. Obituary. Mr. F. W. Bilston. The death occurred at Sandford last week of Mr. Frederick William Bilston, one of the best known pioneers of this district. He was a son of the late Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Annie Bilston, who arrived in Mel- bourne from Tasmania in 1836, just one year after Batman had founded his "village" as he described the com- mencement of the capital city of Victoria. It was there that the late George Yarra Bilston was born 1837. He was regarded as being the first white boy to be born in Melbourne. Three years after their arrival in Melbourne, the late Mr. and Mrs. 'Thomas Bilston came to this district and their son, Frederick William, now deceased, was born at Heywood on 5th November, 1849, so that he was in his 86th year. His parents at that time were keeping the Heywood hotel. There were no State Schools in deceased's time, and he was educated at private schools at Heywood and later at Merino. After leaving school, the first work he took up was training horses with the late Mr. A. E. Quinn and Adam Lindsay Gordon. That was at Digby in 1863, and they had a big string of horses in training, includ- ing the famous steeplechasers, Bal- iral and Modesty. After putting in nine months at this work, deceased
took up the boot-making trade. Nearly all the boots in those days were made to measure and hand sewn. This confined work did not appeal to Fred Bilston, as he reck- oned he could do better in the carry- ing business, in which he made a start. One of his first trips was carting wool from "Roseneath" to Portland, with a dray and bullocks, 66 years ago. Since then he has carted from nearly every station in the Western District and 'from the South-East of South Australia. He became an expert blade shearer, and every year he would saddle his horse and load a pack horse, making away to the early shearing sheds in New South Wales. When a young man he was a champion high jumper, and though he never trained or practised, he could always win at any sports meeting he attended. He was also lover of thoroughbred horses, in fact, he was at home with any ani- mal. In 1873 he selected land at Strathdownie, and after disposing of his, property, he removed to Chet- wynd in 1899. When the Wando Vale estate was subdivided for closer settlement in 1900, deceased was one of the successful applicants. It ill be remembered that Wando V'ale was one of the first closer set- tlement ventures in Victoria, and
proved one of the most successful. He remained on Wando Vale for 30 years, and from there he removed to Sandford, where he resided till his death. He was a kind hearted man, always ready to go short himself so that he could help a friend in need. His whole life having been spent in this part of the State, and being on the roads for lengthy periods, he na- turally knew much of the stirring early days of the district. He was 15 months old on Black Thursday, 3rd February, 1851. His parents then lived at Heywood, and the whole of the country side was swept by fire. In the fifties he saw the ar- rest of that notorious bushranger, Frank Gardiner, at his father's hotel. Gardiner had 100 head of horses which he had stolen and was taking them to a sale at Portland. Mr. Bilston, senr., had to ride to Geelong on horseback to give evi- dence at the trial. Gardiner was sentenced to a long term of impris- onment, but soon managed to scale the walls and get free. Horses at that time were worth anything up to £100 per head. Later, Gardiner was in a hold-up in New South Wales, when he got away with £14,000, mostly in gold. Deceased will be much missed by a wide circle of friends, who regarded him as a re- liable gentleman to the fullest extent. He is survived by a widow, six daugh- trs and three sons. He had four brothers and four sisters, but they have all passed away with the ex- ception of one sister, who is in New Zealand. One sister was born at Moree in 1840, and was the first white child born on the Glenelg. The remains were laid to rest in the Cas- terton new cemetery, when the bur- ial service was conducted by the Vicar of Christ Church, Rev. R. A. Donne, Th.L.-"News."