<< Previous - Next >>


Journal by itellya

POSTSCRIPT 11-12-2018. Knowing nothing about Victorian BDM in 2012, I had presumed that Sarah Renouf had been the daughter of Henry Prosser of Frankston Fish Company fame. As she died in 1916 aged 95 (thus being born in about 1821) and Henry Prosser had married Margaret Smith Grayden, daughter of Charles Grayden*, (after whom Graydens Rd may have been named), in 1869, this was clearly wrong so I looked for Sarah's death record to discover her parents.

EventDeath Event registration number9828 Registration year1916
Personal information
Family nameRENOUF Given namesSarah SexUnknown Father's nameProsser Jas Mother's nameAnn (Adams) Place of birth Place of deathDromana Age95

Henry and Sarah weren't siblings either (see their parents.) Henry died in 1889, aged only 45.
EventDeath Event registration number5483 Registration year1889
Personal information
Family namePROSSER Given namesHy SexMale Father's nameWm Mother's nameEsther Mary (Mann) Place of birth Place of deathTyabb Age45

Extracts from my THE FEMALE DROVER: A HISTORY OF MOOROODUC. The source quoted for "Island View" is Graeme Butler's Hastings Heritage Study.

ISLAND VIEW. (Appendix 1, page 260.) See Flood St on page 57.
In the 1880’s, James and John Flood were granted a total of 500 acres (allotments 1 and 7B in the parish of Bittern) on the south side of Bungower Rd, extending from Boes Rd to Alden St. J.Flood was, on 7-3-1873, granted 2A of 94 acres, between lot 1 and W.Boes’ 2B of the same size. Butler confusingly says that John Scott subdivided the former Flood Estate into 30 acre blocks and sold one to Charles and Lydia Renouf in 1912. Renouf called his property Island View. It is likely that John Scott subdivided only Crown Allotment 1, consisting of 166 acres. Island View Drive probably occupies three of the 30 acre farms, with the drives of the other two, at the northern end of allotment 1, shown in Melway as “private access”.

The Argus of 29-7-1916 reported the death of Sarah Renouf, the widow of Amise Renouf of Frankston, who died on 15-7-1916 at her daughter’s residence in Dromana. She was 95 and a colonist of 68 years. Strangely all of her children had the surname “Sawyer”, indicating an earlier marriage. Two of her sons had moved to the vicinity of Neerim but another two were pioneers of the locality known as Moorooduc and a daughter married into a prominent Dromana pioneering family. Her children were: L. and H.Sawyer (at and near Neerim), J.Sawyer(Moorooduc), F.Sawyer (Bittern), Mrs John Hopcraft and Mrs Jonah Griffith.
As my original area of research was between Safety Beach and Tootgarook, I think I can be forgiven for having a hazy recollection of information that I have noticed about places outside this area. I am sure a Renouf was a director of the Frankston Fish Company and it may have been Amise. David Renouf, who bought a block (which had seen many Floods since it was granted) from John Scott and named it Island View, might have been a son or nephew of Amise.
The same depth of knowledge exists in relation to Henry Prosser. I know that Henry was a fisherman and I think he owned farmland as well. Having deliberately ignored the Westernport area (so I wouldn’t get side-tracked), I’m not even sure whether he was at Hastings or Flinders. The fact that he stood against Alfred Jones in the East Riding of Mornington Shire in 1881 indicates that it could have been the former. He seems to have become a councillor. When some Government big-wigs came to Frankston, Cr Prosser drove them around the district.
Henry Prossor, descendant of a Fingal pioneer, later moved to Red Hill and was in no way related to this Henry Prosser. But what do the Prossers have to do with the Renoufs and Sawyers?
I googled Sawyer-Prosser on Trove in the hope of finding some details of the marriage. There I found information posted by somebody who must be researching the Hodgkinson family. It so happened that Sarah Renouf had been born Sarah Prosser and had married Isaac Sawyer. Jessie Sawyer, her son, who had a farm called “Summerlands" (Annals 26-2-1921) had a daughter that married John Hodgkinson (born 1898 Daylesford). In the following, all deaths occurred in Victoria where no details appear.
Jesse was born in 1854 and died on 21-11-1925 at Mornington. (So his retirement, at 67, lasted only four years.) He married Mary Ann Coxshall at Frankton on 6-2-1878. She had been born at Moorooduc on 29-4-1858 and died at Schnapper Point in 1909. It is strange that the old name for Mornington appeared in records so long after the name change. A search of Summerlands on trove revealed that Jesse was living in View St, Mornington, at the time of his death (Argus 26-11-1925.) Mary Ann died at Summerlands on 3rd October (Argus 5-10-1909.) Their son, James William died at Mornington on 24-5-1948 (Argus 29-5-1948.)
I’ve heard of short pregnancies but this takes the cake (unless Sarah’s father was equipped for a bit of rabbiting after the wedding service!) It seems that Jesse was a frisky devil and that Mary Ann was not the type to develop a headache at bedtime. Or perhaps, she had developed a method to make all her pregnancies last only three months and nineteen days! With SP standing for Schnapper Point, here are the details of their fifteen children.
1. SARAH EMILY B. 25-5-1878.
2. ANNIE B.10-9-1879 SP
3. FREDERICK HENRY B.1-7-1881 SP D.1-4-1882 SP.
5. JESSIE B. 2-10-1883 Bittern D.14-8-1950 CHATHAM, VIC.
Jessie married James Alexander Johnstone (and other spouses.)
6. MARY ELIZABETH B.28-11-1884 SP D.1886.
7. ERNEST THOMAS B.8-5-1882 SP.
8. JOHN RENOUF B.10-7-1887 SP.
9. ETHEL MAUDE B. 16-8-1888 SP D. 24-6-1969.
10. ALICE RUBY B. 20-1-1890.
11. HILDA MAY B. 12-5-1891MOOROODUC.
12. HENRY ISAAC B. 5-9-1892 D. 25-9-1892.
13. WINIFRED FRANCES B. 1-12-1893.
14. GRACE B. 11-2-1895 D.1973 MENTONE. M. John Hodgkinson.
It is likely that Isaac Sawyer had died and his widow had remarried by 1887 when John Renouf Sawyer was born and named.

Mrs John Hopcraft- See the Sawyer land in Wannaeue.

Mrs Jonah Griffith.
I quote from page 69 of Colin McLear’s “A Dreamtime of Dromana”.
Jonah Griffith died on July 12, 1933, aged 83. He was married to Sarah Sawyer and had seven children.
1.Maud Alice 1871; 2. Edith Annie 15/11/1873-1953; 3.Delia Sarah 5/3/1874-1951
4. Gertrude18/8/1876; 5. Sylvester Frederick George 1872 (1882?);
6. Harry Lewis Theobald 23/1/1885-27-3-1954; 7. Grace Dora 26/10/1889-1977.
Jonah, known as Doan, was a builder and a professional fisherman working closely with Harry Copp. He lived in Seaview Parade off Jetty Rd (Melway 159 H8).
Colin has plenty of information about the Griffith family. Doan’s father came from Philadelphia with his wife Sarah and (probably) Watson and Bernard Eaton. Bernard was the gold miner and father of Maud Eaton. Hollinshed called him Mr Eaton because Colin did not know his Christian name.

In 1879 Frederick Sawyer was leasing 142 acres in the parish of Wannaeue from the Crown. There were only three Crown allotments of this size and Hearn already had two of them. This left only 21B of 142 acres 3 roods and 1 perch, granted to Alex. Shand Jun. on 1-6-1909. This land is fairly well indicated by Melway 190 D9 and C-D10.
And guess who had the land north of his. John Hopcraft. Guess who had 178 acres (70 A and B, Balnarring) to the north and east of the start of Tucks Rd. William Hopcraft! Directly across Tucks Rd (69A Balnarring) was Robert Henry Adams, whose “gentlewoman” wife, a Hopcraft girl, refused to live at Hopetoun House with the ungentlemanly old sea salt, Captain Henry Everest Adams. Both Frederick and Robert did not extend their licences and their land was granted, respectively, to Shand and M.Byrne. The Hopcrafts moved further south later and the Hansons occupied William’s beautiful house and called it Alpine Chalet. (Sources: parish maps, rates, marriage certificate of Adams-Hopcraft, Adams family legend, “Adams Corner”, “Memoirs of a Larrikin” Hec Hanson.)
In the FAMILY CONNECTIONS entry of my PENINSULA DISTRICT HISTORY, I demonstrate how the bride and groom met each other. In most cases the two families were at some stage very close neighbours. Fred Sawyer was in 1879 the neighbor of John Hopcraft, the man that his sister married.

The grants in this parish are described in the 26-2-1921 entry in the Annals of Moorooduc.
26-2-1921. Having sold Summerlands, 5 miles from Mornington and 8 miles from Somerville, Jesse Sawyer was having a clearing sale. Summerlands was possibly lot 17B Bittern, of almost 115 acres, granted to Jesse Sawyer on 3-6-1899. This had a frontage of 220 metres to Loders Rd with its north boundary a continuation of Bentons Rd. F.Sawyer was the grantee, in 1905, of lot 68A Bittern of almost 50 acres close to the flower farm in Stumpy Gully Rd (Melway163 E2.)

There is a chance that Summerlands was in the locality of Moorooduc rather than the parish of Moorooduc. The former included the parish of Bittern. After careful measurement in Melway, I have concluded that the location of Summerlands as given in the advertisement of 26-2-1921 is nonsense. There is no way it could have been 8 miles from Somerville and still be near Moorooduc. Perhaps the distances were written in figures and a typesetter misread a 3 as 8. The corner of Coolart and Tyabb Rds would be about 5 miles from Mornington and 3 miles from Somerville.

Not much about Renouf so far but here's a gem from OrangeBlossom which prompted this journal.

RENOUF.�On the 6th August, at his residence,
176 Cotham-road, Kew, Philip, dearly beloved
husband of the late Annie Maria Renouf, son of
the late Honourable Amice Renouf, nephew of
the late Sir Peter Renouf, of Jersey, and brother
of Frederick Renouf, Frankston.

You will find more information on Sir Peter Lepage Renouf on Wikipedia etc. I know that there are Renoufs that can be traced back from both Jersey and Guernsey islands. Maybe this confused some at the time because my information shows that this family should have been from Guernsey not Jersey as this Family Notice suggests.

Thank you, OrangeBlossom.

PRESENTATION TO MR PHILLIP RENOUF. The officers, and teachers of the Frankston Wesleyan Sabbath School feeling they could not allow their late superintendent ; (who had been compelled to sever his connection with the school on account of failing health), to leave them without shewing their appreciation of his long services, held a social tea in the school-room, on Monday evening last, to which Mr Renouf, and the senior scholars, past and present, were invited. The catering, for the tea was carried out splendidly by Mr J.D.Box AND THE OTHER TEACHERS!), and the tea tables were ably presided over by the Misses McComb (2), Box, and Cameron; these ladies being most mssiidols in their. atteliltious to tihosu ((P.3, Mornington Standard, 26-4-1890.)

As the article is about five times the length of what I have corrected (and the rest is similar to the last five words above),I'll just give a few details. Phillip had been teaching at the Sunday School for 22 years and was superintendent for most of that time. He had spent a short part of that period at Sale and Hastings, starting the Sunday School at the latter.The wording of the Illuminated Address presented to him is given at the end of the article.

The directors of the original Frankston Fish Company (John Box, Harry Prosser, Phillip Renouf, Jim Croskell and Thomas Ritchie)are shown in a photo in an article entitled MEET THE PIONEERS.
(P.5,Frankston Standard, 5-10-1949.) John Box was probably Phillip's replacement as superintendent at the Sunday School, and Thomas Ritchie who founded the grocery business (now part of I.G.A.)lost four children in a house fire (obituary P.2, Mornington Standard, 21-9-1907.) Renouf and Croskell were among Ritchie's pall- bearers.

It came as no surprise to find Phillip Renouf's name listed on the Frankston regatta committee along with those of other Fish Company directors. ((P.2, Mornington Standard, 24-11-1892.)

And in case you were wondering in which year Phillip Renouf died on the 6th of August, the answer is provided in another death notice:
RENOUF.-On August 6, at his residence, Walthamstow, Cotham-road, Kew, Victoria,Phillip Renouf, dearly-beloved father of Mrs. Cyril Sadleir, Claremont.

Phillip Renouf was an early (Frankston?) shire councillor, along with publican, Mark Young, J.D.Box, Alf Jones and Captain (Ben) Baxter according to pioneer, Charles Wells.(P.1, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 29-10-1926.) Alf Jones of Almond Bush Stud at Somerville, was one of the three Canadians who travelled along Boundary Road supplied timber to the Liverpool lying a mile offshore at Mt Eliza. Can you guess the present name of the road that formed part of the boundary between the parishes of Frankston and Moorooduc?

This company (the Frankston Fish Company) consisted of (1) Messrs Henry Prosser, who arrived in Victoria in 1844, and carried fish from Hastings to Frankston, before joining the company; (2) James Croskell an American from Rhodes, who came to Frankston in 1859; he was also an extensive land owner; (3) John Dixon Box, born in Tasmania, 1840, and worked with Wren Bros., fish dealers, Melbourne. Later he bought Frankston's first bakery from Croskell and Ritchie; (4) Phillip Renouf, born at Jersey Island, arrived in Adelaide in 1863. He carried fish from Frankston to Hastings before joining the company; (5) Thomas Ritchie (senior), born at the Isle of Man. He came to Frankston in 1852, owned Frankston's first bakery, which was under Frankston House.
(P.6, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 15-2-1930.)

by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-11-12 08:43:26

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.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


by itellya on 2012-11-12 08:50:30

Don't ask me how an apostrophe turns into "a accent and two question marks". I suppose it's something to do with transition from one format to another.

by DJFyfe on 2014-06-03 23:13:16

I recently found your journal titled Renouf on the Mornington Peninsula, Vic, Aust. It has some very interesting information on the Sawyers and Renoufs, to which I can add some background detail.

Isaac Sawyer (c. 1817-1862), his wife Sarah nee Prosser (c. 1820-1916), and their children Emma (1846-1876), Sarah Ann and Isaac James Prosser, arrived in Melbourne from Liverpool on the "Eagle" on 14 May 1853. They had four more children, Anne, Jesse, Frederick and Henry Isaac, in Victoria. They had moved to the Frankston area by the time Frederick was born in 1858.

Isaac Sr died at Moorooduc on 16 May 1862 and was buried at Moorooduc Cemetery two days later. Sarah remarried, to Amice Renouf, on 18 Aug 1873 at Schnapper Point. Amice was born in Jersey, Channel Islands.

Isaac and Sarah's first child, Emma, married twice. Her first marriage was to William Henry in Melbourne on 7 Dec 1864. I've found records of four children, Sarah Ann (b. 1866), Emma (1867-1875), William (1869-1900) and Alexander (b. 1871). I haven't traced the families of Sarah Ann and Alexander, but both are mentioned in Sarah Renouf's death notice in 1916.

William Sr died in Aug 1871. Three years later, Emma married Gilbert Beaumont (c. 1844-1908) on 16 Nov 1874 at St Peter's Church, Mornington. They had two children, Dezeppo Marie (1875-1962) and Chaos (1876-1877). Chaos lived only six months and Emma died three months after she was born.

Dezeppo's main claim to fame is her oldest daughter, born May Emmeline Zinga but better known as May Wirth (1894-1978), who was an internationally renowned circus equestrienne in the first decades of the 20th Century. She featured on an Australian stamp in 1997. A Google search will find several biographies.

Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.