THE WHITE FAMILY, PIONEERS OF RYE/SORRENTO, MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA.
READ COMMENT 3 BEFORE STARTING!
Some surnames can be common in local history areas and often writers of municipal histories have made wrong assumptions. Near Essendon, Keilor and Broadmeadows there were three completely different families of Robertsons on Gowrie Park (Campbellfield), La Rose and Upper Keilor/Aberfeldie/Gladstone Park/Kensington/Ardmillan/Ascot Vale. Charlie Wilson, Mornington Shire's train driving President after whom the C.B.Wilson Reserve and possibly Wilson Rd were named was the child of a union between the Wilsons of Tuerong Park and an unrelated Mornington Wilson family.A Wilson was a signatory to a petition for a school at Moorooduc in the early 1860's and could have been from Tuerong OR Henry William "Wingy" Wilson, the Jamieson's Special Survey bullocky who founded the butchering empire. Not too far to the east was George Wilson of Balnarring parish! Just across Vineyard Lane from Tuerong Park lived Peter White, grandfather of the Female Drover, Shirley Bourne. I am fairly sure that Peter was not related to the Whites of whom I intend to write but you never know!
What I should really say is that the true answer will never be supplied by a local historian. The nitty gritty of sorting out whether neighbours with the same surname are related is only ever undertaken by FAMILY HISTORIANS!!! Deidre Farfor helped me sort out the various Robertsons. Now Pam Colvin has stepped up to the plate to help me tell you about two pioneers who settled (possibly near The Heads, meaning the Sorrento-Portsea area) at the same time as the Sullivan family, but have so far received little acknowledgement.
I will commence by telling you what has been recorded about this particular White family. The Rye Township 150th souvenir , which I recently read, does not seem to mention George White. But there again, it does not mention Antonio Albress either. The Cain, Rowley, Sullivan, Hill etc families receive good coverage as usual and a large excerpt from Patricia Appleford's history of Rye Primary School, the churches etc is included.
The main NEW information is a map showing Sidney Smith Crispo's original Canterbury Jetty. Too bad that new information supplied to the Historical Society did not accompany the plan. Canterbury was Crispo's second name for his proposed village; the first was Manners-Sutton. Sir John Manners-Sutton was the Governor in the 1860's and became Viscount Canterbury during his term of office.
It is LIME LAND LEISURE that supplies the most information about the Whites. I have used the index supplied after the book was published but this seems to have missed one reference which was probably in the DARK genealogical near the end. On Page 157, Charles Hollinshed had written about EDWARD under the WHITE genealogy
but the subject of his attention was Edward WILLIAMS. Edward was not related to the White family but the author's confusion was caused by the fact that Edward sold his old Sorrento Butcher shop to George White.
LIME LAND LEISURE.
Page 54. The produce of the White brothers' kinn (and others) may have gone up Canterbury Road.
Page 56. On the west end of a lime kilns map, No 13 is labelled B.Willard, later G.White and G.Sutton. It is located near the intersection of Mission St and Haven Ave (Melway 157 D12.)
Page 57. Rye area of the map. 2 and 2a are labelled White brothers. The first is on the east side of Canterbury St about a fifth of the way from Melbourne Rd to the beach, probably near the bend in Anelida St. The second was probably near the west side of the R.J.Rowley reserve and the reason that W.A.Blair purchased that area.
Page 60. An oldtimer's map of the township shows land owned at the east corner of Pt Nepean Rd and Dundas St labelled G.White. Details of this purchase from the Rye Township map will be given later.
Page 65. George and Robert White were limeburners.
Page 70. No reference; indexing error.
Page 157-8. (The last paragraph of 157 and page 158, apart from the reference to George White buying Edward Williams' old butcher shop, are entirely about Edward Williams.)
Billis and Kenyon name George and Robert White as pastoral pioneers in 1843-1850 and 1843 respectively. There may have been four White brothers, one of them Richard White. Captain Ferguson referred to George and Robert White in his report on the resumption of land near the heads for a quarantine station (in 1852.) Robert had paid a (lime) licence fee of twelve pounds in that year. (It would therefore seem that they were burning lime close to Portsea at that time. There would have been little activity near Rye at that time except for Owen Cain at Tyrone. However, it is possible that George and Robert were operating near the Mission St site indicated on page 56.)
Richard White, limeburner, married Eliza Taylor. They had two sons who left the district and six daughters including Georgiana, born 1861, who married Mr Meaden, father of Mrs Creswell who supplied this information.
(Richard has been found in early rate records but either died or also left the district soon after. The genealogy, to come, will determine which is correct.)
Richard's children were scared by Maoris so it is possible that Richard was living/working near the Rowley Reserve where a White brothers' kiln is shown as 2a on the page 57 map. As well as fishing the Maoris had a farm near the oval, which is recalled by Maori St.
Edward (i.e.Williams) sold his partly demolished butcher shop on the north corner of Hotham Rd and George St, an area known as Butchers' Hill, to George White.
RYE PRIMARY SCHOOL, Patricia Appleford.
Page 50-51. Arthur Dark, born 11-4-1924, worked for E.G.White of Sorrento who operated a daily service to Melbourne before the start of world war 2. As Arthur referred to himself as a "jockey" I presume the "service" involved carriage of goods. Arthur's workmates, in that job, were Len Hill, Percy Watson, Parley Blackwell, Alby Morgan and Jack White .
Page 139. Map showing White brothers' kilns 2 and 2a as in LIME LAND LEISURE.
ON THE ROAD TO ROSEBUD. Peter Wilson.
I recalled a chapter in Peter's book relating details of a Government plan in 1859 to build a fence from White Cliff to the back beach in order to enclose the police paddock between Rye and the Quarantine Station, and a petition opposing this plan. My notes on this chapter were not extensive but a trip to the library was very worthwhile.
As directories of the Rye/Heads area were non-existent at this time, I will record all of the signatories. As a report, mentioned later, states that there were only two landowners, [Peter Purves and James Ford), it can be assumed that all of the signatories (with the exception of Kenna and one other, whom I did not note,who were Melbourne residents) were limeburners, as stated in the report.
I will also use this opportunity to acknowledge a pioneer of Tootgarook who has been completely ignored. He was Peter Purves. Peter Wilson assumed that he was the son of James Purves, the architect but he was actually the brother of James.
James and Peter, a stone mason, spent time in Tasmania building bridges before settling at Tootgarook, whose name was bestowed by Peter. As Hobson had moved to Gippsland in 1843, giving one station the name of Traralgon from the local aboriginal terms (see my aboriginal vocabulary journal and the Hobson journal) but transferred Tootgarook to the Purves brothers in 1850 shortly after acquiring George Smith's Wooloowoollooboolook, it can be assumed that they had been managing it for Hobson, as speculated in LIME LAND LEISURE. It was Peter who signed the petition; James would have been in Melbourne, working as an architect or agent, or in England buying horses or at (Chinton?) Station east of Mt Macedon, with only the occasional visits to Tootgarook. Trove shows the extent of James Purves' involvement in Melbourne (as documented in my DROMANA, ROSEBUD AND MILES AROUND ON TROVE.)Incidentally Peter Wilson said that Hobson's "Rosebud" was uninsured when it was wrecked but architect Purves had insured it, probably having bought the vessel from Hobson. Peter died in 1860, just after the petition was presented, and the full time management of Tootgarook probably passed to his son, James, who had been reunited with his father for just eight years. (SOURCES: Trove, Memoirs of a Larrikan by Hec Hansen.)
George White Snr was an old neighbour of Peter Purves and James Ford, and signed the petition despite the fact that he really wanted the fence because he did not want to offend them .
THE 1859 PETITION.
At this time, there was no township of Rye, and according to LIME LAND LEISURE, the Rye Hotel was in Dromana! When the Township was declared in 1861, it was called Tootgarook, probably because it had been part of the Tootgarook run. John Campbell apparently had built a jetty in 1860 and this probably prompted lime burners to erect houses near the pier so they would be close to home when they brought the day's production for shipping. One house, occupied by John Berry, and later by the Sullivans when they moved from the Heads in 1852, is said to have been the first house in the township area. In 1869, almost all of the suburban blocks south of the cemeteryand west of Dundas St were bought by limeburners ( more truly lime merchants such as W.A Blair. It has not been definitely established whether Thomas Monahan was connected with the lime industry or just a land speculator.)
James Purves bought his square mile pre-emptive right between about Keith St and Government/Weeroona Rds on 22-10-1855. Ford's land was mainly near Portsea. The Wannbaeue parish map does not indicate when the Fords acquired Wannaeue Station bounded by Eastbourne Rd, Boneo Rd, Browns Rd and Jetty, Old Cape Schank Rd. O'Shannassy reported that Purves and Ford were the only landowners.
Many of the limeburners would have been illiterate. Their names would have been printed (by Peter Purves or James Sandle Ford) and followed by "their mark", usually a cross (X). The names on the petition opposing construction of the fence were: James Ford, Peter Purves, Robert Rainey, James Patterson, George Mitchell, Robert Quinan, George White, Robert White, Richard White, Jeremiah White , James Swan,
Arthur Robinson MATCD (presumably the other Melbourne resident), Alfred Evans, Nathan Page, John Dillon, Edward Russell, Patrick Sullivan, Edward M.Williams, Richard White, George White!, Isaac Prout, Owen Cain, Mrs John Devine, Ben Stennigan (Stenniken), Timothy Sullivan, Thomas Clancy, George Baker, Charles Dean, Mrs Edward Skelton, Samuel Clark, Samuel Williams, Richard Kenna (Melbourne resident!)
Snr Constable O'Shannassy was asked to ascertain why the settlers and limeburners had signed the petition. He found that Clark, Williams, Nathan Page, Mrs Skelton and Jeremiah White had not signed and weren't even asked to sign. George White senior and Robert Quinan, both limeburners, had signed, not wanting to offend their old neighbours,even though they actually wanted the fence. Thomas White and 15 other limeburners wanted the fence to prevent Ford and Purves overgrazing the area with their combined 800 head of cattle. They complained that their own bullocks (obviously used for ploughing and hauling lime)were dying from starvation.
Robert, George and Richard White, Ford, Purves, Cain, Stennigan (sic), and Patrick and Timothy Sullivan feared that their cattle woud be turned out of the area.
Acknowledging more ignored pioneers!
Nathan Page, who committed suicide, probably due to crippling pain, was the grantee of 34a Wannaeue of 38 acres 2 roods and 15 perches fronting the south side of Browns Rd and the east side of Spring Lane west of Truemans Rd. His neighbour on 34b to the south (wrongly called 103 acres when he was leasing it from the Crown, was George White. (More detail re George, Thomas and Robert White's landholdings will follow after the rates information. I will have to check if detail is given about the discovery of Nathan's body and witnesses at an inquiry.) James Patterson may have been connected to the Jamieson's Special Survey/ Patterson Rd, Fingal family. The Swans were grantees in Nepean parish and were involved in a court battle between Blair and Duffy regarding dummy bidders.John Dillon was one of the many limeburners who had jumped ship and, if I remember correctly, was cutting timber for Ben Stenniken at a very age.Edward Russell had been leasing land and obviously burning lime on land acquired by W.A.Blair but on 3-11-1880 received the grant for 38a Wannaeue of 103 acres on the west side of the present (2012) Truemans Rd tip. The Russells were related to the Cairns and Patterson families by marriage several times over. John Devine and Edward Skelton may have died by 1859. Many Portsea and Sorrento pioneer families are detailed in THOSE COURAGEOUS HARDY WOMEN and FAMILY CONNECTIONS:SORRENTO AND PORTSEA. The Stennikens were related to the butchering Wilson family, the Sherlocks of Green Island (near Mornington) and Frankston, and the Clemengers of Parkmore at Rosebud. They were granted land between James Trueman and the beach on the west side of Truemans Rd and land in and west of Rye Township. They supplied the limestone for the original C of E school in Rye, and with the Sullivans controlled the supply of ti tree for the ovens of Melbourne's bakers later on.The Stennikens, who had several ships, moved to Port Melbourne but maintained close connections with the Peninsula as the Clemenger marriage shows. Thomas Clancy received the grant for allotment 3 in what seems to be section 2 of Rye Township. This half acres block had frontages of 20 metres to Nelson and Collingwood Sts, commencing 40 metres west of Lyons St.George Mitchell, who was an early storekeeper and postmaster if my memory is correct, had an adjoining block with 200 link/2 chain (40 metre) frontages to Nelson and Lyons Sts. George Baker was the grantee of crown allotments 1,2,3 and 6 of section 7, Rye Township.Lots 1,2 and 3 extended 900 links (180 metres)east from Lyons St along the Esplanade or beach road and were 100 metres deep.Lot 6 was south of lots 1 and 2 with a Lyons St frontage of 80 metres and a depth of 120 metres.
POSTSCRIPT. While trying to pinpoint the location of 95 acres that George White was leasing from E.Ford in 1874, supposedly in the Nepean subdivision, I discovered a crown allotment granted to Thomas Clancy. It was 58 Nepean, consisting of 23 acres 2 roods and 18 perches and granted to Thomas in 1866. Thomas McRavey, a pioneer connected with the Dromana/Red Hill area received the grant for C.A. 59 on the east side of Hughes Rd and what is now Pt Nepean Rd. It ran east to a bend in the beach road which can still be seen at the McDougall St corner. Clancy's lot 58 ran east from there to a point which can be determined by extending the western boundary of the Stringer Rd Reserve to Pt Nepean Rd. The southern boundary of lots 59, 58 and C.Graham's lot 53 is indicated by extending the northern boundary of Stringer Rd Reserve. It is possible that Thomas Clancy was quarrying and burning lime on this land when he signed the petition in 1859. Another signatory was Robert Quinan. It is possible that he was the grantee of 54a, which is now the Stringer Rd Reserve. The parish map has the grantee of the 12 acres 1 rood and 28 perches as P.Quinlan, but given that Ben Stenniken was called Stennigain and Stenniker, it is possible that a faded R was rendered as P by a copyist and the surname is actually Quinan.
KANGERONG AND FLINDERS RATE RECORDS.
3-9-1864. Nepean subdivision. Richard White was assessed on a 3 roomed house and garden leased from Owen Cain, which had a nett annual value of 10 pounds. This could have been on Tyrone, which Owen was granted on 11-5-1860, land on the west side of the south end of Canterbury Jetty Rd granted to Owen on 21-7-1863, land on the north side of Melbourne Rd now occupied by streets named on a golf theme which adjoined Tyrone and was granted on 27-7-1863. The westernmost beachside suburban block of Rye Township, east of Cain St, was not granted to Owen until 1869.
If Richard was on the second plot of land, his neighbour across Canterbury Jetty Rd would have been a fellow signatory of the petition, James Swan, who received the grant for his 128.25 acre allotment 14 on 11-5-1860. Tyrone is indicated at the Canterbury Rd end by streets with ship names, contains maiden names of daughters in law (Murray, Neville), and Michael St (Owen's son), running east to the Cain St/Whitecliffs Lane midline.
George White was assessed on a 4 roomed house with a nett annual value of 10 pounds. The rate collector did not record the fact until 2-9-1865 but this was leased from the Crown.
In the Wannaeue subdivision, Robert White was assessed on a hut with a NAV of five pounds from the Cairns brothers. There is no doubt where this was. The Cairns brothers grant, known as Little Scotland, was bounded by Boneo Rd, Browns Rd and Old Cape Schanck Rd, extending 718 metres north of Browns Rd. It is likely that Robert was managing the kiln for Robert, David and Alexander Cairns.
2-9-1865. Details unchanged except that George's property is specified as being leased from the Crown and it was probably lots 7 and 8 granted to him less than a month earlier, with the rate collector not yet acquainted with this information. The NAV of the hut Robert is leasing from the Cairns brothers is now only 2 pounds 10 shillings.
1-9-1866. Roberts leased hut is described as having one room. George White is assessed on 2 acres of land (nett annual value 2 pounds.). This may have been Crown allotments 7 and 8 of section 3 Rye Township with a frontage of 100 metres to the east side of Dundas St and a frontage of 80 metres eastward on the Esplanade. But lots 7 and 8 comprised half an acre each. Therefore he had one acre, a fact that did not seem to filter through until the 5-9-1868 assessment. Lots 7 and 8 were granted on 10-8-1865 so the purchaser was probably George junior. The genealogy will provide the date of his father's death but it was in 1865 I think.
Richard White's name seems to have disappeared for good from the rate records.
7-9-1867.Robert is still at Little Scotland with details unchanged.George is assessed on a 2 roomed house and the NAV has risen to 10 pounds illustrating the relative value of a house compared to that of land at this time and for many more decades.
5-9-1868. Robert is still at Little Scotland and this seems to be his last year there. George is assessed on a 3 roomed house and one acre but the NAV is unchanged, which is strange.
4-9-1869. No assessment could be found for Robert. Details for George are unchanged.
3-9-1870.George-ditto. THOMAS WHITE was assessed on half an acre and a 2 roomed house near Dromana. At this stage of my research, I had not seen Pam's genealogy, but I jotted it down just in case he was related. He was!
2-9-1871. Ditto for George and Thomas.
6-9-1873. George was assessed on a house and  roomed house, now having a NAV of 12 pounds. (Thomas?-CHECK.)
Robert reappears, being assessed on one allotment, Rosebud, NAV 2 pounds. This was crown allotment 11 of the Rosebud Fishing Village which he purchased on 30-6-1873. Robert must have informed the rate collector fairly promptly! Allotment 11 is the second block on the foreshore east of the Rosebud jetty access road. It had a 90link (18 metre frontage and has a two story brick house on it, possibly built by Melbourne Lord Mayor, Edward Campbell. Was Robert trying a spot of fishing like most of the early purchasers in 1873? This one rood, seven and a half perches block was directly across the beach road from Crown Allotment 18 Wannaeue!
5-9-1874. Robert White was assessed on the Rosebud Fishing Village block again. George was assessed on his acre and house on the Dundas St corner but its NAV was back to 10 pounds. Had he appealed against the previous assessment? Immediately under this entry, in the NEPEAN SUBDIVISION George was assessed on 95 acres that he was leasing from E. Ford.It had the same NAV as George's acre and modest house!!! After spending two hours trying to determine which Ford grants(near Portsea!) would approximately total 95 acres and finding no such combination, I recalled seeing a Ford grant in Wannaeue Parish. Yep, there it was! Crown Allotment 26, Wannaeue of 95 acres 2 roods and 20 perches at the north east corner of Truemans and Limestone Rds, extending north to the bend at the bottom of Melway 252 F1. Its eastern boundary is that of the Eagle Ridge Golf Course. It was granted to Edward Ford on 17-4-1878 so the rate collector was incorrect in describing E.Ford as the owner. This must have been the land that George White was leasing because it is the only grant that Edward Ford received and as far as I can tell the only grant consisting of 95 acres. N.B. It was quite common for assessments for the likes of the Purves, Stennikens, Shands etc to be written in one subdivision when the land was actually in two of them.
2-10-1875. Robert White was assessed on the Rosebud Fishing Village block and 152 acres Wannaeue . George was assessed on his house on the acre block at the east corner of Dundas St in Rye.
15-9-1876. For the first time,entries have been put into one previously blank column, OCCUPATION! Assessments for Robert (farmer) and George (bootmaker) remain unchanged.
14-9-1877. Robert White is still assessed on the half acre foreshore block and 152 acres but is now described as a labourer. George White is still a bootmaker but may have had his block on the Dundas St corner sequestered;Pam told me that he became insolvent. He is leasing 103 acres, Wannaeue, from the crown, an errant description of 34B of 105 acres 2 roods and 25 perches. (I wonder how soon this was corrected!) This land fronted the west side of Spring Lane from a point 264 metres south of Browns Rd(the boundary with Nathan Page's land) for another 814 metres to a dogleg to the left.The northern boundary was 512 metres and the south boundary only a bit more than 500 metres because the eastern boundary headed slightly east of south to the said bend.
27-7-1878. The brothers are now in the West Riding and George is in the Tootgarook Electoral Division. He is still described as a bootmaker leasing 103 acres from the Crown. Things are happening at Rosebud! Robert White SENIOR has the foreshore block and Robert White JUNIOR has the 152 acres. Both George and Robert SENIOR are described as bootmakers. Robert JUNIOR is a farmer. On 24-7-1879, details were the same except that Robert Jnr preferred yoeman to farmer but reverted to the former term by the assessment of 31-7-1880, with all other details unchanged.
30-7-1881. George, a bootmaker is leasing his 103 acres from the Crown and renting Robert White's fishing Village block. The occupant of the 152 acres is Robert White, presumably still junior.
What do you mean by "it's about time you told us where the 152 acre block is!!!" It won't be long.
21-7-1883. Thomas reappears! He has obviously bought the Rosebud Fishing Village block granted to Robert White.His occupation is given as Cutler. Details are the same re the 103 and 152 acres.
The 152 acre, soon to become 150 acre, property was crown allotment Wannaeue, bounded by Pt Nepean Rd, Jetty Rd, Hove Rd and Adams Ave. This farm, in later times in the chapter of Peter Wilson's ON THE ROAD TO ROSEBUD entitled HENRY POTTON'S FARM. I have a theory that Robert White built the original homestead and that it has been extended, remaining as Wahgunyah at 19 Mitchell St. The 2 acre block about to be sold was actually sold much earlier and may have even had a hotel built on it.
The following comes from a document in the scrapbook of Harvey Marshall, a descendant of Captain Henry Everest Adams. In August, 1878 gave William Edwards, farmer, of Dromana, a loan of 128 pounds and nine shillings to be repaid with interest on 30-6-1880. Edwards mortgaged lot 86 of section 18a (crown allotment 18 of section A). This was obviously the two acres on which Jack Jones built his store, which he was operating in 1900 and 1910,on the corner now occupied by FJ's, as the rest of crown allotment remained intact as 150 acres. At the time of the loan, the two acre block probably had a nett annual value of two pounds, so I have speculated that Edwards had built, or was building upon the block, the mysterious Schnapper Point Hotel ON THE ROAD TO DROMANA that Edwards was operating in 1888.(Victoria and Its Metropolis.)Whether he did or not, it is obvious that lot 86 had been sold before August 1878, not after the assessment of 21-7-1883.
I took my daughter to the medical clinic at 19 Mitchell St and noticed the old building which I had never seen before.This was the start of my campaign to gain heritage protection for Rosebud's historic houses, culminating in a heritage overlay for the Boyd cottage at 62 Rosebud Pde.I commenced an investigation of rate records in an effort to establish when the house was built, the house that De Garis called Wagunyah in his suicide note.
In the early 1870's the grantee, Warren, seems to have sold crown allotment 18 to Blakely (whose name appears on the Edwards-Adams loan document) but the rate collector wasn't really sure.The 6-9-1873 assessment FAINTLY indicates that Blakely leased it to John Twycross. The lease seems to have continued another year as the 5-9-1874 assessment has John Twycross written confidently as the occupier. No doubt the owner column was blank!
From the assessment of 2-10-1875 to that of 16-7-1888, Robert White was assessed on crown allotment 18. The next year Frederick and William Leak probably had the remaining 150 acres.Then Robert White had the property again in the assessments of 19-7-1890 and 18-7-1891. By 1893, Thomas Bamford, a woolclasser owned the property. Further details are available in the HENRY POTTON'S FARM chapter of ON THE ROAD TO ROSEBUD.
As mentioned previously the value of a modest house was far greater than large parcels of land, so any dramatic increase in the nett annual value would indicate construction or enlargement of a homestead. The N.A.V. was 10 pounds in Robert's first assessment in 1875, rose to 15 pounds, to 20 pounds in 1886 and 25 pounds in 1888. As 1888 was the zenith of the land boom and this could be assumed to be the cause of the last increase but the fact that the N.A.V.remained unchanged during the 1890's depression and the slow recovery in the following decade shows that a substantial house caused the increase. In 1905-6, Mrs Bamford must have enlarged or replaced the homestead as the NAV increased to 40 pounds. An architect would probably be needed to determine whether Wahgunyah was an extension of the homestead built by Robert White in 1878 and possibly improved in 1885 and 1887.
The following information has been compiled by Pam Colvin.
I'VE BEEN TRYING TO COPY AND PASTE GENERATIONS 1-3 BUT IT SAYS THERE'S AN INTERNAL ERROR COPYING ONTO THE CLIPBOARD! HELP!!
TWO OLD SORRENTO FAMILIES.
Ernest George White (born 1891 Pt Nepean, died 1942 Toorak) married Bertha Jane Wells (b. 28-6-1891, d. 1980 Rosebud)at St John's C. of E., Sorrento on 30-10-1918. Ernest was 28 and Bertha was 27. She had been living at 2 Lennox St, Richmond. It is almost certain that the groom was E.G.White for whom Arthur Dark acted as "Jockey" in the carrier service to Melbourne. It is by no means indisputable that Bertha was a descendant of Henry Cadby Wells but there are fair indications that she was.
"But Henry Cadby Wells was a pioneer of Frankston!" you might say. You are right of course. But he was one of the earliest pioneers of the Sorrento area. His wife gave birth to the first white child, of permanent settlers, at The Heads. Why was he there? He and "his old shipmate" Robert Rowley spent two years limeburning together until about 1843. When demand dropped off because of the depression, Henry returned to Richmond to resume his trade of bootmaker. He must have done well because he had had bought a boat by 1849 and returned to the Peninsula to crayfish with Robert Rowley. This was a very successful venture and in about 1850, Henry built the first limestone cottage in Sorrento, according to Jennifer Nixon in "Family, Connections, Sorrento and Portsea". Other builders have been suggested but Jennifer, a descendant of the pioneering Skelton family, gives the credit to a Mr Wells. This cottage became the home of "Lugger Jack" Clark, who built the Mornington Hotel next to it. "Clark's Cottage", as it became known, was demolished when the hotel was extended as the Koonya.
H.C.Wells' second venture with Robert Rowley was doomed however. They were probably at sea for days at a time and, eager to visit loved ones, they anchored the vessel in Westernport. When they returned, they discovered that the huge tidal variation had caused the boat to come down on the anchor, damaging it beyond repair. Henry had one more piece of bad luck before settling on Frankston as the place to be. He rented land south of Boundary Road (Canadian Bay Rd) at Mt Eliza from the grantee, J.T.Smith of Ascot House (Fenton St, Ascot Vale) but his vineyards probably met the same fate as most others in the state. (Google "The Wells Story".)
A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA Colin McLear.
Pages 33-5. "In the 1850's young George McLear rode a horse to Davey's (near Davey's Bay or perhaps in Frankston) there to leave it as a fresh horse for the wagon of Charles Graves, when the latter was returning from Melbourne, where he had gone for supplies for for his hawker's business which then served the southern peninsula. George's mother, Mary Ann, was in partnership with Graves in this business and on this occasion George's older brother, William had accompanied Graves." (George ran home rather than wait overnight in the flea-ridden Davey place.)Charles Graves became a tenant of Jamieson's Special Survey (Safety Beach area east to Bulldog Creek Rd) in 1851 or shortly afterward.
Page 80. In 1865, George McLear paid Graves 12 shillings and sixpence for a pair of trousers for his employee, John Singleton.
Page 91. Charles Graves owned Maryfield before selling it to Mary Ann McLear in February 1860. he established a store at Shoreham.
page 98. Mary Ann went into partnership with a Charles Graves in a drapery business. Charles travelled the district with his wares in a horse and wagon. The McLear boys accompanied him at times. Of the Cairns, newly arrived at Boneo from Scotland in 1854 (Robert 1852), George remembered from a visit with Graves in his travels, a whole flock of snowy haired children. One lad was labouring to crack a whip and announced to the visitors in his best accent, " Ae cunnae crruck a wee whup yet." (The Cairns brothers were at Little Scotland and so was Robert White by 1864!)
Page 99. Allotment 13, section 2, parish of Kangerong was granted to Thomas Monahan, (who with Blair bought most of the suburban blocks in Rye Township)on 19-11-1856. On May 10, 1859 the 166 acres 2 roods 17 perches was transferred to Charles Graves for 168 pounds 5 shillings, a profit of only one pound seven shillings and tenpence for Monahan. Charles had the property fenced by Thomas and Charles Rhymer (who are recalled by a Safety Beach street name) and sold it to his business partner, Mary Ann McLear, for 200 pounds on 31-1-1860. The property which the widow, Mary Ann, proudly named Maryfield commences 400 metres east of Collins Rd and extends the same distance east to a point just past Sheepwash Creek.
Page 132.Charles Graves was one of the 23 residents who supported the application to make Robert Dublin Quinan's private school a common school. Quinan's daughter, Emily Caroline, married James, the son of the ignored Tootgarook pioneer, Peter Purves, on 15-6-1862. (TROVE, MEMOIRS OF A LARRIKIN.) This Robert Quinan had land in Dromana Township and supplemented his income by balancing the .Kangerong Road Board's finances. Once he had a discrepancy of 5 pounds, and unable to obtain a loan from Richard Watkin, owner of the Dromana Hotel, in order to remedy the situation, he committed suicide.(A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA page 131.)
It is not known whether he was the signatory to the 1859 petition.
ALONG THE BACK TRACK C 1860
Charles Graves ( back from Melbourne with goods
To hawk to those further west near she-oak woods)
With Bill, the son of his partner, widow McLear,
Left Bill at �The Willow�. His helper now, Godfrey, in his tenth year.
The son of Henry �Wingy� Wilson who had a bung hand,
A bullocky living near the east end of �Survey� land.
To the north, over Yankee Griffith�s maize, Charles saw
Big Clarke�s wedding present to his son-in law.
To the left, young Godfrey saw Cottier�s hut coming nigh,
Now housing a hotel which �Cutter� called the Rye.
�Look,� said Charles, �Pidota and Rowley do it tough:�
�The bay at the moment is looking quite rough!�
When they reached The Rocks, Graves headed back
To climb Arthurs Seat on the Cape Schanck track.
�We�ll never get through that surf alive,
And I�ll not wait asleep like Meyrick in 1845.�
As they climbed with Gracefield on their left
Charles exclaimed, �There is a vine up in the cleft!�
�Do you mean the Swamp Village�s Fred the Greek?�
Young Wilson asked with tongue in cheek.
So they climbed through Burrell�s 12 500 acres,
Dragging logs on downhill slopes as brakers,
Past the back road to Purves� Tootgarook;
Soon Cairns on their right, and Wooloowoolooboolook.
At the next crossroad, right turn and then left;
Charles� handling of his drapery-laden wagon was deft.
Godfrey saw smoke, sobbed,�Cometh my time!�
�Don�t panic lad; they�re burning the lime.�
We started in Kangerong;
Through Wannaeue travelled along,
Some features and people of history seein�,
And now we�ll stop as we reach Nepean.
As they turned back towards Kangerong,
A well-known man came riding strong,
(With five year old Maria) running late.
Godfrey married Maria in 1878.
NOTES FOR "ALONG THE BACK TRACK".
Verse 2. Big Clarke gave his son in law, a member of the Bruce family, the northern 1000 acres of the Survey, hence Bruce Rd.
Verse 3. Cottier, who pronounced his name as Cutter, had a "Rye Hotel" licence for his house in Dromana in 1859. He soon after transferred the name and licence to a hotel that he and another former Dromana resident, John Campbell, built on two adjacent blocks granted to Campbell between Lyons and Napier Streets.The name of the hotel became the name of the town. The present Rye Hotel was built in 1927 by Mrs Hunt who demolished the Gracefield Hotel. (Sources;LIME, LAND LEISURE, RYE TOWNSHIP MAP. Hollinshed gave the licencee's name as James Cottier.)
Verse 4. Oldtimers called Anthony's Nose "the rocks". Drays would wait for low tide and skirt the nose on the sand, which Maurice Meyrick is documented as having done on the way to the Boniyong Run, having a snooze while he waited. Cape Schanck Rd is now largely named Bayview Rd. It was called the back road, back track and in the early 1900's the Hobson's Flat Road. Robert Cairns, who lived on this road, was known as Back Road Bob.
Verse 5. William Grace had orchards and a vineyard on Gracefield. The Gracefield Hotel was built on his grant in Rye by his son in law. Rosebud's Fred Vine was well known to the fishermen in Dromana too. (Photos in Colin's book.)
Verse 6. The Burrells purchased Arthurs Seat Station in 1851. The homestead was built by Andrew McCrae with much help from Henry Tuck. Many readers would be staggered by the idea of a bullocky daring to risk having this dray bogged as he skirted Anthony's Nose on the beach. But that sand was packed hard by the weight of the water at high tide. All the roads shown as government roads on parish maps were far worse. The sand was loose and only those who have tried to wheel a pram of the beach would know what that is like. Jetty, Eastbourne and Truemans Rds were like that for the first half of the 20th century. However, they were not so bad for travellers on horseback. Hiscock Rd originally went from the Jetty, Cape Schanck/Grasslands Rd intersectionto Truemans Rd and was probably followed (alongside the Drum Drum Alloc Creek) by James Purves, the Architect, as he made his way to Tootgarook on his retreats from the high life in Melbourne.
In describing the discovery of Owen Cain's 4 year old daughter, young McCrae described George Smith's homestead as being six miles toward Cape Schanck from the McCrae Homestead. This would place it near Patterson Rd in Fingal. However I believe the location of Wooloowoolooboolook is indicated by the Purves grants along Boneo Rd, north of Little Scotland. Thus LEFT has been changed in the poem to AND.
Verse 7. The turn to the right and turn to the left are still done at Truemans Rd as you head west on Browns Rd, now with the safety of roundabouts.
Verse 8. Kangerong, Wannaeue and Nepean are parishes.
Verse 9. The well-known man was Ben Stenniken who leased land on Jamieson's Special Survey near young Godfrey's home, as well as owning beachside land on the west corner of Truemans Rd and near Rye. His daughter probably stayed at the property when she was working as a servant at the Bruce house during "the season!"
Charles Graves' properties (Rate Records.)
GRAVES GRAVES AT FLINDERS CEMETERY.
MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE OF ROBERT WHITE OF ROSEBUD.
In the Colony of Victoria
on the 26th July 1877 at Mornington
Residence - Rosebud
Age - 27
Profession - Farmer
Birth Place - Perth Shire Scotland
Father - Robert White - Shoemaker
Mother - Elizabeth Russell
Residence - Wannaeue
Age - 25
Birth Place - Antrim Ireland
Father - Hill Hillis
Mother - Sarah McKeowan
Robert's father's occupation was recorded as farmer and his father's as shoemaker exactly as in the ratebook for 1877 (above.) Therefore this Robert (the groom) definitely owned crown allotment 18, Wannaeue, of 152 acres, (actually 150 because Charles Blakly had sold lot 86 of two acres.) It seems that the groom had been born in Scotland in about 1850, so he was not a son of the lime-burning White brothers of the 1840's.
According to Colin McLear on page 86 of A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA, Mary, the sister of James McKeown had married Hill Hillas in Ireland in 1846 and they had come to Red Hill in 1855 to take up farming. As Colin McLear's informants were probably using memory rather than documents, it seems that Hill's wife was Sarah rather than Mary. Margaret certainly lived in (the parish of)Wannaeue. (See below.)
On page 88, Colin states that the name Hill Hillis appeared in George McLear's account book in 1864; his name appeared often as a supplier of posts, rails and piles for piers. Hillis owned 213 acres on Main Ridge Rd (he meant Main Creek Rd.)
Whether Hill was William or William was his son, the land was granted to William Hillis in 1885 and 1888. This land was south of the east-west section of Whites Rd. Crown allotment 23A of 59 acres 3 roods and 34 perches was accessed by Wilson Rd at its south west corner and went halfway to Whites Rd, while the adjoining 23B, of 153 acres and 36 perches, fronted Whites Rd and Main Creek Rd; the Arthurs Seat/ Main Ridge border shows the south boundary of both allotments.
Earlier on, William Hillis had been Red Hill's first butcher. He operated from near the south corner of White Hill and McIlroys Rds so it is not surprising that William John McIlroy married Elizabeth Hillis and his younger brother, Joseph, married Sarah Hillis. Joseph McIlroy's diary of Wednesday, 20-9-1877 mentions his marriage in Dromana at 12:30 and a celebration at his father's place afterwards, at which the guests were Mr and Mrs McIlroy and family, Mr and Mrs J.Simpson and family, Mr and Mrs Cleine, Mr and Mrs White Jnr. ,Mr and Mrs Ault, Miss Hopcraft, Miss Kemp and Mr and Mrs Hillis. (The Red Hill pages 14,17.)Joseph Simpson of "Bayview", 89A Balnarring east of Baynes St, had married a McIlroy girl (see PIONEERS PATHWAY journal)as had Charles Cleine, Miss Hopcraft lived near Hillis's "Summer Hill" as did Henry Ault. It is possible that Miss Hopcraft and Miss Kemp were stepping our with someone from the Hillis or McIlroy families. As can be seen above Robert White Jnr. and Margaret Hillis had tied the knot less than two months earlier.
Extract from my DICTIONARY HISTORY OF RED HILL journal.
GOODBYE OLD FRIENDS. (Mornington Standard 19-9-1895 page 2.) A large crowd attended the funeral of Mr Hillis, an old resident of Red Hill. Mr C.Roberts of Main Creek, another old resident, also died recently.
William Hillis (referred to by Colin McLear as "Hill" which was possibly his nickname) whose surname was often written as Hillas, had "Summer Hill" at Main Creek north of Wilsons Rd and land adjacent to Henry Dunn's "Four Winds" on the top of White Hill near the McIlroys Rd corner. (The Butcher, The Baker, The.)
As the last available rate book is that of 1919-20, I do not know whether Robert White Jnr had land on Whites Rd. However Hec Hanson says in MEMOIRS OF A LARRIKIN that George White was just up the hill from his uncle, Jim Wilson's "Fernlea" (probably 23A, accessed via Wilsons Rd), so George certainly did.
These are the White properties in 1919-20. Jim Wilson seems to have had 163 acres of the Hillis grants. Crown allotment 28A was directly over Main Creek Rd from Hillis's grant 23B, with Whites Rd leading to its north western corner. It consisted of 158 acres 2 roods and 7 perches and had been divided into three portions of 53 acres.Crown allotment 22B fronted the west side of Main Creek Rd from the Arthurs Seat/Main Ridge boundary to the southern boundary of the entry to No. 284 (Melway 171 K8.)
Now, do these names occur in the family tree?
Ernest V.White had a third of 28A and and 30 acres of 22B. Robert, Robert G. and Albert C.White were jointly assessed on two thirds of 28A and 160 acres and buildings 27A1. This 160 acre block was on the east side of Main Creek Rd, south of 28A and across the road from 22B.
Robert White of 18 Wannaeue (between Adams Ave and Jetty Rd at Rosebud)moved to the area near Whites Rd. He was not related directly to the limeburning Whites of the 1840's, represented in 1900 by William White on 36 acres of George White's grant of over 105 acres (Melway 168 K12.)
Edward Williams of "Eastbourne" had spent some time at Canterbury (probably on S.S.Crispo's grant on the west side of Canterbury Jetty Rd ) before buying his grants straddling Browns Rd just east of Truemans Rd. He used this land to supply his butcher shop in Sorrento so he would have known the lime burning Whites well. It was not until just before 1900 that Edward moved to Eastbourne, by which time Robert White Jnr was near Red Hill so Edward would have not become acquainted with him in Rosebud. Therefore I believe that the Robert White, who with Edward Williams moved the old lighthouse to the Arthur's Seat summit, was Bob White of Main Ridge.
on 2012-07-07 10:26:46
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.