were in the early days friends and neighbours in Melbourne, and came down and settled at Somerville together many years ago. Deceased for some time had charge of the post office when it was situated at the Somerville station. Mr Grant has been a successful and prosperous fruitgrower and nursery man, and has given each of his five sons a splendid start in life. By his honesty of purpose, strict integrity, hard work, and kindly nature, Mr Grant won the esteem and regard of every resident of the district. The respect in which Mr Grant was held was evinced on the day of the funeral, when, in the teeth of a blinding storm of wind and rain, one of the largest corteges seen at Somerville wended its way to the Frankston cemetery.
(P.3, Mornington and Dromana Standard, 1-5-1909.)

MR. J. E. MURRAY. Mr. James Edmund Murray, of Somerville, died at his late residence last Sunday at the age of 68 years. The late Mr. Murray was a well known resident of Somerville, and, though he had no family and his wife predeceased him, leaves many relatives in that district. Burial took place in Frankston cemetery on Monday last. The service was read by Rev. D. A. White, of Somerville. The coffin was borne to the grave by Messrs. J. E. Sage, E. J. Murray, S. C. Martin and F. S. Murray, all of whom are nephews of deceased. The pall-bearers were Messrs. H. Jones, S. W. M. West, and J. Hutchinson. The funeral was conducted by Mr. H. J. Gamble, of Frankston. Mr. Augustus Murray, Mr. John Murray, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Harboard, Mrs. Harkness, Mrs. Batterham and Miss Jane Murray are the living brothers and sisters of deceased.
(P.1, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 3-8-1929.) See GRANT.
N.B. The Murrays granted much land on the south side of Mornington-Tyabb Rd,in the parish of Bittern,and much involved in the butchering business, seem to be unrelated.

SOMERVILLE. Mr. J. Murray, who sold his orchard property to Mr. Wood some time ago, has just purchased the property of Mr. McCalman (better known as McGurk's.) Mr. Murray wandered about we hear looking for a property in other parts, but has found nothing to beat Somerville. (P.2, Mornington Standard, 21-9-1907.)
The pioneers' properties will be discussed later but I will describe McGurk's now.

On 12-5-1890, Edward McGurk was granted crown allotment 61, parish of Moorooduc. Consisting of 203 acres, its northern and southern boundaries were those of Witchwood Park (Melway 148 B6), but it fronted both Webbs Lane and Jones Rd. Part of the allotment (61C of 28 acres,north of Pottery Lane)seems to have been granted to F.P.Wagner as a Closer Settlement farm.

OBITUARY ---0-- MISS M. MURRAY. The death occurred on Saturday of Miss Madge Murray, aged 12 years, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Murray, of Somerville. Although so young, her bright disposition had won her many friends, 'and her parents received many beautiful floral tributes and other expressions of sympathy. The funeral took place in the Frankston Cemetery ,on Sunday. The cortege was formed by a large gathering of relatives and .friends. The casket was carried by Messrs. S. Scott, J. E. Sage, S. C. Martin and F. Martin... The pall bearers were Messrs. C. W. Roach, C. Barber, W.Hutchinson and C. Thornell. The Rev. S. O. Seward read the burial service. Mr. Hector Gamble had charge of the funeral arrangements.
(P.4, Frankston and Somerville Standard,7-5-1937.)

I must be careful here because I think there may have been more than one Martin family. Leila Shaw has quite a lot of detail in THE WAY WE WERE about the Martin's Corner store.The grocer family seems to have arrived in the early 1900's while the Blacksmith, W.Martin, was there in the 1890's and was involved in the early days of the Fruitgrowers' Association as was Betts, another blacksmith, who was the Secretary and the caretaker of the Mechanics' Institute.

Somerville have strengthened their team and improved their play, and should be able to hold their own against any of the local teams. Martin, Somerville, is deserving of special mention for his play. He is a decided acquisition to the ranks of the fruitgrowers. (P.2, Mornington Standard, 31-5-1902.)

The transfer of a grocer's license from Amelia Holmes to E. A. Martin, of Somerville, was approved.
(P.2, Mornington Standard,8-3-1902.)

Messrs E. A. and A. E. Martin, general storekeeper and wine and spirit merchants, of Somerville, notify that they are carrying an exceptionally large stock of well-selected goods. Quality combined with cheapness is their motto. The firm makes a speciality of patent medicines, every well-known line being kept.
(P.4, Mornington Standard, 18-10-1902.)

From various articles, it seems as if the Hutchinsons were market gardeners in Stumpy Gully Rd, Moorooduc and were involved in the early days of the Somerville Fruitgrowers' Association.They were probably near Mornington-Tyabb Rd as W.Hutchinson was described as being of Tyabb, as was William Murray whose property was in the parish of Bittern near Edward Jones' Spring Farm.There must have been two cousins,one dying in 1895 and another, possibly also John, experiencing difficulty a couple of years later.It is not known whether they were related to the Hutchinsons of the Frankston gasworks.

I regret to record the death of Mr. John Hutchinson, at the age of 30, at his residence, Moorooduc, on Thursday evening last. The deceased had been for the past two years a martyr to chronic sciatica, and although every medical attendance in the city was obtained at various periods, the deceased experienced little or no relief from his sufferings. The end was not altogether unexpected, and at 6 p.m. on Thursday he quietly passed away. The funeral was hold on Saturday, and was followed by a large number of friends around the district, comprising 21 vehicles, 30 horseman and 31 members of the A.O.F., who walked in front of the hearse, of which society the deceased was an old member. A widow and son are left to mourn the loss of the departed.
(P.2, Mornington Standard, 27-6-1895.)

The Somerville Correspondent wrote:
The market gardener's life is not one of unalloyed pleasure. At Mordialloc on Saturday last Mr. J. Hutchinson had the misfortune to lose sight of his horse while enjoying a few minutes in the arms of Morpheus. After having tracked it for some miles he was unable to come up with it and had to walk the best part of the way home. (P.2, Mornington Standard, 8-4-1897.)

Sale of Property.
Mornington Standard (Vic. : 1889 - 1908) Saturday 6 September 1902 Edition: MORNING. p 4 Article
... Sale of Property. The well-known Westernport orchard and and nursery at Somerville, the property of the late John Holt and leased by Mr Chas. Barber is to be submitted for sale by auction by Messrs Graham and Styles on Wednesday next at noon.

We shall soon have to get iron safes to lock poultry up in at night. The cold weather has no doubt increased sly reynards always too keen appetite. One night last week after gobbling, up one or two clutches of chickens belonging to Mr Barber in mere devilment he killed eleven other fowls. Poultry farming under these conditions certainly does not pay.(P.2, Mornington Standard, 19-4-1900.)

Mr Barber almost lost a valuable horse last week through its slipping backwards down the steep bank of a creek. It took 8 men some time to liberate the poor brute. (P.3, Mornington Standard, 15-9-1898.)

The Barbers were much involved with the Fruitgrowers' Association from 1899 and the Methodist Church by 1896. A court case re a fire (P.3,Mornington Standard, 24-3-1898) leads me to believe that Charles was near the corner of Bungower and Lower Somerville Rds.He lived near the Clarkes and the accused.

Somerville is at the junction of three parishes with Moorooduc separated from Frankston by Eramosa Rd and both of those separated from Tyabb by Jones and Grant Rds respectively. The name of Sage is more often connected with Baxter but the family was also associated with Somerville. Ben Baxter's Carrup Carrup Run was not very far north of Eramosa Rd and when it was broken up and sold after being surveyed, the Sage family and the family of surveyor, Robert Hoddle, both related to Ben Baxter by marriage,received grants adjoining the pre-emptive right. William Firth's grant over Eramosa Rd from Orkney Farm adjoined a Baxter grant. Thus a Sage removal to Somerville was hardly a departure to parts unknown. By 1921, J.E.Sage was on Alfred Jones' Almond Bush Stud, carrying on the horse breeding tradition.

To Stand this season at Somerville At "Almond Bush" Travel if Required. The Champion Pony Stallion MALDON BEAUTIFUL Dappl.rt " foaled 1910, with good, clean, flat bone and plenty of muscle, style and action and stands about 18.2 hands high. Maldon is by Boy out of Fannie. Roy is by Fauntleroy. Maldon's dam, Fannie, is by Silver Prince, grand sire Silver King (imp). Maldon gained the Society's Champion Ribbon at Frankston in 1914, and in 1919 at Royal Show, Melbourne, First in Class as Sire of Harness Ponies, and Champion for Best Pony. TERMS...... For further particulars apply to J. E. SAGE, Somerville. Also at Stud the Pure Bred Berkshire Boar bred by Dookie College ...... FeI lOs Shorthorn Bull At Stud .... Fee 10l.
(P.1s,Frankston and Somerville Standard, 4-11-1921.)

MATRON A. M. SAGE, APPOINTED MATRON-IN-CHIEF HONOR FOR SOMERVILLE WOMAN A little over 12 months ago, Mat ron Sage, of Somerville, arrived in the Middle East, and in a letter to her brother, Mr Arthur Sage, receiv ed this week, she tells of her appointment as Matron-in-Chief of the A.I.F. This is a great honor to a local woman and we will let Matron Sage tell her own story: "You will see by the above address that I have gone up the scale a bit. Miss Wilson was ill and has return ed to Australia and word was sent to me to report immediately to head quarters, where I was told I had to leave my hospital and take over the duties of Principal Matron. ETC. (P.3, Standard, 20-6-1941.)


At least one of our local residents have been helping to buy out the Hey field estate. Mr A. Warren has ob- tained a very nice block said to be one of the most picturesque of the lot.
(P.3, Mornington Standard, 2-11-1899.)



13 comment(s), latest 2 weeks, 6 days ago

The FIRTH family on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.

The three Firth brothers, James, William and John were pioneers in three parishes near Somerville, Victoria, namely Tyabb, Moorooduc and Bittern. As Balnarring parish was part of the Shire of Flinders, much detail was given about the family in "Lime Land Leisure", a history of the shire.

The family legend states that William Firth first saw young Ann Scott while he was looking for water and was so captivated by her beauty that he vowed to marry her one day. The wedding took place on 7-6-1882, when William was 45 and Ann was 22. Ann had been the first white child born at Somerville.

William established "Orkney Farm" at the east corner of Coolart and Eramosa Rds, just west of Henry Gomm's Glenhoya and north of Alexander Scott's grant on the east corner of Webb's Lane. One of William's daughters, Jean, married William Herbert (Paddy) Gomm and the property eventually passed into the hands of the Gomm family.

In 1923, newspapers around Australia reported the tragic death of Mrs James Firth, who at that time was living with her son, Andrew, a farmer of Somerville. On her way home, possibly from the races at Mornington, she was driving "at a moderate pace" and about to cross the railway crossing on Moorooduc Road before turning right into Eramosa Rd, when she saw a special race train. Panicking, she crawled into the back of the car and then jumped out- right into the path of the train. The car escaped practically unscathed apart from frontal bruises from a fence which stopped its progress.

John Firth and John Ricketts were the Executors of Andrew McLellan, another pioneer in the Moorooduc area.(Argus 26-4-1878.)Four years earlier, James Firth and his brother, as well as neighbours near Tuerong Station, such as John and Agnes Wilson, and John McCusker, were called as witnesses in the case of the "Schnapper Point Murder".

the GOMM/MONK CONNECTION in England and Victoria, Australia.

When Henry Gomm was trespassing on Lord Moreton's estate, Samuel Monk was one of his companions. Henry was transported to Hobart in 1836 and Hannah (Neal) and her three children joined him in early 1838. Henry gained his ticket of leave in 1841 and owned a 16 ton schooner Venus by 1849.
By 1853 Henry was requesting a post office in Moorabbin parish and by 1862, Henry had 14 acres in Balcombe Rd, probably between the property of Jesse Monk in Church Rd (now St) and George Gomm's 6 acres; George had a house in Balcombe Rd and another in Charman Rd.
At about that time young Henry Gomm, who married Margaret Monk, moved onto his own land at Somerville. Death notices confirm that Margaret came from Cheltenham and that Jesse Monk's wife and James Monk died in Somerville. A Gomm and Monk presence remained near Moorabbin for some time.
The Gomm and Monk families still live in Somerville.
(Sources: Tasmanian Genealogy, City of Kingston website, Trove (Argus)Murray Gomm.)

2 comment(s), latest 1 year, 6 months ago

JOSEPH PORTA: the first manufacturer of bellows in Victoria, Australia.

Joseph Porta was of Italian origin but his family was resident in England, perhaps near Birmingham, and he emigrated to Victoria from there.By about 1861 he had received the grant (title from the Government) for Crown Allotment 63 Moorooduc near Somerville. Within a couple of years he became insolvent and became a cab driver in Mornington by 1866. In this year he was also making bellows, probably in Mornington. As the PORTAMOULDINGS company history explains, he established his Little Lonsdale St factory in Melbourne in 1868.
I have extensive information from Trove which I am willing to provide to people who have read the PORTAMOULDINGS website.Joseph's family was related by marriage to the Bennetts of Mornington.

The GOMMS of St Kilda, Brighton, Mentone, Cheltenham, Somerville and Rosebud.

Trove lists articles and ads re GOMM in most of these places. The City of Kingston Heritage site provides more information as does the Gomm genealogical website.I have much information about the GOMMS of Glenhoya at Somerville and some about Rosebud.Henry and Margaret Gomm (Monk)of Somerville definitely came from Cheltenham.
Somerville Henry's biography in Victoria and Its Metropolis is skimpy and possibly untrue; his surname is wrongly given as GOMIN. He told his family that he came out on the same ship as Tommy Bent, but the bent politician was born in Penrith, N.S.W.
I believe the lack of background and the Bent error were part of a cover-up. Henry Gomm, possibly his father, was convicted in 1835 and transported to Hobart in 1836. In 1838, the mother of his three children, Hannah Neal,brought them out to join him.He gained his ticket of leave in 1841 and by 1849 had done well enough to enter his 16 ton schooner "Venus" in Hobart's annual regatta. Was this the Henry Gomm who was asking for a post office nearer Moorabbin by 1853 and owned 14 acres near the corner of Charman and Balcombe Rd by 1864? Three of Henry and Hannah's children were Thomas, Henry and William. Is it just co-incidence that a Thomas drowned at Dromana, a Henry died at Somerville and a William at Hastings? Or that William and Henry were assessed on lot 13 at Rosebud Village? SEE COMMENTS FOR UPDATES!
The Gomm family of Somerville is related by marriage to at least the following families :SHEPHERD,COATE, DEVLIN, GRAF, CURSON, MARSHALL, NASH, UNTHANK, FIRTH, BIGGS, SCOTT, DUFFIELD.

13 comment(s), latest 3 years, 1 month ago