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THE PIONEERS PASS BY. -0- Mr. Henry Annett-"Father of Wallacedale." The death of Mr. Henry Annett, on Thursday last, at his residence, Wal- lacedale, removes one of the earliest associates of the Western District, and his demise will be learnt with deep regret by his numerous friends. He was a member of that hardy band of pioneers whose name is indissol- ubly linked with the history of old Portland, and to whom the present generation owe so much. The end came suddenly, heart failure, super- vening on an attack of bronchial pneumonia, being the cause. A sketch of the deceased gentleman's career makes interesting reading. Born at Sevenoaks, Kent, on July 5, 1845, he came to Australia in the ship Pryam with his parents, landing in Portland in August, 1852, at the age of 7 years. His father, on arrival in the country of his adoption, joined the police force, and the family's first residence was in a bell tent provided by the Government. Afterwards they removed to premises in Gawler Street, which stood as an historical landmark until a few years ago, when the old home was demolished and an up-to-date villa erected on the site by Mr. R. Hill. As a boy the late Mr Annett enjoyed many exciting experiences with the blacks, over 200 of whom he could remember holding a corroboree a couple of miles from the town-now known as Wattle Hill. In 1856 his father was transferred to Port Fairy, and Henry's first trade was that of butchering. Being of an adventurous spirit, and fond of out- door life, however, he did not remain long at this calling. Bullock driving next claimed his attention, and he engaged in carting to the Ararat dig- gings when the lure of gold was at- tracting thousands in this direction. He also assisted in the carting of the material for the erection of the first school house at Mount Sturgeon (now Dunkeld), the timber being cut in a saw pit between Woolsthorpe and Port Fairy by a man named McKen- zie. In 1862 Mr. Annett sought "fresh fields and pastures new," mi- grating to New Zealand when the gold rush there was at its height. He travelled over a large part of the Middle Island-from Christchurch right across to where the rush had set in. It was a ten days' tramp on foot, over thickly timbered mountains and across rivers often a dozen times in the one day. Food had to be car- ried, as there was none procurable on the way, and often when supplies be- came exhausted, several days passed without nourishment of any kind. Relief was always to be found, how- ever, at the hands of the kindly-dis- posed Maoris, in the shape of pota- toes, which were most welcome, al- though, in Mr. Annett's words, "they were all colors of the rainbow." The potatoes were originally given to the Maoris by Captain Cook, and had been growing for hundreds of years without a change of seed, which ac- counted for the color. Thousands of hope-inspired diggers travelled overland under these trying condi- tions, only to return, broken-spirited and penniless to seek a fresh start in some other direction. In 1866 Mr. Annett sailed for Victoria, and joined his people at Cape Bridgewater. Four years later he married a daugh- ter of the late William Millard, of Narawong, and after remaining in that locality for some time, removed to the Casterton district, where he followed farming pursuits. When the Portland-Hamilton railway was under construction, he established a butchering business at Condah, at the head of the line works, and success- fully carried it on till he took up a selection in the parish of Dunmore. He was a man of many parts, turning his hand to almost anything, and his next venture was that of shire con- tracting. The wander lust again as- serting itself, he departed for New South Wales, where he undertook shearing on a small scale. After many a tramp across the Old Man Plains, with "Bluey" on his back, he returned to the Western District. Shearing was in progress when he ar- rived, but it apparently was not such a lucractive business as it is to-day, for the subject of this sketch recounts the time when he sheared for 10/ a 100! When the Condah Swamp was drained, he was one of the first to take up portion of the reclaimed land at Wallacedale in 1893, and ultimate- ly became a breeder of high class dairy cattle, on which he was con- sidered an expert authority. His services as judge at numerous dis- trict shows were keenly sought after, and on more than one occasion he has acted in that capacity at Port- land. Evincing a keen interest in all public affairs, he was known as the "father of Wallacedale," where his name was a household one. He was one of the founders of the Con- dah P. and A. Society, and the hall, school and Church of England at Wallacedale, being a trustee of the latter for many years. The Condah Swamp butter factory also benefited by his energy and interest. Closely identified with its establishment in 1901, he acted as one of the directors up till two years ago. Deputations to the authorities in the interests of the district were not complete with- out the late Mr. Annett, and only last year, although over 80 years of age, he was one of several who waited on the Minister in regard to the im- provement of the conditions govern- ing the lease of swamp lands. The deceased gentleman leaves a widow and a large family of eight sons and two daughters. The for- mer are George (Hamilton), Eman- uel (Buckley Swamp), Henry (Port- land), Edward, Thomas, David, Vic- tor (late A.I.F.), and James (Condah Swamp. Three sons, John, Wil- liam and Cecil, are deceased. Mrs. McMillan (Paschendale) and Mrs.
Saffin (Condah Swamp) are the sur- viving daughters. In addition, there are no fewer than forty-eight grand- children and four great-grand-child- ren. Eight of the former carried the cofin to the grave, the remains being interred on Thursday in the Condah cemetery in the presence of a large concourse of sorrowing friends.