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Journal by itellya

A newsletter article in the PORT PHILLIP PIONEERS GROUP'S website discusses Thomas Millar/Miller mentioning his property "Ringwood" and his involvement in the Port Phillip Farmer's' Society. Major Newsom, after whom Newsom St that leads to Fairbairn Park is named, received the grants for "Myross" (after which another street was named) and also 60 acres north of Maribyrnong Rd. The latter came into the possession of Thomas Miller and since it fronted the river, the author assumed that this property was "Ringwood". However the article mentioned that Ringwood consisted of 105 acres at one time, and I believe that Holmes (after whom Holmes Rd was named)might have bought at least some of the 60 acres.

Buckley St, west of the St John's Church corner, was originally known as Braybrook Road. This was because the nearest crossing place over the Saltwater River in early days was at Solomons Ford (at the west end of Canning St, Avondale Heights.) Braybrook township, straddling the river, was declared but never took off because Raleigh's Punt at Maribyrnong (1850) and Brees' bridge at Keilor (1854)diverted the traffic to other routes. Braybrook North Township became a backwater with Thomas Derham of the historic Braybrook Hotel( on the new road to Ballarat, thanks to Lynch's bridge) trying to force small landowners such as Clancy off their holdings by destroying their rock walls and denying them access to water.

Thomas Miller established his farm on Braybrook Road at a time when Solomon's Ford was the only reliable route for such as Austin of Barwon (who introduced rabbits), George Russell and Niel Black of the Western District and John Aitken of "Mount Aitken" west of Sunbury. Aitken had a grant where the Saltwater River curved north into a horseshoe bend, almost reaching Braybrook Road. Like Neil Black at Gladstone Park ("Stewarton" named after a syndicate member), Aitken probably used the land as a holding paddock where his stock could regain condition before being taken to market.

West of Waverley St was section 7 of the parish of Doutta Galla. James Robertson of "Upper Keilor received the grants for allotments 4 and 3, extending west to Victoria (Vida) St.Lot 4 did not have a river frontage but adjoined George Newsom's lot 5 of 60 acres, which Miller purchased as mentioned earlier.Robertson's land was called "Spring Hill" and was leased from 1849 by Dugald McPhail.Dugald had Rev. Hetherington conduct early services there that led to the establishment of St John's, Essendon and was probably still living there in 1853 when he bought Rose Hill from H.G,Ashurst. After the death of his mother in the late 1860's, James Robertson Jnr moved onto this property which was then called "Aberfeldie" (the name of his mansion.)
John Murphy and John Aitken were granted lots 2 and 1, with Rita St indicating the boundary between them.
John Aitken had also acquired the grant for section 8, Doutta Galla.This meant that his land extended from Rita St to Cannes Ave. When John McPhail and James Bell started their lease in 1855, it was referred to as MILLER'S FARM.Thomas Miller died in 1863 and his funeral commenced from Dugald McPhail's
place (probably Rose Hill,between Rosehill Rd and Buckley St.)Jane McCracken, wife of Alexander Earle McCracken wrote of the funeral. She was on Butzbach, William Hoffman's property between Hoffmans Rd and Hedderwick St house-blocks. The Thomas Miller in the article died in the district of Flemington on 20-7-1863 so there can be little doubt that he was the former neighbour of the McPhails and McCrackens.
The only name I have seen for the Buckley St farm was on the title document which memorialises the lease of "Miller's Farm" by Bell and McPhail. The lease was obviously coming to an end when the following advertisement appeared on page 8 of The Argus of 18-10-1855. FARM TO LET. Mr Miller's Accommodation Paddock, now in the occupation of Messrs Bell and McPhail. Listan Shiells, Saltwater River.
It would appear that the answer to my question is NO!


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by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-11-21 11:07:41

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 2011-11-23 16:10:48

FIRSTLY,the correct spelling of the surname is as given in the Port Phillip Pioneers Group newsletter article, MILLAR. I should have known better than to rely on the version presented by his neighbours when I was aware that Antonio Albress of Rye was called Albas by his neighbours; silly me!

Secondly, I checked to see if Thomas MILLAR of "Ringwood" Essendon, was related to the Millars of Lochton (partly enclosed by the bend in Wildwood Rd near Bulla), The Elms (formerly John McKerchar's "Greenvale" and the Junction Estate at Tullamarine. Millar St at Tullamarine is named for the maiden name of the wife of Ray Lofts, the last owner of "Broombank" and Gordon St on "Dalkeith" was named after their son. The Essendon pioneer was from Midlothian and the latter family was from Argyllshire with James Hunter, Thomas and Robert being the only children of James Millar (b. circa 1820) and Janet Cockburn (b. circa 1842.)The two families could have been related despite the different places of origin in Scotland.(Page 409 of Neil Mansfield's epic "The David Mansfield Story".)
Thirdly, Bob Chalmers of the Essendon Historical Society has provided three pieces of information. The article mentioned Thomas Millar's daughter, Elizabeth, the only known child.Bob states that William McClusky was the son in law of Thomas so he probably married Elizabeth. The "Ringwood" homestead was just east of Waverley St, near the corner of Burns St. This probably accounts for the fact that Waverley St forks into Orford St and Scotia St at about that location, and the naming of Scotia St. Ringwood later became part of the property of Thomas Bent (who had Chifley Drive on the other side of the river built at (his) Government's expense.) Thanks, Bob!
Thomas Millar may have leased adjoining land (or bought it) to bring his prize-winning farm from 60 acres up to 105 acres. Its description as being flat makes it more likely that the name "Ringwood" applied only to the land near the homestead and not "Miller's (sic) Farm" near Buckley St.
If anyone wants more information about the Millars in Tullamarine, Bulla and Greenvale, just ask, by commenting below. A journal on this family may be posted in the future.

by itellya on 2011-11-26 06:05:55

Jane McCracken did not write about Thams Milla's funeral. She described a grand entertainment given on Millar's farm that she had attended before poor health forced her and her husband, Alexander Earle to return to Scotland in 1857. See McCracken in the journal called John Thomas Smith and his electors.

by itellya on 2011-11-26 06:08:42

OOPS. Thams Milla's should read Thomas Millar's.

by KarenSydow on 2021-03-08 12:29:03

Just found this, for what it is worth! Michael Whelan's 3rd child was born at "Ringwood", which has had us all mystified, presuming it meant the Ringwood in eastern Melbourne, when he was farming on the Saltwater River, and all his other children born in Melbourne (before they moved to Gippsland) were born at Moonee Ponds! See line advert in 2nd part, beginning "Strayed ...

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