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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH [Br " ZAAK "] MrsaMurray was horn inEdinburgh, Scotland, on the 22nd March 1823, and was in her 70th year at the time of her death. Whilst yet a young girl she came out to Tasmania with her parents, Mr and Mrs T. Young, residing there for some years, her father, Mr Young, practising his pro fession of a solicitor in Hobartown. In 1841 she marrie3 the late Mr H. Murray, the pioneer to, and founder of Colac, as he was aptly termed. In the same year Mr and Mrs Murray came to the colony and took up their residence in Geelong fora short time, when Mrs Murray accompanied by her son, Mr T. C. Murray, came up o Colac to re-join her husband. -t says much for her ardor cnd devotion to her husband when it is stated that she was the first white lady resident in the neighborhood. rhe nearest ladies to her then were lrs A. Dennis of Tarndwarncoort, and Mrs Tuckfeld and Mrs Hurst of Bunti.gdale Mission Station. There :as also Mr G. T. Lloyd's housekeeper at the Warrions. Readers of the " History of Colac " sill remember that the late Mr H. Murray, who died in July 1869, was he leader of the first party of settlers 'ho arrived in 1837, and occupied he country around Lake Colac. Mr Hurray's station comprised nearly all ,e country on the southern shore of he lake including the township lands. lis first homestead was situated be iween where the State School and he Royal Hotel now stand, and later )n he built a cottage on the bank if the lake and nearly opposite he present residence of Mrs Coney in Jhapel Street. Here heandhis family 'esided for several years, until 3arongarook House was erected about 1851. At the time of Mrs Murray's ar -ival the place was merely a sheep salk, there being only the slightest ,racings of man or habitation. With h.e exception of Mr Murray's cottage and a few huts here and there the site if the future town was barren and lesolate- looking in the extreme, earing no sign scarcely of "roofed r latched" door. Mrs Murray was iften wont to relate some of the stir 'ing and exciting events that occurred ;o fill up her life's measure in the early days, and a writer in the Argus lludes to some of these in the follow ug terms :-" What a wonderful 'ecord is that of Mrs Murray's. She ias seen the founding of a nation, the irth of a race. The blackfellow, at irst hostile, harried the flocks with bheir dogs, until Hugh . Murray, resolute and masterful, with two )ther white men, went amongst some hundreds of the natives who had vamped near the sheep-fold, and putting their backs to a tree, showed bhem the power of a white man's weapons, and the strength of a white man's heart, by firing into the yelping urs who had destroyed the ewes of pure blood and high price, brought with such trouble to Colac's shores. More than a hundred to one the blacks at first offered fight. No notice was taken of them, but dog after dog bit the dust, and the natives suddenly appreciated the situation and vanished. But the young lady, sitting alone in the cottage a short distance off, must in deed have had an anxious time while listening to the firing." The same writer goes on to say that sufficient justice has never yet been done to pioneer womanhood in Australia. The men have had their share of praise, but the pluck and endurance of their wives has not been appreci ated. " Mrs Murray was a pioneer, and if in years to come Australia can produce mothers like her, we need not fear the future of our children." Contrasting the past with the present, Mr J. Bonwick, who visited Colac a few years after Barongarook House was built, gives his impres sions as follows :-" The noblest building near Colac is the extensive mansion of Hungh Murray, Esquire. The contrast between the splendid residence of the successful colonist and the small cottage beside the lake, in which as a struggling squatter he resided for years, is as striking as that between the olden days of
loverty and nardship ana the golden times of the present. As I sat at Mr Murray's hospitable board and heard him and his good lady relate the dangers from wild blacks, want of supplies, want of markets, want of society, and often want of hope, I could not but regard him, like others of our pioneers, as a true bush hero, and as well earning the prosperity which is gilding his evening hours and blessing his interesting family. We who live in these latter days at ease and comfort, not to say, luxurious living, can hardly realise the amount of heroism required in a lady of such gentle and refined culture as Mrs Murray possessed. When not much past her majority she bravely ventured forth with her husband, taking up her abode far from kindred friends or congenial society, such comforts and blessings being surrendered for a life of hardship and difficulty, and sur rounuded as she was with wild and treacherous blacks, and rough and wicked white men, not to mention the absence of social intercourse with any of her own sex-surely the isolation, nay the desolation of such a life must have been for the first few years painful in the extreme. But Mrs Murray passed through it all with unwonted courage and fortitude, and as population flowed in, and a large township sprang into existence on the site of her husband's sheep rn. ,this n'oneer lady must have beern
exceedingly gratified when she thought that all her past trials and diliculties-now. overcome and con qnered-had but paved the way for t.ot great advances made in the community, in all of which she had taken such a large share of interest. As a resident of 51 years standing Mrs Murray has been a credit and an honor to the womanhood. of the colony, and the Colac district in particular. She possessed many estimable qualities, both as wife and mother, as well as in her capacity as one of the recognised leaders of the social life of the community in which she has lived so long. Her gentle and un assuming ways and manners endeared her to everybody she came in contact with, more especially to those who possessed a heart, which, like her's, was beating with kindly sympathy for the moral and material welfare of all around her. As a Presbyterian, Mrs Murray, in conjunction with her late husband, took an energetic part in the erection of the first church of that denomination, besides interesting herself in all charitable and be nevolent objects. Her. kind and generous treatment of the blacks will not soon be forgotten amongst her other good deeds, and though those poor and wretched outcasts may be regarded by some thoughtless people as heartless and ungrateful, yet we know that they always spoke in the warmest praise of the "good lady up Barongarook" who so often befriended them in their hour of need. Mrs Murray had a family of four teen children, of whom there are living Messrs T. 0., A. S., Morris, Ernest, Chester, and Kenneth Mur ray, and Mrs Stokes (nee Miss Ethel Murray). All the sons are engaged either in pastoral or professional pur sauits, and the greatest sympathy is felt by everyone for the sad bereavement the family have sus tained.