SOME WESTERN DISTRICT PIONEERS. By J. D. MacInnes, in "The Victorian Historical Mangazine." [Continued from Last Issue.] I mentioned William Wallace, El- derslie, earlier in my paper as the man after whom Lake Wallace was called. His run was adjoining New- lands, which was first taken up by Ballantyne, and then it went into the hands of Jas. Gordon. From him it passed to the Laidlaw family, who still hold the remainder of the run, much of it has been sold. Bena- [blank] ??, another property of theirs, which they sold for soldier settlement, has soldiers settled there now, who are doing very well. This station was originally taken up in 1845 by H. L. McLeod, whose brother, John Norman McLeod, was the frst to settle at Ta- hara, near Coleraine. Thos. Len- ?nox Gibson (one of the Tasmanian family of that name) came over from there before the end of the thirties, and settled where Kilmore now is. His Long Hill Station cannot now be ?rated?. He is described in 1841 as "settler, Mt. Macedon." In 1845 he set out, and started for the new country on the South Australian bor- der and took up Bringalbert. He had it for five years in the fifties, and retired to Melbourne, where he died before the lease of Bringalbert ended, and the station fell into the hands of the Hamiltons, his relatives, who had settled at Ozenkadnook in 1846. All these squatters, and others whose names I have not mentioned, did business with Portland, carting their wool there over rivers and creeks where there were no bridges and wool had to be well washed to bring a shilling a lb., and greasy wool was unsaleable. Their wool was sold to S. G. Henty and Co., who had a little later Major Learmonth as a partner. Learmonth got Tahara from John Norman McLeod, and, lat- er, Ettrick, near Narrawong. Squat- ters had much to contend with in the early days, and the outbreak of scab in the fifties and sixties found them totally unprepared. All sorts of remedies were tried, until tobacco and sulphur proved the right one. Sheep, in the early days of shepherd- ing, fattened to 75 lb. weight, and cattle to 1000 lb. ; but, when the runs were fenced, they did not do as well, and later, the arrival of rabbits ment the end of the luxurious grass of earlier days. It is strange now to read in the Portland "Guardian" of 1868, under the heading of "A Mal- icious Act," the following:- "Mr. J. Trangmar received from Mr. Aus- tin some wild rabbits. They rapidly multiplied, but some evil-disposed person has been digging them out. We believe they are known, and hope they will be punished." (Thus is patriotisim rewarded.) In some fur- ther reminiscences of Mr. J. G. Ham- ilton,which I re-wrote recently, there in this picture of life in the early days - "I have known a man, after getting his run and a few hundred sheep to start with, strip as much bark to form a gunyah to shel- ter his family until he could get en- ough slabs to build his hut. While he was felling trees and splitting them into slabs, his wife and children would mind the sheep. Then he and his wife would carry the slabs home. Most of the squatters lived in slab houses, with bark roofs, and a few had shingles split and put on by them- selves. Nearly all floors were clay or earth." Mr. Hamilton told of how his mother was quite alone with her children one winter, and she saw no one except the blacks or a friendly call by some neighboring squatter to see how she was. And she had to look after the sheep as well as the children. It will be remembered by readers of "Pioneering Days" that her husband was killed in the bush in 1850 through being entangled in a halter and dragged by a horse. The rations in those days (in some parts at least) were green tea, damper, and mutton or beef, no milk, and very brown sugar. I have not said anything of the Hamilton district, but will just touch, on one or two of the earlier settlers. I found that Wedge Bros. (Richard, Charles and Henry) were described in 1841 as being at "River Grange, Port- land Bay." Mr. A. S. Kenyon has supplied me with more exact informa- tion as to the Wedge Bros. They went to the Grange from the Werri- bee in the middle of 1838, and their run was on the present site of Hamilton. David Edgar, Pine Hills, Harrow, in reminisces published in the Hamilton "Spectator," in 1887, re- states that he managed the Grange- burn Station in 1840 for Messrs. Fur- long?, who had purchased from Messrs. Wedge Bros. in that year. The homestead was on the site of Mr. P. Learmonth's flour mill. In 1842 Grangeburn was sold to John Henry Patterson. David Edgar arrived at Point Henry, near Geelong, by the North Britain a few days before Christmas, 1838. In 1849 he ac- quired Mullagh Station, near Har- ??row?, in partnership with Birmingham, and took possession of Pine Hills, in the same district, in January, 1850. He states that hut-keepers' wages were 6/- to 8/- a week, shepherds' ?? and fencers' and well-diggers' about the same price. A son of David Edgar is still in possession of Pine Hills. George Napier Craig and Ballan- tyne Craig were at No. 2 Grange- burn from July, 1847, to September, 1850. It then appears in the name of Craig, Griffen and Co. Towns seem to have sprung up everywhere by a bush hotel starting. I find ?? George Green, publican, the "Grange" in 1841. It was on the creek, and not a vestige of it is to be found now. David Edgar bought it, and put Russell in. Blasstock got it from Russell, and sold to Huntly, then to Brake and in 1845 David Beath [blank]
and Richard Heath bought it. That was the end of the old house on the creek. Amongst those who stayed at the old Grange Inn in its early days was Governor Latrobe, when riding to Portland, accompanied by a servant. Blastock purchased the Mooralla Station on leaving the Grange Inn, and in 1848 went for a trip to England. On his return he built the Victoria Hotel. A solitary coach once a week from Melbourne, via Bacchus Marsh, providing ac- commodation for a single passenger, is described as having arrived on a Sunday, and its supply of letters and papers was a welcome break in the monotony of life. At Branxholme, I note, in July, 1848, the advertise- ment of "Travellers' Rest," Arondoo- vong, Grange road, J. R. Kent, for- merly Thos. Best. Hector McDonald was landlord of the Crawford Inn, Smoky River, in 1848, and went from there to Port- land, where he built Mac's Hotel about 1855. Donald Cameron owned the Port- land Bay Hotel in 1841, and was there for many years. I believe he was identical with the Donald Cam- eron who had Oakbank Station, near Heywood, but the Camerons are leg- ion. The first I can trace at Mor- giana, near Hamilton, was a Donald Cameron. He had a brother, Hugh Cameron, who had Wattle Grange Station, in the south-east of South Australia. Mrs. Macinnes, of ''Blathbhein," Dandenong road, is a daughter of Hugh Cameron. An other brother of Donald Cameron, of Morgiana, was named Angus, and he had a store at the Wannon. Then Alex and John Cameron got Morgi- ana, but they were not related to the Donald Cameron who was there be- fore them. Alex was drowned in the Grange Creek, and John was left at Morgiana. He was the father of the present chairman of the Tramway Board. Lindsay Clarke, the sur- veyor, mentions in his diary being at D. Cameron's station on 28th Octo- ber, 1849. Then there was a Don- ald Cameron, Violet Creek, in part- nership with an Angus Cameron in 1849. Another Angus Cameron had Arongdoovong, and on the death of Donald Cameron, of Violet Creek, Angus married his widow, thus unit- ing two stations and two more of the Cameron clan. This Angus was a half-brother of the one who was drowned in the Grange Creek. An- other Alex. Cameron and John were in partnership at Mt. Sturgeon Plains, but I will not follow the clan any fur- ther, except to say that there are sev- eral "Black Sandies." One had Pen- ola Station, and, as I have seen his portrait, I conclude he was well and truly named. I must finish rapidly. The West- ern District at one time grew a lot of wheat. C. Koch cultivated largely on Dunrobin, Nangeela, &c., at the end of the sixties and very early seventies, and it is estimated that he had nearly 2,000 acres in on one oc- casion. I was told by a resident of that part that Koch had sixteen sin- gle-furrow- ploughs working at the one time. He actually chartered a ship at Portland, and loaded it for England with wheat of his own grow- ing. It is calculated that in 1862 300,000 bushels of wheat were grown annually in the Warrnambool dis- trict. There must be a marked change in the soil and the climate now, for very little is grown, and rust has become an enemy to the wheat- grower. It was left for the men who flocked from the Western Dis- trict and from South Australia to the Wimmera District in the early seven- ties to prove how suitable that dis- trict was for wheat-growing. And yet there was an honest belief by early settlers that it was too dry. I don't know whether it is generally known of the attempt to separate the Western District from the north- ern and eastern parts of Victoria. A public meeting was held at Warrnam- bool in 1861 to receive Messrs. Henty Bros., J. Fethers, P. Scott, J. McLeod, T. Must, and others, as a deputation from Portland with that object in view. 'This was proposed because of the centralization policy followed by the Melbourne authorities and the neglect of the western towns. Warr- nambool and Belfast were not in fa- vor of the proposal, and it eventually fell through. Now, I have just touched on the fringe of a great subject, and I hope some one else will deal with it in a future paper. My paper might al- most be called "Scotch Pioneers," for I do not seem to have found many others : but, in addition to their pion- eering work, they have set us an ex- ample of a high citizenship, which I trust we will ever maintain.