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

Journal by itellya

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!

Surnames: FERRIER
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by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-08-20 09:26:32

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

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by itellya on 2014-05-10 21:19:38

Google FERRIER, WARRNAMBOOL, GEELONG HERITAGE and, in the first result, see a photo of 25 year old William John Ferrier taken in 1905 shortly after performing his heroic deed.

by itellya on 2014-05-11 21:41:03

I googled WILLIAM JOHN FERRIER, HERO and discovered some great photos as well as a possible motive for the hero's move away from Warrnambool, his modesty which was mentioned in the interview and Lew Ferrier's letter (in the FERRIER, HUTCHINS journal.) Although the article has some new information,it wrongly states that William moved straight to Queenscliff and neither mentions his lighthouse service nor Rosebud (where he took the lead in preserving fish stocks in Port Phillip Bay by opposing fine mesh net fishing.

THE ARTICLE AND PHOTOS.
Travels through water | 10 November 1905: a hero and a ...
travelsthroughwater.com/2013/11/10/a-hero-and-a-shipwreck/

PROTECTING FISH STOCKS.
UNDERSIZED SCHNAPPER. TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Wednesday 28 April 1915 p 11 Article
William was supporting the letter of J.Induni, grantee of crown allotment 9 in the Rosebud Fishing Village, just 20 metres east of crown allotment 7 on which William was probably now living full time, having left the lifesaving service and describing himself as a licenced fisherman. The depletion of fish stocks caused by fine mesh nets may have led to William's move to Queenscliff where the barracoutta grounds outside the heads were more accessible.

by itellya on 2014-05-12 08:15:04

MR. W. FERRIER DEAD
SEIZURE WHILE FISHING
QUEENSCLIFF, Monday.
Hero of a wreck rescue 32 years ago, Mr. William Ferrier, aged 57 years, a well-known fisherman, of Queenscliff, died following a seizure in his boat in the bay on Sunday. His son Mansley, who was celebrating his 15th birthday, was in the boat fishing with him, and immediately headed the boat for Swan Island. He brought it to the pier-head anchorage of the naval depot, and informed the officer in charge (Commander Saunders), who immediately telephoned for medical assistance. Mr Ferrier was brought into Queenscliff by trolley and sent by ambulance to the Geelong Hospital. He did not regain consciousness, and died at 4 am to-day.

Magnificent Feat
On the night of November 1905 when the barquentine La Bella was wrecked on a reef near Warrnambool, Mr Ferrier put out in a 14ft dinghy through heavy seas and rescued the captain and a seaman from the wreck, the rest of the crew being drowned. The lifeboat was unable to go out but the lifeboat crew tried to pick up survivors on
the beach. Mr. Ferrier who was suffering from a poisoned arm made the journey using one paddle and in rescuing the seaman had to cut the rope by which he had tied himself to the mast. He had just won clear when a huge wave smashed the remains of the wreck.

For his valour Mr. Ferrier was awarded the Royal Humane Society's gold medal and certificate and the Royal Life-saving Society's certificate. He also received a
cable of congratulation from the King and was a guest of the Governor of Victoria and the Governor of South Australia. He was also awarded a gold medal from the
Gawler* Dinghy Club. At a dinner given at Adelaide in his honour three State Governors were present.

Mr. Ferrier received offers to make personal appearances at theatres and music halls, but declined them all**. (Tribute to Hero, Page 2.)
(* Most likely Glenelg. ** This tends to confirm that William moved away from Warrnambool to escape the overwhelming publicity.)

IF YOU WISH TO COPY THE FOLLOWING DO SO FROM HERE RATHER THAN FROM TROVE AS I COULD NOT CORRECT THIS PORTION THERE.
Fisherman s Death(Continued from Page 1.)
TRIBUTE TO HERO
FLAGS FLOWN HALF-MAST
MR. W. FERRIER'S BURIAL TO-DAY QUEENSCLIFF, Monday.
Flags were flown at half-mast here today as a mark of respect to the memory of Mr. William Ferrier, who was the hero of a wreck on the reef 32 years ago. Mr.Ferrier died early this morning after a seizure which came upon him in his fishing-boat yesterday.

At the Queenscliff State school, an address on Mr. Ferrier's exploit was given by
the head master (Mr. F. Pritchard). The children stood in silence for one minute.
All fishermen and the lifeboat crew will attend the funeral tomorrow. The burial
will be at the Queenscliff Cemetery.

Much praise is given to the feat of Mr Ferrier's son Mansley, aged 15 years, who
handled a large boat by himself when he took his father across the bay to Swan
Island.

Mr. Ferrier was born at Warrnambool,and, in his early days, was a member of the lifeboat crew. He also was employed for some years in the lighthouse service.He has left a widow and 13* children, all living at Queenscliff. (P.1,Argus,21-12-1937.)

Lew Ferrier told me that his mother had taken him to the Dromana Cemetery in 1932 and pointed out the pine tree under which three Ferrier girls were buried. I assumed that they had died at Rosebud but then I remembered one who had died at "Rosebud" before 1937.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Saturday 16 July 1927 p 13 Family Notices
... FERRIER - On the 15th July, at her parents' residence, Rosebud, Beach street, Queenscliff, Ellen Isobel (Jean), dearly loved eldest daughter of William and Frances Ferrier, dearly loved sister of Val, Willie, Alice, Frank, Stephen, Colin, Jack, Nelson, Olive, Mansly, Lewis, and baby Geoff, aged 22 years and 7 months.

Did William Ferrier move to Queenscliff to be with a brother, whose name was probably Stephen? Were the three girls buried at Dromana S.and A.Ferrier's daughters?

FERRIER - In sad and loving memory of our dear daughters, who passed to higher life-
Lottie, on the 18th January, 1900; Vera, on the 23rd September, 1909; Annie, on the 18th May,1922, Florrie, on the 23rd August. 1922.
Still mourned, still loved, still missed.-(Inserted by their sorrowing parents, S. and A. Ferrier, Queenscliff. ) (P.1,Argus,23-8-1923.)

S.Ferrier obviously married A.Carter in Warrnambool.
CARTER.Killed in action on the 3rd November, "somewhere in France," Gunner Harold G. Carter dearly loved youngest son of E. and C. Carter, of Warrnambool, and loved brother of E.Carter (Bendigo), C. Carter (Deepdene), W. and S. Carter (Warrnambool), Mrs. S. Ferrier (Queenscliff), Mrs. Williams (Caulfield), Mrs.E. Cust (Perth, W.A.), Mrs. A. O'Brien (Cohuna), Mrs. J. Ryan and Mrs. C. King (Warrnambool), Mrs. A. Davis (Geelong), aged 20 years. (P.13,Argus,9-12-1916.)

S.Ferrier was Stephen and his wife was Alice (nee Carter.) They lived in Bay St, Queenscliff.
FERRIER.-On the 18th May, at her parents residence, Bay street, Queenscliff, Annie May, dearly loved youngest daughter of Stephen and Alice Ferrier, loved sister of Florrie and loved granddaughter of E and C. Carter, Warrnambool, aged 21 years.
(P.11, Argus,20-5-1922.)


WAS STEPHEN FERRIER AT QUEENCLIFF BEFORE WILLIAM MOVED THERE,circa 1916?
Fishing Boat Adrift
Queenscliff, Monday, - A fishing boat belonging to a local fisherman, named S.Ferrier, broke away from its mooring between two piers during the night or early this morning through a split-link in the mooring chain being faulty. The wind
being off the land, evidently carried the vessel out into the western channel,when it drifted with the flood tide about eight miles, two fishermen from St. Leonards picking it up shortly before the owner, who had been apprised by the lookout that a
boat without occupants or sails set was in that direction, arrived on the scene. Ferrier found the boat undamaged and bought her safely back to the moorings, which he made thoroughly secure. (P.3,Argus, 17-9-1907.

It is possible that Stephen and Alice had moved back to Warrnambool for a while by 1920; a FERRIER, WARRNAMBOOL search on trove produced several photos of William and also one of the Warrnambool Woollen Mill Cricket team with S.A.Ferrier at top left.

FERRIER ODDS AND ENDS.
While trying to determine whether Stephen Ferrier was still in Queenscliff after the early 1920's,I discovered that William's son Frank (assisted by his mates who were bailing water out of the boat) rowed with one oar* (just like his dad) when he made his rescue and that he and a mate found a stash of opium attached to lifebelts.** William's heroic deed of 1905 was never forgotten,articles following his death being nearly as numerous as in 1905.William's widow,Frances, was reported in 1938*** to have been given a sewing machine by its famous maker and to have received a letter of sympathy from a survivor of the La Bella.
*This article is not the one that mentioned the one-oar rowing but has a photo of the men and their names in the caption. Frank is holding his single oar.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Tuesday 18 January 1949 p 1 Article Illustrated

**8O TINS OF OPIUM. ATTACHED TO LIFEBELTS. FISHERMEN'S DISCOVERY.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Monday 10 August 1931 p 7 Article

***The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Saturday 19 February 1938 Supplement: The Argus Week-end Magazine p 18 Article

by itellya on 2014-06-19 01:58:36

Much more information about the Ferriers,including extensive genealogy provided by Laurie Ferrier of Warrnambool, the meaning of NUMBER SEVEN and information about preserving stillborn babies on the South Channel Pile Lighthouse from the hero's son (Queenscliff's barefoot fisherman)and some Ferrier family nicknames from Peter Ferrier of 4pete's sake in Queenscliff can be found in my journal:
LEW FERRIER AND PAT HUTCHINS, PISCATORIAL PIONEERS NEAR THE HEADS (NOT FINISHED YET.), VIC., AUST.

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