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Preamble – family group emigration from England to Port Phillip, 1849-50

Family Migration in the 1850s -
the Hedley - Peck - Minter party

by Helen Connell

July 2015

Helen Connell is an Australian descendant of Robert James Peck (1789-1848) and Sarah Minter (ca 1799 - 1874)
as well as of Michael Minter (1807-1864) and Eleanor Edmonds Jeffery (1821-1875).
Their story is documented in the the following beautifully illustrated pages.


Click on the following links to read the sections of the story:

Preamble - family group emigration from England to Port Phillip, 1849-50

Why leave England?

Arrival of the ship Brothers in Port Phillip 1850

A medical family in the early European settlement of Gippsland - The Hedleys at Tarraville and Sale

Squatters - The Kings at Snake Ridge, Rosedale

Stock and station agent - James and Ada Peck at Sale

Another doctor arrives in Gippsland - Ffloyd Minter Peck, Anna Maria and Menie in Sale

Mount Moriac - The Minters choose a different direction

Looking Back Now


Click here to load the Appendices. There are 5 of them, listed below, and all five will all open together in a new window or tab:

1. Australia, And The Comparative Merits of Some Of Her Provinces - Extract of article from The Morning Post, 27 August, 1842

2. Stories told by John King

3. Letter from Anna Maria Peck nee Robertson to her mother describing the journey from Tarraville to Sale, dated 4th November 1858 - extracts

4. Life of Michael Minter (1807-1864) of Folkestone

5. The Hedley/ Peck/ Minter Emigrants - genealogy, two generations


For their support and help with this research - sharing both ideas and material - I should like to thank Peck-Minter relatives Meryl Stanton, Tim Kendall, Stephanie Anderson and Patricia Selkirk. Paul Saban of the Rookery Medical Centre, Newmarket, Suffolk has contributed much to my understanding of the life and times of Robert James Peck, Ffloyd Minter Peck and Michael Minter in Newmarket in the first half of the nineteenth century. My thanks also to John Minter for inviting me to place this paper on his website, for his detailed editing and formatting expertise and sharing research on several individuals. My husband, Malcolm Skilbeck, has provided valuable comments on periodic drafts, and moral support at all times. Any errors and omissions in this text are my own responsibility.

Copyright Helen Connell 2015

Preamble – family group emigration from England to Port Phillip, 1849-50

During research in 2010 into my family history I was surprised to discover three adult Peck siblings plus an uncle, had come, along with their families, in a migrant party of twenty from southern England to the colonial District of Port Phillip arriving in March 1850, to be joined eight years later by another sibling and his family1. A Minter cousin joined them in the early 1860s, and two sisters of a Peck spouse joined the emigrants. Beginning before gold was discovered in the Australian colonies, twenty four closely related members of the Hedley/ Peck/ Minter families left apparently well established professional households in southeast England for the uncertainties, adventures and opportunities of the new settlement of Port Phillip.

The first permanent European settlement of the District of Port Phillip [the future colony, then state, of Victoria] was from Hobart in 1836 when the future city of Melbourne was founded on the banks of the Yarra River at the head of the large and relatively shallow Port Phillip Bay. For its first fifteen years, the District formed part of the colony of New South Wales (NSW), administered from Sydney. The easily accessible northern and western parts of the District were rapidly opened up for settlement both overland from NSW, and by sea via Melbourne and other coastal ports – notably Geelong and Portland to the west. The rapid growth of the Port Phillip District led to its becoming proclaimed the separate colony of Victoria in July 1851, with Melbourne as its capital city. The discovery of gold in Victoria in November 1851 led to a flood of further immigration and enormous wealth – an early phase of Australia’s series of resources booms. Population in Victoria grew from close to 100,000 in 1851 to over 500,000 by 1861.

But, when Melbourne was first settled in the mid 1830s, the large eastern part of the then District of Port Phillip was unknown and inaccessible to the European settlers. There was no evident port access; east of Melbourne and across northeastern Victoria were steep mountain ranges; southeast of Melbourne was the Koo-wee-rup swamp which made overland travel south of the mountains extremely difficult. Gippsland – as the area later became known - was well protected by natural barriers.

It was not until 1840 that drought affected pastoralists in the Monaro area of the southern highlands of New South Wales began to seek new pasture lands to their south. Angus McMillan was the first European to reach the Gippsland plains via this mountain route from the north along the Tambo River valley. The Polish-born explorer Count Strzelecki followed soon after, eventually reaching Melbourne after a difficult traverse. Very quickly other pastoralists followed McMillan. These squatters staked claims in the extensive grassy plains of inland Gippsland. While squatting led to quick take-up of large areas of Crown land, squatters were obliged to use all the land they claimed, or yield their government leases to others. At an annual rental of some ten pounds per lease, the land was cheap, but to use it required considerable capital in the purchase of sheep and cattle, and the hiring of workers to manage the flocks. Squatting runs came first, with clusters of people living around the different homesteads – towns came later to Gippsland. Sheep proved unsuited to the climate and it was cattle which thrived, with a ready market for beef in the penal settlement of Van Dieman’s land to the south. In 1847 squatting leases were extended for 14 years, after which squatters had first right to purchase part of their runs at the time that Gippsland was gradually opened up to more intensive agricultural uses and settlement.

Central and Eastern Victoria – extracted and drawn from Map of Victoria including the pastoral runs & c. with alterations to 1869…70 [cartographic material] by William Owen 1869. (Source: Map.RM 3596/1 National Library of Australia)

The shallow port of Port Albert was discovered in 1841 – both from land and from sea. For twenty years Port Albert thrived as the shipping gateway to Gippsland – supplanted initially by Lakes Entrance for shipping and then by the arrival of rail and road overland from Melbourne in the 1870s.

Migration is at the basis of all settlement in Australia – first Aboriginal, tens of thousands of years ago – then European, beginning some 230 years ago – more recently people from a wide range of origins have arrived seeking to settle in Australia. Why do they come? What has been the importance of family-based migration? What has been the experience of individuals and groups after arrival? In what ways do they maintain contact within the group which migrated?

These questions, applied to the Hedley - Peck - Minter party, are central to this text and will be explored in different ways throughout. I return to review these questions in the concluding section.

1 I am a direct descendant of four of the migrants who arrived at Port Phillip on the ship Brothers in March 1850: Michael Minter and his wife Eleanor Edmonds Minter née Jeffery; and their daughter Ada who married her cousin, James Peck, in 1864.

Why leave England?

The ship "Brothers", from London to Adelaide & Port Phillip, 1850 / drawn by the first mate of the vessel, Mr Campbell. (Source: National Library of Australia)

The 1849/50 Emigrant group on the ship Brothers

The 380 ton barque Brothers, under Captain Ellery, sailed from London on 14th October 1849, arriving in Port Phillip on 10 March, 1850. On board was Dr George Dixon Hedley, then aged 33, leading a party of twenty people.1George Hedley, a surgeon from Bedford, England2 was accompanied by his then 28 year old wife, Ann Elizabeth Hawes Hedley (née Peck), the eldest daughter of Dr Robert James Peck of Newmarket, Suffolk. With the Hedleys were their then four children: Agatha, George, Edward and Emily.

Also in the group were two of Ann Hedley’s unmarried siblings - her sister Mary Anne, then aged 26, and brother James, then aged 17. Further members of the migrant party were 43 year old Dr Michael Minter, a surgeon of Folkestone in Kent, and uncle of the Peck siblings on their mother’s side. Michael Minter brought with him his then 29 year old wife, Eleanor Edmonds Minter (née Jeffery), and their then four children: Michael, Ella, Ada and Rosa. Another member of the group was Mary Briarly Robertson, then 35 years old, whose sister Anna Maria was the wife of another Peck sibling, and later emigrant, Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck.

These fifteen people were all related to the family of Dr Robert James Peck and his wife Sarah Peck née Minter of Newmarket, Suffolk. The remaining five members of the Brothers’ party are not known. The claim in The Gippsland Times that “Dr” Reeve of The Ridge, Rosedale was in the party is not supported by the list of passengers on the ship Brothers, as printed in The Adelaide Observer Feb 13, 18503. It is interesting, however, that the Hedley/ Peck / Minter party is seen as connected with John Reeve on their voyage out, given their subsequent links with Reeve’s property, The Ridge, Rosedale4.

Copy of testimonial written by passengers to Captain Ellery of the Brothers on arrival in Adelaide, Feb 1850. (Source: Tim Kendall)

If not John Reeve, who, then, were among the five additional passengers in the first emigrant party? It seems most likely that they were servants, and that we will not be able to discover their names for certain. In that era in England it was commonplace for middle class professional families to have servants, and census data indicates both the Peck and the Minter households in England had servants during the 1850s5. Also, on 6th April 1851 Dr Hedley’s brother-in-law, Dr George Witt, who had emigrated to Sydney in 1848, wrote to his friend Thomas Barnard of Bedford: “…we have kept our old Servant at present, her husband is now Captn. of a Ship & is gone to China, but we hear from Dr. Hedley that he has met with the common lot of all who bring out Servants, his man & his wife have left him – We have never seen him [Dr H.] yet, but we hear that he has grown quite stout & strong.’6

It is possible that the Hedley’s servants were Mr and Mrs Plowman, given that a Mr and Mrs Plowman travelled at the same time as the Hedley party on both the ship Brothers from England to Port Phillip, and, several months later, on the schooner Cecilia from Melbourne to Port Albert.

Health, adventure, opportunity…

Dr Michael Minter was said to have migrated “because of bad health”7. With regard to the other emigrants, we have nothing in writing from any of those emigrating as to why they decided to leave England, why they left then, and why to Port Phillip. But could health considerations have been a factor for others as well?

Tuberculosis (also known as phthisis or consumption), which was a major cause of death in England during the 19th century, appears to have affected both the Minter and the Peck families. Michael Minter’s first wife, Sarah Baldock, had died of TB in 1841 at the age of 36. Of the twelve Peck siblings, TB was to be cited as the cause of death for three of them, with a fourth possible, although it cannot be established from available records8. Three of the four were among those who migrated to Gippsland. While today climate is generally disregarded by experts as ameliorating the condition of TB, in the mid 19th century a long sea voyage and a warm climate were widely regarded as helpful for improving the condition – thus many sufferers came to Australia. While 1849 was slightly ahead of the popularization of the sanatorium movement for treating TB, the medical practitioners in the Hedley/ Peck/ Minter families are likely to have had an early awareness and understanding of new treatments for the condition. Tuberculosis has a gradual onset, intermittent progress and a generally sad conclusion. It was and is a distressing disease.

While health considerations may well have been a major reason for emigration; other factors are also likely to have contributed. A key influence in the decision to emigrate to Port Phillip appears to have been Dr George Witt (1804-1869), the brother-in-law and medical colleague in Bedford of Dr George Dixon Hedley9. A glowing portrait of the potential of Gippsland was given in the article “Australia, And The Comparative Merits of Some Of Her Provinces” in London’s The Morning Post of 27 August 1842. Dr Witt pasted a cutting of this article into his scrap book in the 1840s10:

Sydney, March 30, 1842.“….. We now arrive at the last, and by far the most important district, which has yet been discovered in New Holland - I mean Gipps’ Land. The only unfortunate thing about it is its name. This noble territory extends from Cape Howe to Corner Inlet, and runs back nearly 100 miles to the Australian Alps. The soil is for the most part a chocolate loam, of an alluvial character, entirely free from even the smallest stones, gently undulating, lightly timbered, fertile to excess, yet sound enough for sheep. It is watered by many large and deep rivers, with numerous smaller streams, which, having their sources in the lofty Alps, and being fed by the never failing moisture of dissolving snows, are not, as is too often the case in other parts of Australia, mere beds of shingle, showing the occasional rush of devastating torrents. In the possession of this very important feature, a central spine, or back-bone, of stupendous elevation, Gipps’ Land, it will be observed, differs most essentially and remarkably from every other known portion of New Holland, where, in general, nature seems to have stopped prematurely short in the laborious process of up-heaval, and where the want of ranges of sufficient elevation to precipitate moisture, has cursed the country with eternal barrenness.”

Given George Witt’s longstanding interest in the Australian colonies, it is most improbable he would not have discussed the possibility of emigration with the Hedleys, and over some considerable time. Why Witt and his wife decided to emigrate to Sydney in 1848 is not known, but their move could have precipitated the Hedleys’ decision to emigrate to Gippsland the following year.

Australian colonies were certainly being spruiked as offering “opportunities” – a new and attractive life-style. Land agents, colonial administrators, governments were all in the business of promoting emigration. While the Peck siblings emigrated before the discovery of gold in the Australian colonies, authorities were certainly talking up the opportunities available for new settlers, especially at a time when the convict system was on the way out.

1848 was a turbulent year in continental Europe, with widespread, though short-lived, revolutions. In England the Chartists gave their petition peacefully to Parliament. It was also a time when the potato blight – having arrived in Europe in 1845 – was devastating potato yields particularly in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. But none of these, on the face of it, appear to be strong push factors for the Hedley/ Peck/ Minter group whose adults comprised three established doctors, their wives, two unmarried women and a 17 year old boy fresh from school in France.

View of High Street, Newmarket, c 1905; RJ Peck’s home, now known as Mentmore House, is between the Crown Inn and the Waggon and Horses Inn on the right hand side of the road next to the lamppost. (Source: The Suffolk Real Ale Guide index No. 13882.jpeg)

An enabling factor for the emigration may well have been the unexpected death in 1848 of Ann Hedley’s father, Dr Robert James Peck who for some 35 years ran a general medical practice from his home in Newmarket, Suffolk11, the centre of horse racing in England. Robert Peck was 59 when he died of pneumonia after a mere five day illness, leaving his wife Sarah Peck née Minter (1799-1874) and ten of their twelve children (two died in infancy).

Within a few years of the death of Dr Robert James Peck several significant changes occurred to the Newmarket household. Sarah Peck née Minter, Robert James Peck’s widow, put the family home and contents up for auction on 9th April 185012. She left Newmarket to return to her home town of Folkestone some time during the 1850s, probably immediately following the sale of the house. While Sarah would appear to have been left comfortably off on the basis of her husband’s will (written some fifteen years before his death), a large mortgage on the family home at the time of sale suggests circumstances may have tightened.

Mentmore House, early 1900s, (on left), 30-32 High Street, Newmarket – believed to be the family home and surgery of Robert James Peck in Newmarket from the 1820s until his death in 1848. (Source: Peter Norman of the Newmarket Local History Society)

In 1848 the eldest son, Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck, a surgeon and general practitioner, returned from work in Folkestone to take over his father’s medical practice in Newmarket. Ffloyd was then newly married to Anna Maria Robertson, and their five eldest children were born in Newmarket. Ffloyd and his family joined the emigrant group in Victoria in 1858, and it seems this may have been a long term plan. Ffloyd apparently chose not to purchase his father’s house in Newmarket – an option provided for in RJ Peck’s will. Ffloyd continued the medical practice from rented premises further up the Newmarket High Street13until 1857 when he established a transitional partnership with William Day before leaving for Victoria in 1858 (see further below).

In 1851 Ffloyd’s sister Harriott was a teacher in Stowmarket, Suffolk and boarding with her aunt Harriott Peck, schoolmistress there. In 1853 the younger Harriott Peck married a farmer of nearby Great Blakenham, and was the only sibling of the family to remain in Suffolk14. All the other siblings either emigrated to Victoria or moved, ultimately, to Folkestone.

Five of the Peck siblings moved to Folkestone. In April 1850, Emily Peck married John Hammond of Cressners Manor, Suffolk, and they settled in Folkestone. Over the following decade Robert William Peck, Frederic John Peck, Sarah Maria Peck and Martha Clay Peck all moved to Folkestone15.

In 1861 Sarah Peck née Minter was living with her widowed sister, Ann Holman in Upper Sandgate Road, Folkestone; in 1871 with her then widowed daughter, Emily Hammond née Peck in Pembury Villas, Folkestone. Within a few years of the death of Robert James Peck, the English locus of the Peck family shifted from Newmarket in Suffolk to Folkestone in Kent.

When, in 1858, the eldest son, Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck, emigrated from Newmarket with his family to join his Gippsland siblings and his wife’s sister, he would have known that his siblings that remained in England were all well started in their adult lives, that his mother was well settled, and that there was continuity for his father’s Newmarket general practice.

The Minters were a long-established family of Folkestone. John Minter (1764-1840) – father of Sarah and Michael – followed considerable family tradition in becoming a mariner and later gentleman, jurat and mayor of Folkestone – possibly also one of the surgeons among the extended Minter family16. John Minter moved his family to Vlissingen (Flushing), Holland for some eleven years in the first decade of the nineteenth century during the Napoleonic wars. His youngest son, Michael, was born there. John was probably involved with his eldest son, John, and three sons-in-law in the trading company Minter & Co., which amongst other ventures owned the ship Vre Brodiers notoriously apprehended in 1823 by the HM Customs vessel Badger. A subsequent Crown prosecution for smuggling was lost on the grounds that the ship was judged to be Dutch and more than half the crew Dutch17. Sea voyages, then, were part of the Minter heritage – if generally only of short duration.

1 According to his obituary some thirty years later in the The Gippsland Times Monday March 17, 1879, Dr Hedley: “… After a course of travel on the Continent, … left England at the head of a party of 20 persons, comprising his wife and family, Dr Minter and family, Mr James Peck (now of Sale), Dr Reeves (subsequently proprietor of the Ridge station) and others. …” Independent evidence confirms a party of at least fifteen. See also Appendix 5.

2 George Hedley was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, holding also the M.D. diploma of St. Andrew's, Edinburgh. For some years he acted as physician to the infirmary at Bedford.

3 In the absence of a record of the ship’s register, we need to rely on this list of arrivals, which, however, contains several minor inaccuracies concerning the names which are known. For example the newspaper listed: James Peek for James Peck; and Martin Minter for Michael Minter.

4 As discussed further below, John Reeve first came to Gippsland in 1841. Although there are no supporting shipping records, it is possible that Reeve may have returned to England in 1848/9 and in the course of the visit encouraged the Hedleys to emigrate to the then fledgling Gippsland settlement and visit him at Snake Ridge. No evidence has been found to indicate John Reeve was ever “Dr” Reeve.

5 Census data indicates that Sarah Peck née Minter, following her move to Folkestone in the 1850s employed several servants. The household of Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck in Newmarket employed servants in the 1850s, as evidenced by an article in The Cambridge Independent Press newspaper on 20 Dec 1851, reporting an alleged robbery at Dr Peck’s house. The 1851 census listed three domestic servants in Ffloyd’s household: Naomi Pledger aged 27, Ann Cullen aged 22, and James Seargent aged 21.

6 Dr George Witt’s letter to Thomas Barnard of Bedford, dated April 6th 1851, was quoted in a web exchange by Geoffrey Woollard, Cambridgeshire, England, 12 July 2000.

7 Nell Gregson (1954) Notes on sketches by Mr W.H. Gregson and Mrs Gregson (née Flora Minter). State Library of Victoria. La Trobe Picture Collection. Provenance File.

8 Sarah Maria Peck died of phthisis (TB) in Folkestone in 1853 aged 25; Mary Anne King née Peck in 1863 aged 39; James Peck in 1884 aged 51. It appears possible that TB contributed to the death of Ann Elizabeth Hawes Hedley née Peck in 1854 at the early age of 31.

9 Dr George Witt married George Hedley’s sister, Elizabeth Hedley, in Bedford in 1832. George Witt was a house surgeon at Bedford County Infirmary and Mayor of Bedford in 1834. He remained in Bedford until he emigrated to Sydney in 1848, practicing there as a physician for a number of years before changing to the more lucrative profession of banker and returning to England a wealthy man. He presented the “Witt collection” of antiquities and objects associated with ancient cults, notable of fertility and phallic worship, to the British Museum in 1865. Witt’s scrapbooks are kept in the Central Library of the museum.

10 In 2001 Geoffrey Woollard from Cambridgeshire, distant cousin of Dr Witt, noted in a web conversation that he had recently acquired a photo-copied scrapbook kept by Dr. Witt up to the time he left for Australia, in 1848. The extract from The Morning Post was transcribed from this photocopied scrapbook. Appendix 1 gives the full text.

11 This practice is part of a continuous chain of linked medical practitioners that spans three centuries, continuing as The Rookery Medical Centre today. Ref Dr Paul Saban: “Three centuries of medical practice in Newmarket” .

12 “To sell by auction, without reservation, the whole of the valuable and excellent household furniture, 250 volumes of books, pictures, china, glass and other property, throughout the spacious dwelling house in Newmarket… freehold family residence, situate in the High Street, Newmarket, in the county of Suffolk, and for many years in the occupation of the said Robert James Peck… possession may be had immediately after the sale…” Advertisement in The Bury and Norwich Post, and Suffolk Herald, Wed March 27, 1850 p.1.

13 Ffloyd and Anna Maria lived at 3 Park Terrace, High Street Newmarket, a house later known as Cardigan Lodge.

14 In October 1853 Harriott Jane Peck married John Edward Peecock, a farmer of Great Blakenham, Suffolk; Harriott died at Stow, Cambridgeshire in 1898.

15 In April 1850 Emily Peck married John Hammond of Cressners Manor, Suffolk (also described as John Hammond of Ashley Hall, Cambridgeshire). They married in Folkestone, Kent and appear to have lived there. Robert William Peck, a solicitor, married Susanna Clark Holman in July 1851 at Elham, Kent. After a few years living in Fairfield, Manchester, Robert and Susanna, by 1861, had moved to Folkestone where they remained. Sarah Maria Peck (b. 1827) died of TB in Folkestone in June 1853. Frederic John Peck (b. 1825) and Martha Clay Peck (b. 1831) appear never to have married; they were living in Folkestone by 1861.

16 It is believed that Dr Robert James Peck undertook his medical apprenticeship in Elham, Kent (the administrative region includes Folkestone), and family tradition holds it was with Sarah’s father, John Minter. If not with him, there are at least two other medical Minters to whom he might have been apprenticed. Certainly Robert James Peck undertook the early years of his practice in Elham, Kent (The Bury and Norwich Post or Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, Isle of Ely and Norfolk Telegraph 6th Jan 1819 edition)

17 Lord Teignmouth and Charles G Harper (1973) The smugglers: picturesque chapters in the history of contraband. EP Publishing Ltd, East Ardsley, Wakefield, Yorks. First published 1923 by Cecil Palmer. London. pp.133-138.

Arrival of the ship Brothers in Port Phillip 1850

Together with the other members of the emigrant party, Dr Michael Minter and family reached Port Phillip on board the ship Brothers in March 1850. It appears likely that they spent several months in or near Melbourne. Just fourteen years after Batman first established the settlement on the banks of the Yarra River just upstream from its mouth at the north of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne in 1850 was a small trading port and centre of a pastoral industry with a population of some 20,000. But it was poised to become the capital of the new colony of Victoria in 1851, the year that gold was discovered. Within a decade Melbourne grew more than fivefold to 125,000. The gold discoveries unleashed a massive gold rush, bringing extraordinary wealth to Victoria and some four decades of prosperity. “Marvellous Melbourne” of the 1880s was a city of grand buildings, second in size only to London in the then British Empire. The collapse and depression of the 1890s would bring widespread hardship to Victoria. But this was all in the future for the Hedley/ Peck/ Minter immigrants newly arrived in Melbourne in 1850.

The party divided into two following their initial stay in Melbourne – whether always intended, or whether in response to what they found on arrival is not known. The Minter family moved during 1850 to Mount Moriac, 13 miles southwest of Geelong, an established port town, then of some 8,000 inhabitants on the southwestern shore of Port Phillip Bay. Geelong was the main port for the rich pastoral lands of Victoria’s Western District (“Australia Felix”), as well as a growing wine industry on its doorstep. Geelong was to grow rapidly with the discovery of gold in nearby Ballarat – by 1854 Geelong was home to some 20,000. In 1850 Crown land was being sold in lots for agricultural settlement in the vicinity of Geelong. The availability of these substantial blocks of land attracted Michael Minter’s interest.

Michael purchased some 640 acres of Crown land comprising the north slope of Mount Moriac - rich volcanic soil in an elevated north facing position. This purchase was a clear indication of intent to diversify from medicine into farming in an established wine region. If, as has been suggested, Michael were not in good health, perhaps he felt it good for his family to be close to existing settlement rather than moving to less established territories. Also, he may have judged the population in Gippsland at the time too sparse to support two new doctors.

The rest of the emigrant party moved from Melbourne to the newly opened area of Gippsland in the east of the colony. Gippsland in 1850 had no major settlements – it was a country of pastoralists - squatters on substantial tracts of land leased from the Crown. Port Albert, a small port dating from 1841, was to prove the main point of entry to Gippsland for some twenty years – but population at its peak in 1863 was only ever 211. Tarraville, just inland, was the largest settlement in Gippsland in 1851 with a population of just 219. The gold rush in time was to bring many to Gippsland’s north as new goldfields were discovered there during the 1850s and 60s.

The first town plots of Sale were sold in 1850, with the new settlement gazetted in 1851. Centrally positioned to Gippsland’s pastoral lands and to the several gold fields as well as just north of the difficult marshy traverse over the Thomson River on the main route to and from Port Albert, Sale grew steadily in size and prosperity during the 1850s and 60s, becoming Gippsland’s premier centre in the nineteenth century. In 1863 it had a population of 1800, and gained borough status.

But in the early 1850s, settlements in Gippsland were small and sparse, with transport slow on poor roads. Movement was mostly by bullock dray or horse. The Pecks, from the centre of horseracing in England – Newmarket - one could assume all had adequate riding skills.

The Hedley family along with Miss [Mary Anne] Peck are listed in The Argus Shipping Intelligence1 as departing on the 45 ton schooner, Cecilia, on 31 October 1850 for Port Albert, the point of entry to the then newly settled Gippsland region. Just when James Peck and Mary Robertson joined them in Gippsland is unknown. Perhaps James spent some time helping the Minters to settle into their new property at Mt Moriac. Mary certainly worked for a period as governess in the household of W.C. Haines, MP, a prominent colonial politician from the Geelong region. Perhaps Mary moved to Tarraville in 1853/4 to help the Hedley household when Ann became ill and subsequently died.

According to an obituary of George Hedley written in 1879, the Hedley group went first to north Gippsland where they stayed for a while at the Snake Ridge pastoral run with John Reeve’s manager, John King. Then in 1851 the Hedley family (and presumably Mary Anne Peck) moved to Tarraville near Port Albert where Dr Hedley commenced a medical practice2.

We have no evidence that the Hedleys, Pecks or Minters knew either John Reeve, the lessee of Snake Ridge, or his manager, John King, prior to their emigration. It seems most likely that contact was made during those first months in Melbourne. Travel within Gippsland was very difficult at that time, so would George Hedley have taken a large party of people to Snake Ridge had there not been some prior contact with those on the property? If John Reeve was the unnamed “Correspondent”, author of the 1842 newspaper article quoted above, Dr Hedley may well have contacted him. Medical practitioners would have been highly valued in the fledgling Gippsland settlement – as they still are today in country Victoria.

1The Argus. Friday 1 November 1850

2 Obituary “The Late Dr. Hedley” The Gippsland Times. Monday March 17. 1879

A medical family in the early European settlement in Gippsland - The Hedleys at Tarraville and Sale

In 1851 Dr George Hedley (1817-1879) commenced a medical practice at Tarraville, the previous doctor there having decided to try his hand at the then newly opened Bendigo gold fields1. George Hedley, born in Camberwell, Surrey, was well qualified as a medical practitioner, holding two 1838 London qualifications - a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (LSA) and a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) – and a Doctorate in Medicine (MD) from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, 1846. He had worked as a surgeon in Bedford, England from 1838 until his departure for Port Phillip in 1849, in 1847 being elected one of the Physicians to the Bedford General Infirmary. George and Ann Hedley married in Bedford in 1842, and their eldest children were born there.

In 1851 the Hedleys’ address was “Green-hills, Gippsland”2 at Tarraville, a few kilometres inland from Port Albert, the then point of access to Gippsland. Today a ghost town, Tarraville was a lively settlement from the late 1840s to the 1860s. With a reliable water supply, Tarraville became the transshipment point for cattle, sheep and later gold from the Omeo goldfields3 brought by inland convoys to go down the Tarra River to Port Albert. Diarist the Revd Login, arriving in 1853, recorded that: “There were no towns in Gippsland then, the nearest approach to such being the shipping ports of Port Albert, the Old Port, and “The Tarra”, mere clusters of houses round an hotel or two and a store. Riding on horseback or driving in bullock drays was the only way of progress through the dense forests and boggy tracks between the far-apart stations, or tramping it on foot.”4 After 1864 ships began regularly using Lakes Entrance for access to Gippsland, bypassing Port Albert for most of the year.5

Tarraville Historic Township – information board at Tarraville, (Photo: Helen Connell 2011)

Tarraville was the result of a Special Survey in 1841. The short-lived program of Port Phillip District Special Surveys, announced in August 1840 by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners of the British Government and rescinded August 1841, enabled the purchase of land anywhere6 in the Port Phillip District of 5,120 acres (8 square miles) for 1 pound per acre, well below the value of land at the time. John Reeve’s special survey on the Tarra River was one of eight special surveys advertised in June 1841.7 Essentially these were private land developments, ably assisted by a government unable to keep up the supply of allotments for the rising population.

George and Ann Hedley brought their four eldest children, all born in Bedford, England, with them to Australia: Agatha Mary; George Robert; Edward; and Emily Ann. Two further children were born in Tarraville: James King; and William Arthur. The youngest child, William Arthur, died on 8 March 1854, aged 7 months, and in that same year on June 26 Ann Elizabeth Hawes Hedley née Peck (1822-1854) died at Tarraville. Her death certificate indicates that she had suffered dysentery for four months, and an abcess of the lung for fourteen days. Perhaps baby William Arthur had had dysentery and she picked it up from him. She was just 32 years old; it seems reasonable to wonder whether her health had been compromised by tuberculosis, as suggested earlier – although dysentery was not uncommon, it was rarely fatal for adults.

Dr George Hedley (Source: Sale Historical Society)

On 8th January 1856, Mary Briarly Robertson, sister-in-law of Ann’s brother Ffloyd, and one of the emigrant party, became the second Mrs Hedley8. The Argus announced the marriage at Prahran of George Dixon Hedley, M.D., J.P. of Tarraville, Gipps Land to Mary Briarly, eldest daughter of the artist, the late Charles John Robertson of Worton House, Isleworth, England. Mary and George Hedley’s son Charles was born at Tarraville in 1857.

Mary Hedley established a modest private boarding school during her years at Tarraville. Among her pupils were the three eldest Minter girls who had come out on the Brothers; also Helen Campbell of Glencoe run just south of Sale.9 Mary may well have been encouraged to come to Australia to help with educating the Minter and Hedley children on the journey. Mary was both a talented musician and artist.

From Home” attributed to N.B. Hedley, ca 1850. Watercolour. A view of the Tarra River at Tarraville. [Close inspection of the name suggests the painter as M.B. Hedley - Mary Briarly Hedley née Robertson. Unless the attribution on the mount was added later, the painting must date from after Jan 1856 when the Hedleys married,] (Source: State Library of Victoria)

During George Hedley’s years in Tarraville, his activities extended well beyond his medical practice, involving both public life and engaging in exploration and entrepreneurial activities10. It appears that the sparseness of population in Gippsland during the early years of European settlement did not provide a robust living for a doctor. With the announcement of the discovery of gold at Bathurst in NSW in 1851 he decided to try his hand at prospecting. Before his preparations were completed, however, richer goldfields had been discovered in Victoria (November 1851). George Hedley led a party of some six or seven young men from the Gippsland area (including Arthur King, see below) to prospect for gold at Mount Alexander (near Castlemaine), and then Ballarat. He met with some moderate success, but eventually returned to practicing medicine in Tarraville.

With a strong interest in rural life, George Hedley encouraged agricultural settlement in the rich farm lands of south Gippsland, organising and establishing Farmers’ Clubs in several localities and fostering an Agricultural Association to promote farming interests.

In 1854 the Hedleys had bought land in Loughnan Street, Tarraville. They also purchased five acres nearby where George grew the vegetables and grapes for which he won a number of prizes. In 1859 George exhibited watermelons, plums, apples, peaches and nectarines at the Horticultural Show, and won a prize for dark grapes. With Mr Rickard he introduced Cotswold and Leicester sheep in 1859. In 1860 he won prizes at the South Gipps Land Farmers’ Club for oaten hay, grapes, preserving melons, poultry, and ducks. In 1861 he won prizes for turnips, onions, poultry, and sheep at the Gipps Land Farmers’ Club. In 1863 he was making wine from his vineyard.11

Christ Church, Tarraville. This timber Anglican Gothic revival church, consecrated 1856, now a category A building on the National Trust of Victoria register, is Gippsland’s oldest church. (Photo: Helen Connell 2011)

He took a leading part in establishing the first English Church and the first common schools in Gippsland on sites at Tarraville.

1855 saw George Hedley’s first involvement in local newspapers. For two or three years he edited the weekly Gippsland Guardian, then newly established in Port Albert. Many years later in 1872, after his move to Sale, George purchased the Gippsland Times, transferring ownership some 12 months later to his son, James King Hedley.

George Hedley’s entry to public office was his appointment as assistant Police Magistrate in 1859. He was apparently well regarded, gaining community respect and confidence with the readiness and justness of his decisions.

He took his seat in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in January 1861 as the member for South Gippsland. “Here, his powers as a practiced and effective debater were quickly recognized; and his readiness of utterance, his terse, clear and vigorous style, his uniform self-possession and good temper, which apparently nothing could ruffle, made him a tower of strength in a house that included some of the very best speakers that … the colony has known.”12 This was an era when land policy was at the centre of political controversy - enabling closer settlement for new immigrants and bona fide agriculturists versus the established pastoral interests of the squatters. George Hedley stayed only a short time in parliament, resigning in October 1862.

On his return to south Gippsland George resumed both his medical practice and his interests in exploration, boring for coal at nearby Welshpool, after finding indications of coal while searching with a colleague for building stone in the ranges north of Corner Inlet. His boring experiments were not commercially successful, however. Some time later he led a prospecting expedition to Omeo, convinced (correctly as subsequent experience showed) there were minerals in the mountains of north Gippsland. It was while George Hedley was part of this prospecting expedition to Omeo that he was recalled to Sale in January1864 by the sudden and unexpected death of his brother-in-law Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck (see below).

1864 marked the end of his explorations, and the resumption of his medical career. The Hedleys moved from Tarraville to Sale where from February 1864 George continued Ffloyd Minter Peck’s medical practice until his own death fifteen years later. Dr Hedley initially established consulting rooms in Raymond Street Sale13 and lived nearby. In 1869 the Hedleys moved closer to family to live in Cunninghame Street, opposite Islay Cottage, the residence of Ffloyd Minter Peck’s widow, Menie, and family14.

During his years in Sale George Hedley became active in the establishment of the Gippsland Base Hospital. In 1864 he convened a public meeting from which the Sale and District Benevolent Society was formed as a first step in establishing a public hospital in Sale. Along with Dr Archibald Macdonald he was elected Honorary Medical Officer15. The hospital opened in 1866 in a wooden cottage in York Street with only six beds, until a permanent building (with “two turrets and a dome”) for the Gippsland hospital with sixteen beds was opened in August 1867.

As Health Officer, George Hedley was responsible for publishing the first Health Report for Sale in 1866. In this he identified as the major health challenge for the town an unusually high death rate for a rural area. Solutions for diphtheria, typhoid and other infectious diseases were sought; drains, stagnant water and suspect areas became the focus of attention.16

The Gippsland Base Hospital, ca 1865. [The hospital was opened in 1867] (Source: The Biggest Family Album of Australia, Museum Victoria. Photo copied from Fiona Tomlinson, 1988)

Continuing his public involvement, George Hedley supported the Railway League [the Melbourne to Sale railway line opened in 1879, extended later further east] and opening up the entrance to the Gippsland Lakes. In 1876 his public image was of a different order, however. He appeared before Judge Nolan in a long running insolvency case. He owed 526 pounds, although he had a greater amount (of bad debts) owing to him. Newspaper reports indicate that he kept missing appearances in court because he felt that tending his patients was more important. Failing to provide the required financial documents he was found in contempt of court. In June 1877 he resumed his consultation practice after a severe illness.

George Hedley appears to have had a restless interest in and engagement with many aspects of the new Gippsland settlement: agriculture, newspapers, prospecting, public affairs, public service. One can infer strong family ties through his move to Sale to take on Ffloyd Peck’s practice following Ffloyd’s unexpected death – and support for the bereaved young family by moving to live nearby in Cunninghame St. One gains the image of a well educated and sociable man with broad interests and an effective public presence. His gifts were less in making money, and more in his practice as a medical professional: “… those who knew him most intimately, … readily … conceded that he appeared at his best in the sick room. His thorough knowledge of his profession, his suave, courteous, and gentlemanly manners, his well known contempt for anything bordering upon quackery, won for him the esteem and regard of his patients, among whom were all classes of society.”17

An “Old Gippslander”, reminiscing in 1931, wrote: “Dr Hedley had, I think, the largest practice, and many came long distances to obtain a final opinion from him. Having on one occasion met with a gun accident, I rode some twenty five miles to obtain his service. The Doctor’s pet cockatoo was, while he lived, almost as well known as the Doctor himself. Strangers calling after dark would be startled by an invisible speaker informing all and sundry that someone wanted the Doctor, or by telling them he was “Dr Hedley’s bird, and who are you?” He spent a good deal of his time away from home, and ended up by joining a flock of wild cockatoos in a raid upon a farmer’s cornfield. When the owner appeared with his gun, cocky fearing nothing, remained, and so was shot.”18

George Hedley died 17 March 1879 at his home in Cunninghame Street, Sale. After her husband's death, Mary Hedley née Robertson devoted herself to teaching, notably music and art. She ran a small private school in Cunninghame St - presumably from her house. She was also very active in local church affairs, particularly Sunday school teaching and bible reading classes. At some point during the 1880s she let the house and moved to share Urania Cottage in nearby Dundas Street, Sale with her sister-in-law Ada Peck née Minter. Mary Hedley died there in 1890. None of the Hedley children remained in Sale.

In Tarraville in 1865, the Hedleys’ elder and only surviving daughter, Agatha Mary (1844-1922), married Alexander Smith (1838-1918) of Lindenow near Bairnsdale in north Gippsland. Alexander, born in Norwood, Surrey in 1838, was a younger son of John Davison Smith who in the 1840s purchased the licence for the Lindenow pastoral run on the flats of the Mitchell River. In 1852 John Davison Smith had 105 horses, 700 cattle and 6,620 sheep on the 46,000 acres of Crown land comprising the then Lindenow run19. Smith’s sons John Digby and Alexander were closely identified with Lindenow in their adult lives. Over this period, as seen elsewhere in Gippsland, the end of the large pastoral leases and the sale of Crown land introduced closer settlement, cropping and dairying to the area. For forty years Alexander and Agatha lived at Lindenow - ultimately at the Alex Lea estate. Their major interests were in herefords and thoroughbreds.

Around 1915 Agatha and Alexander moved to Western Australia to be near their only surviving child, Edward Alexander Smith. Alexander died in 1918 at Bankside, Waroona south of Perth; Agatha died four years later at the nearby home of their son, in Pinjarra.

Left: Agatha Mary Hedley, 1864; Right: Agatha Mary Smith née Hedley n.d. (Source: Tim Kendall)

Of the life of Emily Ann Hedley (1849-) nothing is known beyond her presumed arrival in Tarraville. She was just two months old at the time of embarkation on the ship Brothers, and no records have been found beyond her birth. As she is not listed among the surviving offspring at the time of her mother’s death in 1854, it seems probable that Emily died during early childhood.

1871 had, for the Hedleys, been a tragic year whose impact can only be imagined. Edward Hedley (1848-1871), one of the children who emigrated on the Brothers, died from burns at the age of 23 in southern Gippsland following the explosion of a lamp he was lighting in a hotel. The Argus (Tuesday 19 Sept 1871) reported the incident in some detail: “The death of Mr E. Hedley, at Stockyard Creek [a goldfield discovered in 1870; today the township is known as Foster in southern Gippsland], from accidental injuries was recently reported. The following extract from the Walhalla Chronicle shows to what a singular accident the deceased gentleman owed his death: - “A sad event, which has caused a very painful sensation, occurred on the morning of the 9th inst. At Baldry’s Hotel Mr. Edward Hedley, who had been residing there a few days, in attempting to blow out the light in a kerosene lamp, caused it to explode, and the oil falling on his whiskers, hands and clothes, the unfortunate gentleman was almost immediately enveloped in flame. He called immediately for assistance, but unfortunately the doors of the room were locked (owing to the other parts of the house being filled with lodgers, Mr Hedley had had a bed made up for him in the billiard-room) and for some moments defied the efforts of those outside to burst them open. His form could be seen through the crevices rushing round the room vainly endeavouring to stifle the fire with an opossum rug he had round him, and although perhaps little more than a minute elapsed from the time of the alarm when ingress was obtained, he was found on the floor, it was supposed nearly suffocated. The fire was quickly extinguished, but not till he had been so terribly burnt that fatal results were anticipated from the first. He was put to bed at once, and every assistance was promptly rendered. Mr. Tate, the nearest doctor, immediately attended, and Mr Travers, an intimate friend of Mr Hedley, at once despatched a special messenger overland to Port Albert to telegraph the sad intelligence to his family. On Sunday, Dr Eccles from Port Albert arrived, but all efforts to save life were useless, and Mr. Hedley breathed his last between 11 and 12 o’clock on Monday. He was perfectly conscious most of the time and did not suffer such agony as might have been expected from such a dreadful occurrence.”

Left: Edward Hedley n.d. (Source: Sale Historical Society); Right: George Robert Hedley n.d. (Source: Tim Kendall).

The three surviving sons of George Dixon Hedley each followed different paths, reflecting, in a new generation, some of the diverse aspects of their father’s interests and career. The eldest, George Robert Hedley (b. 1847) moved to Western Australia where, in 1891, he was listed as exploring the Boodarie Creek, Port Hedland area. In 1907, then identified with the pastoral lease Ashburton Downs, George applied for a mining lease along with two others20. How successful their prospecting venture was is unknown. In 1916 George Robert Hedley was on the WA electoral roll of Dampier (which included the towns of Northam and Toodyay); in 1925 that of Swan (Swan River valley east of Perth).

James King Hedley (1852-1922), born in Tarraville appears to have followed his father’s literary and cultural interests, as well as his restlessness. Noted in his youth for being “a born athlete, a good boxer, a splendid horseman and trick rider, a good actor and altogether a very popular young man”21, King, as he was familiarly known, had many avenues open to him.

King Hedley at Sale, Gippsland. 1870s (Source: Sale Historical Society)

In 1870 he became a constable with the New South Wales mounted police force as a “rough rider” (responsible for selecting and breaking in horses for the mounted police), stationed at West Maitland. In 1872 he resigned, returning to Sale (in the wake of his brother Edward’s tragic death) where he was associated with his father’s brief ownership/ editorship of the Gippsland Times. His father purchased the newspaper in July 1872, transferring the ownership to King a year later. The venture did not prove a commercial success for the Hedleys, and the paper was resold in 1874. King then moved back to West Maitland where he joined the staff of the Maitland Mercury as a journalist, while also active in athletics, music and drama. In 1876 he became a travelling agent for the Australian Mutual Provident Society, before settling in Brisbane in 1877 where he worked for a couple of years as Secretary to the Queensland Turf Club, while continuing his theatre interests.

After his father’s death in March 1879 King moved overseas. By December 1879 he was an actor with the Baldwin Theatre in San Francisco. In May 1880 he married Lizzie McMartin22 in Eureka, Nevada where he was listed in the US census as working at a refinery, aged 28. Eureka was then at its peak production as a mining boom town.

King next appeared in New York City where, on 6 June 1884, he married Eleanor Rodgers who – under the stage name of Eleanor Moretti – went on to have a long and prominent career on the American stage23. King was listed as an actor in the 1886 New York City directory, and appeared at the Madison-square Theatre. He was well connected with the theatre there: his mother-in-law, as Katherine Rogers, had had a long career on the New York stage, as also two of Eleanor’s sisters24. In April 1885 Eleanor and King had a son, Reginald, who died just ten days old. King continued his acting career, touring Cuba in 1894. King and Eleanor separated and divorced some time before 1901. Eleanor married for a second time in 1913.

In 1895 King returned to Australia, initially to Sydney, appearing at the Lyceum Theatre. Over the next five years, as an actor and manager with various productions, he toured extensively within Australia – Melbourne, country Victoria, Perth, country Western Australia, Brisbane, country Queensland, country New South Wales. In Victoria and in Western Australia he toured with King Hedley’s Orchestra and Concert Company to great popular acclaim. It seems that on occasion his horsemanship and acting became entwined:

Mr Hedley’s superb horsemanship has served him equally well upon the stage and in the field, and as he nonchalantly says “with much greater physical risk upon the former than in the latter.” For instance, quite recently in Sydney and Newcastle, where he was appearing under the Messrs. MacMahon’s management as the hero in “The Prairie King” and “At Duty’s Call” he had two narrow escapes from a serious, if not fatal accident. In the first play two horses broke their legs under him before the final sensation, wherein he saves himself by clinging to the rails of the bridge, while his mount plunges through the broken structure into the river below. In the second case (“Duty’s Call”) his military charger charged right over the footlights into the orchestra, precipitating himself and rider right in among the instruments. Fortunately, as the terrified musicians had judiciously beat a hasty retreat, nothing was damaged save the piano, the drums, the big fiddle and King Hedley’s leg.”25

In 1900 King moved to London where he sought to establish himself in the London theatre as both actor and entrepreneur. In 1903 he leased Wyndham’s Theatre, to which Forbes-Robertson transferred his performance of “The light that failed”. The 1901 UK census lists King as a financial agent, boarding in Woburn Place, Bloomsbury. He continued to mix acting with other employment.

In 1902, at the age of 50, he married Mary Harris Edmonds, a wealthy widow, at Christchurch, Streatham Hill. They spent their honeymoon travelling on the Continent, and soon after embarked on eighteen months of travel around the world. In August 1903 they sailed from Southampton to New York; and in March 1904 from San Francisco to Sydney. During their visit to Brisbane, King acted as a representative of the United States Voting Machine Company, giving some particulars relating to the cost of elections in the United States where the machine was used to reduce costs. The Hedleys spent time on the social circuit in Melbourne, before departing Sydney for London in February 1905. In 1909 the Hedleys were living at 19 Telford Ave, Wandsworth; in 1911 at 2 The Grove, Sunnycroft, Horley, Surrey where the census records King as an actor. King died in 1922 at Monthey, Switzerland and is buried at Montreux.

Charles Dixon Hedley (1857-1899) followed his father into the medical profession. He studied at Grenville College (a private school in Ballarat), becoming First Honorman, then the University of Melbourne from which he graduated with Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery in 188326. He spent time travelling before settling at Brushgrove on the Clarence River in northern New South Wales, in response to the search by the local community medical association for a doctor27.

In 1886 Charles married Jane Creer of nearby Grafton. The couple moved further south to Hamilton, Newcastle where he established a successful practice. Widespread strikes in 1888 and subsequent impoverishment of the surrounding coal mining districts encouraged the Hedleys to return north. In 1889 Charles established a medical practice in Grafton, and over the next decade he became Government Medical Officer and Visiting Surgeon to the Gaol and Aborigines’ Home, as well as Senior Medical Officer to the Hospital.

Like his father, Charles had a considerable range of interests and talents, involving himself in public movements and advocating the development of the mineral resources of the district. He is reported to have been an effective public speaker at political meetings, an accomplished raconteur, and enthusiastic athlete and sportsman – participating in riding, swimming and shooting. For many years he was a starter at the Clarence River Jockey Club, inventing an electrical starting gate for the horses28.

The Hedleys had two sons. Charles died in 1899 at the age of 41 in Grafton, having become very ill with dropsy (oedema) over the last year of his life. His widow remarried, moving with their two sons to Manly, on the northern shore of Sydney harbour.

1 Dr Arbuckle, who had been the first to open a medical practice in Tarraville in 1846, decided in 1851 to try his hand (briefly) at the Bendigo gold fields. In 1852 he moved to Sale.

2 Maritime Museum Port Albert – Guide to People 1841-1901.

3 Gold was discovered in Livingstone Creek at Omeo in 1852, but because of the isolation of these goldfields, they were developed slowly. Omeo’s isolation gave it notoriety as a lawless community. James Brown, the town’s first magistrate – better known as author Rolfe Boldrewood [Robbery Under Arms] – based his novel Nevermore on Omeo’s rough early days.

4 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) (1977) The Wind Still BlowsEarly Gippsland Diaries 2nd edn. Sale. Private pubn. p.19.

5 Boats of the Sale Steamboat Company began using the lakes systematically around 1864, using the natural entrance – recourse to Port Albert was made when the entrance was silted up (between 3-6 months a year). In 1889 a permanent artificial entrance to the lakes was opened. ( )

6 Some restrictions were in place: to restrict the sale of valuable land, Governor Gipps introduced regulations in March 1841 requiring the land to be more than 5 miles from a surveyed township, and to restrict water frontage to one mile per four square miles of area. NSW Government Gazette No. 18, p.321. The regulations were rescinded in August 1841.

7 John Reeve (1804-1875), born in Leicester, arrived in Sydney in 1841. In partnership with the explorer, politician, landed proprietor and judge, William Charles Wentworth, his daughter Fanny C Wentworth and several other Sydney-based co-owners, Reeve travelled to Port Albert in April 1841 to select land for the Special Survey, to become known as Reeve’s Survey, on the east of the Tarra River.

8 A third sister, Frances Robertson, b ca 1820, also emigrated to Sale, although when she arrived is not known. In 1881 Frances, then of Morwell Cottage, Sale, married Thomas Nash Spong, a Kent born attorney practicing in Sale. They married at Holy Trinity, Williamstown. Thomas Nash Spong practiced in Port Albert in the early 1860s, moving to Grant in the Crooked River gold fields of northern Gippsland by 1866 before moving to Sale in 1873.

9 ”Mrs [Rosa] Phillips, in her youthful days, received part of her education with her sisters [Ella and Ada] … and other young ladies of those early days, under Mrs Hedley, wife of Dr G.D. Hedley” (Gippsland Times 20 Aug 1936.) Obituary – Miss Helen Grace Campbell, Gippsland Times Mon 14 Jan 1935.

10 Obituary “The Late Dr. Hedley” op.cit.

11 Maritime Museum Port Albert – Guide to People 1841-1901.

12 Obituary “The Late Dr. Hedley” op.cit.

13 This office was at “Mr Liston’s”, the chemist, where his usual attendance was from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

14 The Hedleys moved into cottages 2 and 3 on Lot 20 of Section 27 of Sale Township. This block of land, which was owned in 1868 by James Peck, was subdivided in 1869 and 4 cottages built, all owned by John King. Another of the cottages was occupied by James Peck. Source: Information from Ann Synan, correspondence July 2013.

15 Ann Andrew and Ann Edwards (1992) Two Turrets and a Dome – a history of the Gippsland Base Hospital 1860s to 1980s. Sale. Gippsland Base Hospital

16 Flora Johns (1992) The Peck Plaques – An insight into the lives of Gippsland’s first settlers through the medical practices of early Gippsland doctors and nurses. Sale. Flora Johns. p.33.

17 Obituary “The Late Dr. Hedley” op.cit.

18 In the days of long ago (by an Old Gippslander) Gippsland Times. March 12, 1931.


20 Northwest Telegraph Nov 21,1891 extract “Wedge, Truin and Hedley exploring Boodarie Creek – Port Hedland area”. Reported in NorthernTimes (Carnarvon), 22nd Oct 1907 George Robert Hedley of Ashburton Downs, applicant for Mining Lease No. 75, along with Cuthbert Greene and Richard Jermyn, “ground to be known as Stockyard Central, containing 5 acres”.

21 “In the days of long ago” (by an Old Gippslander) No.3. Gippsland Times March 12, 1931

22 On 26 May 1883 Elizabeth Headley (sic) married M.A. Donthett, Secretary of the Eureka Consolidated Mining Company in Eureka. So, it appears King and Lizzie’s marriage was of short duration. In the 1900 census, Lizzie Douthett (sic) aged 39 is listed as widowed, and living in San Francisco with her widowed mother, Catherine McMartin and two brothers.

23 This was despite an erroneous notice in the Gippsland Times indicating that she had died in New York in January 1888.

24 Eleanor’s parents had moved from England: James Rodgers of Birmingham, and his wife Catharine Rand. The stage names of Eleanor’s sisters were Miss Violet Rand and Miss Katherine (Katie) Florence.

25 Bendigo Advertiser Sat 9 April 1898.

26 “The Late Dr Hedley” Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton) Tues 24 Jan 1899.

27 “Obituary – Mr J.F. Small” Daily Examiner (Grafton) Wed 13 July 1927.

28 Maitland Mercury, Sat 28 Jan, 1899.

Squatters - The Kings at Snake Ridge, Rosedale

On 20 Jan 1853 at Rosedale pastoral run, Mary Anne Peck (1824-1863) married John King (1820-1895) of Snake Ridge run. The Rosedale run had been added by John King and associates the previous year to the growing number of properties under their control.

Growing up in Newmarket near numerous racing stables, Mary Anne is likely to have been a good horsewoman and at home in a rural setting. The photo of her with her first child in 1855 shows a slim, well dressed dark haired woman in a pensive pose - no mean feat keeping an infant still for the photograph!

Mary Anne and John King had five children of whom two died in infancy: Philip Gidley (1854-1931); Anna Josepha (1856 - 1943); Mary (b 1858 who died an infant); Robert Essington (b 1859 who died an infant); and Menie Agatha (1860-1940).

Mrs John [Mary Anne] King with Philip Gidley King, 1855. Daguerreotype (Source: State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection)

Snake Ridge run, covering 60,000 acres, was one of the biggest squatting leases in Gippsland. "In ... 1842, John Reeve, an Englishman, pitched his camp at Snake's Ridge, so called because [Angus] McMillan and Colin McLaren found a freshly killed snake, out of which the fat had just been taken by the natives."1 In a new venture beyond his Special Survey at Tarraville, John Reeve in 1842 became the lessee of Snake Ridge run2, installing the then 22 year old John King as manager.

John King was one of the first settlers in Gippsland, arriving overland in 1842 from the drought-ridden Monaro where, since the age of seventeen, he had managed his father's pastoral station, Gidleigh, near Bungendore. John was well connected in Australian society. John's grandfather, Governor Philip Gidley King, had travelled to Sydney as a naval lieutenant with the First Fleet, subsequently establishing the settlement on Norfolk Island, before serving as the third governor of New South Wales (1800-1816). John's father, Rear-Admiral Phillip Parker King had an illustrious naval career, notable for his marine surveying of Australia's northern coastline (1818-22) and of the coasts of Peru, Chile and Patagonia (1826-30) in command of the HMS Adventure accompanied by the HMS Beagle3. On completion of this survey, Phillip Parker King returned to live with his family in Australia. He was promoted rear admiral on the retired list in 1855.

John King ca 1860. Ambrotype.(Source: State Library of Victoria)

Phillip Parker King had extensive pastoral interests New South Wales. In 1806 his father had granted him 660 acres in the west of the Sydney basin (at South Creek near Rooty Hill); Governor Macquarie gave him another 600 acres, and, from Governor Brisbane, a further grant of 3,000 acres was offered. In the 1820s and 30s the King family home was Dunheved, near Parramatta4. In 1824 Phillip Parker King became a shareholder in the newly established Australian Agricultural Company5, becoming its Commissioner for ten years (1839-49) following his retirement from the navy. During these years the King family lived at Tahlee on Port Stephens just north of Newcastle, NSW - the then beautiful residence for the Company Commissioner. Several of the Kings' seven sons spent time working in the pastoral industry. Four came to have substantial involvement in Gippsland pastoral properties.

Born at Parramatta, John, the second of the seven sons, was educated in England, returning to Australia in 1835 aged 15 to learn the squatting business on his father's Gidleigh estate. The explorer Count Strzelecki was a friend of John's father, Admiral King, after whom in 1840 Strzelecki named Lake King, one of the group of Gippsland Lakes6.

Squatting Runs in Sale District, 1857.

(Source: Synan, P. (1994) Gippsland's Lucky City, p.42. Map drawn by Debra Squires)

Attracted by Strzelecki's report of good land in Gippsland, John King bought the rights of the cattle run known as Fulham Park in 1842, selling out in 1846. For several years he appears to have been the manager of Snake Ridge run while the lease was held by John Reeve7. In 1851, with associates Messrs Holt, Croft and Tooth, he formed John King & Co, buying the rights to Snake Ridge run. By 1854 the firm had also acquired the Scarne and Rosedale runs, giving a total of 106,000 acres, running some 7,000 cattle. John King started with sheep, but soon changed to cattle, fattening them for the market in Van Diemen's Land, and shipping them in their company's ship, the Helen S. Page, from Port Albert to Hobart8.

Over the years, three of John King's brothers - William Essington King, Charles Macarthur King and Arthur Septimus King - and their families spent time in Gippsland associated with the Snake Ridge run, as also at least one cousin, Robert Copland Lethbridge (who later married Ella Minter, see further below).

In the 1840s and early 50s there were few towns in Gippsland, and the pastoral runs were the focus of economic and social life. Many buildings were associated with the homesteads, home to a varied community of people. The original buildings of Snake Ridge no longer exist, but the present day proprietors, the Bowman family, believe they would have stood more or less where the current Ridge homestead stands9.

Diarist Jessie Harrison wrote of Gippsland in the 1850s: "The homesteads of the squatters were generally of the simplest construction, the fireplaces in many cases being made large enough to permit of benches being placed on both sides. The wooden framework of the chimney was carefully guarded from the fire by masses of hardened clay. It was a matter of surprise that the chimney-stack, made of such combustible material as dry sapling and stringy bark, escaped so well the ravages of fire. In the dwelling houses there was generally an attempt at flooring, with either rough slabs or sawn timber, but in the kitchens the earth where the houses stood served for a floor, hardened by use and the liberal application of greasy water. But even with these surroundings it was possible to make a comfortable home, and in those establishments presided over by a lady, the refining influence of her presence was felt in the appointments of the table and the order and cleanliness of the house..."10

A picture of a typical sequence of housing on the squatting runs is painted by historian Patrick Morgan: "After taking possession of their runs squatters lived for the first few years in a bark hut hastily constructed soon after arrival. ... When a squatter had his run more under control, an improved home with slab walls, clay chimney, floors, kitchen and separate rooms made life more tolerable for his family. Gradually a garden with flowers and shrubs and an orchard and vegetable lot were fenced off from the run. ...The third house came some decades later, when prosperity and security were guaranteed."11

So far as can be established, the sequence of housing on Snake Ridge run followed this broad pattern. In May/ June 1855 a new homestead was erected at Snake Ridge, presumably in anticipation of the needs of the Kings' growing family - the Kings' first child had been born in 1854. Entries in the Snake Ridge Day-Book (1854-1863)`for the period include:

31/5/1855 - Timms at work at the fire-place in the new house.

13/6/1855 - J. King papering and canvassing room in the new cottage.

14/6/1855 - Mr and Mrs King moved into the new room.

15/6/1855 - Moving things into the new house.

16/6/1855 - Pulling down the old house.

29/6/1855 - Timms and Stagg cured the chimneys.12

Diarist Elizabeth Montgomery of Heart station (near Sale) noted that: "The Ridge was a beautiful old place on the point of a hill overlooking the Glengarry [now Latrobe] River, well timbered and with a lovely view of the surrounding country." Montgomery also wrote that for squatters: "Mustering in those early days was great work. All hands were up at daybreak - no eight hour day would suffice for this job - and off for the whole day rounding up, sorting out, branding etc. for six or eight weeks at a stretch. The runs being very large, the cattle strayed far..."13 Station business was recorded in the Snake Ridge Day Books, two of which are now deposited with the State Library of Victoria14. These books indicate who came and went, and major happenings, but give few personal details.

Amateur artist Charles H. Phillips, a friend of John King, made a fascinating series of five drawings of life at Snake Ridge in 186015. The pictures show a tight grouping of buildings, with activity clearly centred on horses and cattle.


The Ridge Station - Getting in horses from the home paddock

Starting out Mustering

Taking fat cattle from the camp

Running in the stock horses for mustering cattle

by Charles H. Phillips. ca. 1860. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

At the end of 1860 artist Eugene von Guerard visited Snake Ridge on his travels through Gippsland. His pencil sketch shows a low bridge crossing the La Trobe River, quite close to The Ridge homestead. This first bridge across the La Trobe at Rosedale was built by John King. This area was very swampy, and subject to flooding; a new bridge was built a few years later on this major access route through Gippsland.

La Trobe River Gippsland Mr. J[ohn] Kings Station. 19 & 20 Nov. 60. by Eugen Von Guerard (1811-1901): Australian sketches. 1860-1861. Ref: E-337-f-003. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

In the centenary history of Rosedale, one early route from Rosedale to Sale was identified: "One of the three routes was by a track which led through the backwater at a place where ... there was a spar bridge across the river. A horse could be led over this, if taken carefully. Then, the track went over the Ridge Hill at the back of the homestead and thence, followed the river bank through the Ridge and Kilmany Park Runs..."16

Reliable transport remained problematic in the early period, however. In 1859, an Inspector's report investigating the viability of establishing a school in Rosedale noted that: "On Mr King's station (Snake Ridge) which is distant about three miles, there are about six children fit for school, but their attendance would be impossible throughout the greater part of the year on account of the intervening swamp and river."17

John King commissioned an oil painting from von Guerard of the view from The Ridge homestead looking northward across the plains to the Great Dividing Range. The pencil sketch for the painting, along with the La Trobe river scene, is held in the National Library of New Zealand.



From Mr. John Kings Snakes Ridge. Gippsland. 19 & 20 Nov. 1860. by Eugene Von Guerard (1811-1901): Australian sketches. 1860-1861. Ref: E-337-f-004. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.


The oil painting, privately owned, was included in a 2011/12 retrospective of von Guerard's work in Australia mounted by the National Gallery of Victoria, and is reproduced in its catalogue18.

Mr. John King's station 1861 by Eugene Von Guerard. Private Collection, England. Image: National Gallery of Victoria

The oil painting draws attention to a particularly troubled dimension of European settlement in Gippsland - the relations between the European settlers and the indigenous Aboriginal people, the Kurnai. The Kurnai did not have permanent settlements, but moved around their country seasonally. They became quickly displaced when settlers occupied - often the best - lands on a permanent basis. Tensions were often exacerbated when Kurnai speared cattle or sheep for food in the context of diminishing stocks of native wildlife. Gippsland saw some of the worst massacres in the country as frontier settlers undertook reprisals.

The painting the Kings commissioned shows a Kurnai family standing centrally in the foreground facing the viewer, with a back view of John King in the middle distance, talking with a gardener tending roses. Ruth Pullin, curator of the 2011 retrospective of von Guerard's work, found this an "unsettling" image, suggesting it was von Guerard's personal statement about the displacement of the Kurnai19. But, as this was a commissioned painting, such a central image must surely have been agreed with, if not requested by, the patron - in this case John King. That the painting was valued by the Kings is evident - one of Anna Josepha King's notebooks lists it as hanging in the family dining room of their then home Mairburn at Metung during the 1890s. The painting stayed in the King family over a century until it was sold in 1972; it now forms part of a private collection in England.

Little is known of John King's personal attitude to the Kurnai - but we do know that his initial arrival in Gippsland was in the sole company of an Aboriginal (Appendix 2). The Snake Ridge Day Books show that Aboriginals formed part of the team of regular stockmen at the station in the 1850s, so presumably Aboriginal families formed part of the Snake Ridge community. John King is not known to have been implicated in any of the Gippsland massacres, although his pastoral activities obviously contributed to the dispossession of the original inhabitants. Pullin observes that most of von Guerard's landed patrons commissioned paintings of their homesteads; she raises the question of how we are to understand this unexpected and enigmatic work. There is no homestead, but, centrally placed, the Kurnai man in possum skin cloak with spear stands proudly looking directly at the viewer, the Kurnai woman and child, wearing government issue blankets, sit beside him.

An 1855 survey map of Snake Ridge station, according to researcher Ian Lunt, shows: "an 'open plain' without trees on 'strong wet clay ground' and on 'light dry soil' towards the ridge. The ridge itself was described as having 'Good light dry soil. Lightly timbered with Wattles, Gum, Lightwood, Box and She Oak'. The Latrobe River flats [in the sketch of the bridge] were vegetated with 'Flooded forest' and 'Tea -tree Scrub'." Lunt noted that 'wild turkeys' or Australian Bustards were seen by Macalister and others, and "flocks of that truly elegant bird, the native companion [or Brolga], with its beautiful French-grey body contrasting vividly with its scarlet beak" were noted by Elizabeth Montgomery on the plains nearby20.

In the early years of settlement in Gippsland, social and economic life centred on the pastoral stations. "Before the time of halls, schools and churches, the squatters' homesteads became the setting for elaborate celebrations" according to historian Peter Synan. "[T]he John Kings when at the Ridge, Rosedale" were among those "who entertained sumptuously".21

Elizabeth Montgomery of the Heart station remembered such an occasion:

"I must mention another ball, this time given by Mr. and Mrs. John King of the Ridge, Rosedale. All the dancing people rose to the occasion for no one wished to miss the function, even although it entailed a drive of twenty-five miles. That was nothing in those days, for then pleasure meant more, and hospitality was unbounded. All guests were expected to stay the night. A large barn was cleared for the young men of the party to sleep in and the fresh sweet-smelling hay was spread down each side of the wall, and this, with a pillow and new blanket made a comfortable bed for the tired dancers. They were probably far better off than the ladies who were given "shakedowns" in every corner of the house, where accommodation was taxed to the utmost.

"Those were the good old days when sunrise found dancers still whirling in waltz, polka and mazurka, not to mention the stately schottische. ..."22

John King entered public life during this period. From November 1855 he was the first representative of the electorate of Gippsland in the old Victorian Legislative Council, but resigned in March 1856. In November 1856 he became a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Gippsland, resigning in September 1857. Apparently he found that parliament gave him too little time for his business activities23. King was one of the first magistrates to be appointed to the Bench at Alberton.

View northward from The Ridge homestead, 2011. The current homestead, built in the 1880s, is believed by owners Tim and Julie Bowman to be on or about the spot where the Kings would have lived. (Photo: Helen Connell 2011)

In March 1862 Donald Macleod took over The Ridge station and the Kings with their three surviving children sailed to England on the ship Agincourt.

A year later in August 1863 Mary Anne died of TB (known at the time as phthisis, or consumption) at 4 Lansdowne Place, Plymouth at the age of 39. She was buried at Plymouth.24At her final illness, Mary Anne and John may have been in the west country visiting King and Lethbridge family relatives from Launceston, Cornwall.

Before returning to Australia with his children, John King remarried in 1864. His second wife, Antoinette Stratenus Gehle (1845-1925), was the daughter of Revd Dr Henrik Gehle, Minister of the Dutch Church, Austin Friars, in London, and Anne Gehle nee Minter. Antoinette was thus a cousin at one remove of John King's first wife, Mary Anne25. The story is told of how this second marriage saved the lives of John King and his children. The family had been booked to return to Australia in 1864 on the ship London, but at the last minute John changed his mind, returning to London where he married Antoinette. The ship London went down in the Bay of Biscay.

On the family's return to Australia on the Norfolk26 in 1865 the Kings moved to Nambrok several kilometres northeast of Rosedale. John King built an elaborate brick residence, partly in a Dutch style - now still a family home and on the National Trust register27.

In 1866 John King divided the Snake Ridge run into two: The Ridge and Sydney Cottage (south of the LaTrobe River). His brother William Essington King purchased 29,000 acres of Sydney Cottage. In 1873 The Ridge was sold to the Montgomerys of the Heart, Sale, who five years later sold it to John and Mary Bowman - in addition to The Ridge homestead, the Bowmans had close to 8,000 acres. Squatting licences gave their holders the right to purchase specific areas within their runs, and John King appears to have done this at some stage during his tenure at Snake Ridge28. The Kings' Nambrok estate comprised 13,000 acres. This was the period when the squatting leases - with tenure extended in 1847 for fourteen years - were coming to an end. The Selection Acts (1860, 1862, 1865) were heralding the displacement of pastoralism by the agriculturalist and closer settlement.

Nambrok, Rosedale, Vic. ca 1890-1900. (Source; State Library of Victoria)

John and Antoinette King had two children, John Henry (1865-1957) and Margaret Antoinette (1866-1887). In 1868 the King family travelled again to England for four years, returning to Nambrok in 1872.

John King was active in public life in Rosedale over many years. From 1875-83 he was a Rosedale Shire Councillor, and president in 1877-78. He was a founder of the Mechanics' Institute in 1862. John became a trustee and chairman of the Board of Guardians of St Mark's Church of England in Rosedale which was built in 1867 on land given by the family. He also gave 104 acres of The Ridge property for a Glebe29. Previously John King and others had helped to provide the first Anglican Church in Sale, of which he was one of the first "guardians". Later, with his brother William Essington King, he gave land for a church at Metung.

In 1882 John King published his reminiscences of early Gippsland under the nom-de-plume of 'Tanjil'. While an interesting historical document, it contains few personal references.30

John King and family around 1870. From left: Margaret Antoinette, Antoinette King nee Gehle, Anna Josepha (standing), Menie Agatha, John King, Philip Gidley (standing), John Henry (front). Inset: Mary Anne King nee Peck. (Source: Hardy, G. (2007) Rosedale - 150 Years Pictorial History. 2nd edn. Churchill. Monash University p.16)

Around 1883 the Kings let Nambrok31, and moved to their forty acre property, Mairburn, at Metung on the Gippsland Lakes. Twenty five acres of Mairburn were planted with 2,000 lemon trees; the Kings also established a vineyard32.




Mairburn, Metung. 4 of 7 photo prints ca 1890-1900. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

John and Antoinette King shared an interest in gardening: "The area Mairburn occupied had previously been part of the Swan Reach station, and was consequently frequented by hundreds of sheep. Both Granny and Grandfather King were keen gardeners, so, with the assistance of the sheep manure over three or four decades, a spectacular garden was created full of delightful old flowers such as pig-face, cherry-pie, romneyas, hollyhocks, gladioli and many others ... Granny King planted bulbs she imported from Holland - daffodils, tulips, jonquils, freesias etc....Mairburn itself was a pretty colonial home... they had planted the usual pine trees (Pinus insignis) to keep out the easterlies, and had enclosed about ten acres of land to grow oranges, lemons and red guava. (The latter area was roofed with wire netting to keep off the birds and possums etc. Basketsful were always being given away to friends to make delicious guava jelly.)"33

The dining room at Mairburn, Metung, Vic. in 1900. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

Mary Grant Bruce, who often stayed with the Kings at Mairburn, wrote part of Possum there, using John King in a boating episode in the book.34

With failing health, in 1892 John King made his home at Chislehurst, Hawksburn, a Melbourne suburb. He died there in 1895, Antoinette surviving him by thirty years.

"Memoirs of Mr. John King" in the Rosedale Courier of 1895 noted, rather fulsomely: "Many are familiar with Mr King's prominent figure in local government; his goodly bearing and courteous and refined manner ... Mr King will be remembered as a sturdy pioneer, a good citizen, an upright gentleman, and a man of unimpeachable character".35

Among the King family papers, donated in 1986 to the State Library of Victoria by John King's great granddaughter Meriel Antoinette Winchester Wilmot, later Lady Wright, are Anna Josepha King's recollections of stories her father told her. These relate mainly to earlier generations of Kings and to John King's life prior to his arrival in Gippsland. Appendix 2 has extracts of transcripts of these stories.

Neither of Mary Anne King's surviving daughters, Anna Josepha (1856-1943) and Menie Agatha (1860-1941), married, and Mairburn remained their adult home. Hilda Wright-Smith, daughter of Metung based watercolour artist Laurence Travers, wrote: "The Miss Kings I remember so well - Miss Anna, small and quick with gentle manners and a determined personality and strong sense of humour; Miss Menie, taller, more serious and devout, with masses of plaits of dark hair round the back of her head."36

Menie A. King ca 1885. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

Their brother, Philip Gidley King (1853-1931), married Octavia Dawson of Rosedale with whom he had six children. For much of his life he farmed in Gippsland and later at Seymour in central Victoria north of Melbourne. He finally settled in Melbourne.

John Henry King (1865-1957) spent his early adult life at Metung, as a grazier, with an interest in saw-milling.  He operated a sawmill at Sealers Cove in the early 1900s.  Like his grandfather Phillip Parker King, he was very interested in the botany of Australian plants, collecting Gippsland eucalypts with his friend A.W. Howitt37.  In his later working life he became an estate agent in Melbourne. During his last years he returned to live at Metung. He married Rachel Thompson.

Margaret Antoinette King (1866-1887) died in 1887 at the age of 20 at the King's Melbourne residence, Royal Park.

Philip Gidley King and family with his aunt Ada Peck nee Minter in garden at Seymour, Victoria, 1916: Standing, L-R: Philip King, Dora King, Rita King, Bea King. Seated, Front: Eric King, Octavia King, PG King's aunt, Ada Peck nee Minter. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

John King's life and that of his two spouses, Mary Anne Peck and Antoinette Gehle, span the early years of pastoral leasehold settlement when Gippsland was isolated from other parts of the colony by swamps, mountain ranges and limited and shallow port facilities through to the years of closer agricultural settlement, wealth from the gold rushes, the spread of townships, the opening of Gippsland to Melbourne in the west through rail and road and the permanent opening of the Gippsland Lakes to sea-going vessels. The history of the King family has been well documented, and John King in particular played prominent parts at important times in this history. In Gippsland and beyond, John King worked closely with several of his brothers and at least one cousin over many years. He also maintained close links over the years with his families-in-law, the Pecks and Minters. That these family ties continued is shown in the final photo of this section where John King's eldest son and family are shown in 1918 together with Ada Peck nee Minter, John's sister-in-law and Philip Gidley King's aunt.

1 Tanjil [John King] (1882) Early reminiscences of the discovery of Gippsland. p.10.

2 Reeve married Fanny Wentworth in 1847, and they appear to have lived mainly at Snake Ridge for the following few years, In 1850, Reeve purchased from his father-in-law 14 acres of land on Shark Bay (now the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse), where he built the substantial Greycliffe House. While the Reeves appear to have returned to Sydney, moving to Greycliffe House on its completion in 1851, John Reeve maintained a number of links with Gippsland, becoming a territorial magistrate in 1852. In 1854 John and Fanny Reeve accompanied Fanny's father to England, and did not return to Australia.

3 During the second survey of the Patagonian coast by the HMS Adventure and HMS Beagle (1831-36), naturalist Charles Darwin shared the poop cabin with Philip Gidley King Jnr (1817-1904) (John King's older brother), then midshipman. Charles and Philip became lifelong friends. As a boy of eight, Philip had joined the first Patagonian survey with his father. When the second survey called in 1836 at Sydney on its return to England, Darwin was entertained by Phillip Parker King at his home, Dunheved.

4 Dorothy Walsh (ed) (1967) The Admiral's Wife - Mrs Phillip Parker King.Melbourne. The Hawthorn Press.

5 The Australian Agricultural Company, established in 1824 is now Australia's oldest continuously operating company. In Phillip Parker King's days it managed vast cattle and sheep stations in New South Wales - today it has properties, feedlots and farms nationwide.

6 Maddern, I T. Shire of Rosedale Centenary History 1871-1971.

7 "There is a lot of contradictory evidence about which runs John King was associated with between 1842 and 1848, and in what capacity. He may have managed Snake Ridge as early as 1842. Indeed he may have managed Fulham, Dutson and the Ridge simultaneously for a time." A. Harding and R. Ries, (2003) Toongabbie, Gippsland - A Gateway to the Walhalla Goldfields. Ries. Toongabbie. p.230

8 Macreadie, D. (2009) The Rosedale Shire Vol 2. Cowwarr. Macreadie.

9 In November 2011 the present proprietors, Tim and Julie Bowman - 6th generation farmers at The Ridge - kindly allowed us to visit the two storey brick homestead built in the 1880s. In 1916 diarist Elizabeth Montgomery records that she and her husband purchased The Ridge and lived there for some years (1872-1878), "...but our interests being mainly at Sale, The Ridge passed into the possession of Mr J.W. Bowman, who has built a fine new house there which can be seen from the main Rosedale Road. The river is close to the house and is an ideal spot for anglers." Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.114.

10 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.26

11 P. Morgan (1997) The Settling of Gippsland: A Regional History. Traralgon. Gippsland Municipalities Association.

12 Day Books, 1844-1863 [manuscript] King family. Vol.2. 19th April 1854 to 8th Nov 1863. Accession no. MS 11396, State Library of Victoria. These extracts quoted in G. Hardy (1989, rep. 2007) Rosedale: 150 years pictorial history. Rosedale, Vic. G. Hardy. p.19

13 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p114; p 107.

14 Day Books, 1844-1863 [manuscript] King family. Vol.2. op.cit.

15 This appears to be Charles Harper Phillips, born Newmarket St Mary, Suffolk, England in 1835. He would originally have been a friend of Mary Anne King nee Peck. He may have emigrated on the Swiftsure arriving Port Phillip in December 1857. He was a sponsor at the christening of Ffloyd Minter Peck's second child in 1850, and his younger brother, William Pitt Phillips, emigrated on the Florine in 1858 in company with Ffloyd Minter Peck and family (see below). Either he or his brother appear from entries in the Day Books to have been working at Snake Ridge in August 1858 (see section on James Peck below). The parents of the Phillips brothers were Charles Phillips and Louisa Harper. In 1870 the third Minter daughter, Rosa, married William Pitt Phillips; their first son being named Charles Minter Phillips.

16 This route was described by Du Ve in "Olden Rosedale"quoted in Maddern, I T. op.cit.p.35.

17 Maddern, I T. op.cit. p. 40.

18 The painting is reproduced in Pullin, R. (2011) Eugene von Guerard - Nature Revealed. Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. p. 191.

19 "What are you looking at? by Ruth Pullin - Eugene von Guerard's 'Mr John King's station' - A hidden story" Melbourne Art Network Nov 1, 2012

20 Lunt, I. (1993) "Snakes Ridge Views" Gippsland Heritage Journal No. 14, pp35-37.

21 Synan , P. (1994) Gippsland's Lucky City - A History of Sale. Sale. City of Sale. p.20.

22 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. pp.113-114.

23 According to Macreadie, parliament had sat for 11 months continuously with one short intermission, and John King felt it was too time consuming, keeping him away from business enterprises in Gippsland. (D. Macreadie op.cit. p.173.)

24 The informant of her death was a C. Holman who was present at the death. This could have been a member of her sister-in-law's family. Mary Anne's brother, Robert William Peck, was married to Susanna Clark Holman. Two of Michael Minter's sisters, Jane and Ann, married John and Thomas Holman respectively. These were two of the Four Brothers (Vre Brodiers) (in fact, brothers and brothers-in-law) after whom the so-called "smuggling ship" was named. Two of the baby boys born to Michael and Eleanor in Victoria, each dying in infancy, were named John Holman Minter.

25 Anne Gehle nee Minter's father, Thomas, was an elder brother of both Dr Michael Minter and Sarah Peck nee Minter, mother of Ann Elizabeth Hawes Peck (the first Mrs Hedley), of Mary Anne Peck (the first Mrs King) and of James Peck. Antoinette and John married at St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington, an Anglican church. The marriage was by allegation - unsurprising as they were both marrying away from their regular parish. As Antoinette's father was apparently not present, it is possible he may not have welcomed the match, although he had given his permission - Antoinette was still a minor (aged 19).

26 The Public Record Office of Victoria shipping details indicated the following:

Departing Melbourne for London, Mar 1862 on the Agincourt: King - Mr (A), Mrs (A), with infant (I), Hannah (C), Phillip (C), servant with (A);

Returning from London to Melbourne, Feb 1865 on the Norfolk: King - Antoinette (age 25); John (age 40); Menie (age 3); Ann (age 8); Philip (age 10).

27 Nambrok (an Aboriginal word for "big plain") is now owned by the McGauran family.

28 In 1866 the Snake Ridge run was split in two: the portion south of the La Trobe River becoming known as Sydney Cottage, occupied by William Essington King; the portion to the north of the La Trobe River becoming known as The Ridge, occupied in 1866 still by Donald Macleod, changing in 1871 to William Essington King, and in 1873 to James Tyson.

29 When the parsonage was built at Rosedale, this glebe, three miles away, was retained for some time for the home of the Archdeacons of Gippsland. Hardy, G. op.cit. p.91.)

30 Tanjil [John King] op.cit. p.10

31 Halstead indicates the heavy tax on land property induced him to sell the station. G. Halstead (1977) The Story of Metung and its first inhabitants. Sydney. Gay Halstead Publications. p.270.

32 Macreadie, D. op.cit..p. 175.

33 Halstead, G. (1977) op.cit. p.271.

34 Halstead, G. (1977) op.cit. p.270

35 Rosedale Courier 7.2.1895.

36 Recorded in Halstead, G. op.cit. p.275.

37 Hall, N. (1978) Botanists of the eucalypts. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Melbourne.


Stock and station agent - James and Ada Peck at Sale

Left: James Peck n.d. (Source: Helen Connell); Right: James Peck and brother-in-law Robert Copland Lethbridge (Source: Hardy, G. (2007) op.cit. p.19.)

James Peck (1833-1884) and Ada Peck née Minter (1846-1918) were both part of the original emigrant party on the ship Brothers, arriving at Port Phillip in 1850. James’ early link with the Snake Ridge run following his sister Mary Anne’s marriage to John King has already been mentioned. Ada’s initial move as a child with her family to Mount Moriac near Geelong has also been referred to, along with part of her schooling which took place with the Hedleys in Tarraville.

After commencing his education in Newmarket and finishing it at about the age of fifteen at a school in France1, James Peck arrived in Port Phillip in 1850 at the age of seventeen. Along with the rest of the Peck and Hedley party he spent several months in Melbourne and may also have helped the Minter family become established at Mount Moriac near Geelong in late 1850. He appears to have travelled to Gippsland to join the Hedleys and his sister Mary Anne during 1851.

Following Mary Anne’s marriage in January 1853 James spent several years living and working at Snake Ridge station with his brother-in-law John King, ultimately becoming superintendent of the station2. Doubtless having grown up in Newmarket, the centre of English horse racing, he was an accomplished rider. Many stables abutted the house he grew up in on the Newmarket High Street.

The Snake Ridge Day Book 1854-1863 makes many references to him3. It appears that James Peck was one of the core group working on the Snake Ridge run in 1854; later he appears to have moved around a lot with cattle, but remained a consistent presence throughout the recorded period 1854-1863. Some examples of entries in the Day Book:

12 May 1854

James Peck returned having purchased Flynn’s mare.

Fri 19 May 1854

ALK, Peck, Redding and Black fellow brought the Cattle from Rosedale crossed them over the river and took them to the yard.

Mon 22 May 1854

Peck, Walker and Robinson went to Rosedale brought in some Cross Calves and branded 22 Calves.

Mon 27 May 1854

Peck, Walker, Robinson and Black Jack making brush fence down the Hill and at the Bridge.

Sun 28 Oct 1855

Peck called on his way from the Port …

1 Nov 1855

R. Lethbridge and … Stagg started for the Port with 84 head of Cattle.

Sat 3 Nov 1855

J Peck here.

Wed 14 Nov 1855

Peck took away Turnbull cattle. Peck here. Stopped here the night.

Sat 1 Dec 1855

Peck came down in the evening.

Sat 5 Jan 1856

[fire at Rosedale [the pastoral run] – all burnt down] Peck came down from Loyan.

Mon 28 June 1858

Dr Hedley arrived.

Fri 20 Aug 1858

JK [John King] and Phillips went over the river…

Sat 6 Sept 1862

Peck returned from Melbourne.

17 Sept 1862

Peck returned from Sale.

Mon 22 Sept 1862

Peck went to Sale on his way to Wooroowoolgen [a cattle property on the Richmond River near Casino, NSW]

6 Oct 1863

Mr Peck and H. Buntine assisting and collecting B’s

12 Oct 1863

Mr Peck … attended a meeting to have the Rosedale bridge repaired.

Around 1858 James built his home Bowarett on the north side of Sale. James, together with his elder brother Ffloyd who had then newly arrived in the colony with his family, appear jointly to have purchased a paddock of some 400 acres. Ffloyd’s house, Grassdale, built for him by his brother-in-law, John King, was on the western boundary (now on the main road from Sale to Maffra) and James’ home Bowarett diagonally opposite on the eastern boundary of the paddock (now on the Sale to Stratford road).

Bowarett, Sale in 2011 (Photo: Helen Connell 2011)

On 22 March 1864 James married his cousin Ada Minter4 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Barrabool Hills near Geelong.

At the time of his marriage, James described himself as “squatter of Nambrock [sic], Rosedale, GippsLand.” It appears that in the absence overseas of John King and family, James was looking after Nambrok. Ada, at seventeen, was a minor and needed her mother’s permission to marry.

After their marriage, James and Ada continued to spend time at Mount Moriac, presumably helping with the management and letting of the Minter property following the death of Ada’s father in January 1864. James and Ada’s first child, Sarah Eleanor, was born at Nambrok, but died aged three months and was buried at Mount Moriac.

Record of marriage, James Peck and Ada Minter, at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Barrabool Hills, March 1864. (Photo: Helen Connell)

James and Ada had eleven children, of whom seven survived to adulthood: Sarah Eleanor (1865-1866); James Ffloyd (1867-1869); Ada Marie (1868-1869); Robert Ffloyd Minter (1870-1887); James Arthur (1873-1944); Martha Woutrina (Mena) (1874-1966); Tom Oswald (1876-1950); Hubert Octavius (Octy) (1880-1952); Ella Gwendoline (Gwen)(1881-1949); Emily Irene (Reenie) Ada (1882-1934); Flora Sybella (Ila) Clay (1883-1971).

Like her father and several siblings, Ada became an accomplished water colour artist, drawing inspiration in her early years from the garden in her home at Mount Moriac. The Minter property was let (and later sold in 1875), with the entire Minter family leaving the Mount Moriac area.

Still life by Ada Peck née Minter, dated Jan 31, 1865. Private collection (Photo: Helen Connell)

In Sale James established himself as a stock and station agent, maintaining close contact with the Kings at Snake Ridge. When in 1866-7 James became a partner with the stock and station agents Pearson and English, the firm became known as Pearson, English, and Peck. With the departure of the senior partner, Mr A. L. Pearson, for Melbourne a couple of years later, the firm became English, Peck & Co. James looked after the firm’s cattle business with considerable success; it became the leading such business in the area.5

James Peck n.d.(Source: Sale Historical Society)

Only snatches have come down to us about James Peck as a person. The first dates from 1863, with a report in the Gippsland Times about an incident on the Port Albert Road at a time when the condition of roads was still poor and bridges few6: “An incident which occurred in crossing the Sale morass [swamp] on Thursday evening ought to be a good precedent in all cases of danger, and show the folly of having too many masters in any undertaking, more particularly if human life is endangered. When the coaches and passengers had arrived at the Hill Top, after their ineffectual attempt to reach Merriman's Creek, a number of passengers, including two ladies, embarked in a boat to attempt the passage to Sale, and one, under the best management in such currents as were running, must be full of dangers. When crossing the morass, the boat was endangered by fouling with a tree, when Mr. James Peck, who was sitting in the bow of the boat, and hearing so many contrary directions being given that there was no possibility of any one being able to steer the boat, he, with considerable presence of mind, seized the tree, and absolutely refused to allow the boat to proceed until a leader was chosen, and all promised to obey him. This, after some hesitation was done, and Mr. Duncan Clark who is a thorough boatman, was appointed captain and the boat was brought through its perilous journey in safety to Sale, which would probably never have been accomplished if the command had not been handed over to some efficient person, whose experience in boat management and knowledge of the intricacies of the way, enabled him to act as guide”.

James obviously threw himself into the social life of Sale, as attested by the following ad in the Gippsland Times of September 20, 1870: “Grand Entertainment at Sale School Room”. The ad indicates various proposed recitals, “…After Which Mr Jas Peck will commit a most UNWARRANTED INTRUSION [emphasis not added] To the annoyance of Mr Allester”. One wonders.

Ada Peck née Minter n.d.; Engagement ring, Ada Peck née Minter, married 1864. (Source for both: Helen Connell)

One of James and Ada’s nieces, Nell Gregson [daughter of Ada’s sister Flora], wrote of this period: “The [Minter] family habit of enjoying a seaside holiday still persisted, and Mrs Peck, Mrs Campbell of Glencoe near Sale, and Mrs Montgomerie [sic] of “The Heart” also near Sale, owned the first three holiday cottages at the Lakes Entrance in the 1870s. These were near Reeves River, just below “Roadknights” where a few necessities might be bought as there were no shops. … There was a very happy social circle of young people in Sale in the 1870s and the Entrance cottages were filled to overflowing at holiday time with parents, children, aunts, cousins and friends. The steamer took them down and sometimes did not arrive to taken them back for two or three months. …

The Cottages, Lakes Entrance, by Flora Minter 1872. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

In later years Mrs Peck and Mrs Montgomerie [sic] moved from their original cottages to this ocean side which was known as New Works. Mrs Phillips [née Rosa Minter] and some of their friends also had cottages there…”7

The “Works”, Lakes Entrance 1879 by Flora Gregson née Minter (Source: State Library of Victoria)

Today the “New Works Historic Complex” at Lakes Entrance is heritage listed. A schedule of items designated for registration lists that: Mrs A. Peck had Cottage, Lot 9 and R[osa]. Phillips had Cottage, Lot 11 on the east side of The Entrance.8 In her book Carpentertown: A history of the New Works cottages at Lakes Entrance, Marie Fish traces the history of each cottage, some from fishermen’s cottages, some from cottages of those working on the new and permanent entrance to the Gippsland lakes system to use as holiday cottages9. Cottages have been, and continue to be, leased by the year. Ada Peck had taken out the lease on The Crib before 1898, passing the lease on to Ethel Lloyd (née Walters), a Bairnsdale-based sister-in-law of her son, James Arthur Peck. Archie and Ethel Lloyd kept the licence from around 1912 until 1950 when two of their sons took it over10.

By the 1880s Sale had become a flourishing centre, the recognized capital of Gippsland. It had benefited considerably from the gold rush in the Walhalla and Woods Creek areas in northern Gippsland. “The raw frontier town of the fifties gave way to the well ordered town of the eighties. New buildings sprang up and parks, gardens and sports fields were laid out.”11 But the boom lasted only until the 1890s recession when Sale’s momentum considerably slowed.

While James did not enter public life, he filled many semi-public social positions and was well regarded as “the genial Jimmy Peck”, being noted for competence, zeal and integrity12.

At one of the up-country sale yards around 1880 James was severely hurt by an angry beast charging him. This compounded an already weakened constitution, and a few months later he left his stock and station agent firm, intending to make a home in the warmer climate of Queensland with his sister and brother-in-law, Ella and Robert Lethbridge at Forest Vale, Maranoa. Mr Theo Little took his place in the firm13. After a lengthy period in Queensland James returned to Sale intent on returning permanently to Queensland.

In November 1883 James and Ada’s youngest daughter was born at Bowarett. One month later, in December 1883 they had a clearing out sale at Bowarett: “On Thursday we held the clearing out sale at “Bowarett”, the residence of Mr Peck. The attendance was very large, and everything sold at most highly satisfactory prices. Milkers, 3 pounds 12s 6d to 4 pounds 10s; Alderney bull 9 pounds. Horses 18 pounds 10s to 37 pounds. Pigs …. 1 pound 7s, 2 pounds 2s 6d to 2 pounds 5s, Buggies 29 pounds to 30 pounds 10s, Dray 13 pounds; and all the furniture, &. Pigs very scarce, high prices ruling. Sheep. - Stores in demand, and any coming forward would find purchasers. Horses. - Anything right age and description sell well, and we have sold a great number during the week.”14

In early 1884 James sold the family house, Bowarett, and was making preparations to move to Queensland with his family when his health rapidly gave way.15 Thefamily moved to Sunnyside on Guthridge Parade in Sale, where James died in September 1884 of phthisis (consumption, or TB) at the relatively young age of 5116.

How long the family remained at Sunnyside is not known. At that time, Sunnyside had – according to promotion material - 2 acres of the best soil in Gippsland, a spacious dwelling house with 8 rooms, also outhouses, underground tanks and other advantages17.

Sunnyside, 216 Guthridge Parade, Sale. Proposed to be added to the Heritage Overlay of the Wellington Shire Council in 2007. (Source: Tourist information brochure, Sale)

At some point before 1890 Ada Peck moved to Urania Cottage, 6 Dundas St, Sale opposite the Market Reserve [the present Sale State School grounds] and closer to her sisters-in-law Mary Hedley and Menie Peck. Until her death in 1890 Mary Hedley lived at Urania Cottage with Ada. Ada’s son James Arthur was based there in 1897/8 while he was a stipendiary reader during his theological training.

The former Urania Cottage, now 6 Dundas St, Sale. (Photo: Helen Connell 2011)

From 1906-09 Ada and her youngest daughter, Ila, joined James Arthur in Myrtleford, northern Victoria, to keep house for him while he was a deacon, then priest, before his marriage in 1909. At the time of her death in 1918 Ada lived with her daughter Reenie Nethercote in Melbourne.

Left: Ada Peck (née Minter), son James, his wife Ada Peck (née Lloyd) and daughters Eleanor & Margaret. Kilmore, 1917; Right: Ada Peck née Minter 1915. (Source of both: Helen Connell)

In her unpublished memoirs, As I remember it, Margaret Connell née Peck described her grandmother as: “small and round with a beautiful smooth complexion. She used to come and stay with us in Kilmore and she used to wear a lace cap on her white knob of hair”.

1 Possibly northern France with his baptismal sponsor and the former medical practice partner of his father, Dr Andrew Ross and family – who lived for a few years during the 1840s in France, including at St Omer near Calais and in Paris.

2 Gippsland Times Fri 19 Sep 1884.

3 Day books, 1844-1863 [manuscript] King family. Day books relating to pastoral runs owned/ managed by the King family in Gippsland: includes Fulham, Rosedale and Snake Ridge. The first covers the period 1 April 1844 to 30 August 1846, and 10 February 1848 to 4 May 1849; the second 19 April 1854 to 8 November 1863. State Library of Victoria. As the Day Book covering the years 1850-1853 is missing, it is not known when and how James Peck began his association with Snake Ridge.

4 James and Ada were first cousins, James Peck’s father, Robert James Peck 2nd (1789-1848) having married Sarah Minter, an older sister of Michael Minter, Ada’s father.

5 Gippsland Times. Fri 19 Sept 1884.

6 Gippsland Times, 27 Feb, 1863

7 Nell Gregson (1954) Notes on Sketches by Mr WH Gregson and Mrs Gregson (née Flora Minter) La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Provenance File.

8 File No. 86 3320N. Historic Buildings Act 1981. “New Works” Historic Complex, Lakes Entrance. Owner: Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands.

9 Fish, M. (2008) Carpentertown: A history of the New Works cottages at Lakes Entrance. Lakes Entrance. Lakes Entrance Regional Historical Society.

10 Ada Peck née Minter’s eldest surviving son, James Arthur Peck, married Ada Lloyd, then of Bairnsdale, in 1909. Ada Peck née Lloyd’s brother, Archibald and his wife Ethel, ran the Bairnsdale shop of the family hardware business.

11 Medew, N. (1987) The Story of Sale. Sale. Sale Historical Society. p.15

12 Gippsland Times. Fri 19 Sept 1884

13 James Peck retired in 1881 because of failing health. Theodore Little, who joined the business in his stead, was the eldest son of William Little of Inverbroom near Stratford. Theo’s younger brother, Frederick, married Grace Lloyd, elder sister of Ada Lloyd who, in 1909, married James Peck’s son James Arthur Peck (my grandparents). Was the stock and station business the link between the Pecks and the Lloyds? Mum wondered how they met.

14 Gippsland Times 24 Dec 1883. Commercial Gippsland Stock Reports..

15 Gippsland Times. Fri 19 Sept 1884.

16 The house Sunnyside is believed to have been built in the 1860s by Philip McArdell, steamboat captain, sawmiller and timber yard owner. (“More reminiscences by Mr W.D. Leslie” Gippsland Times Mon 19 Nov, 1928.)

17 Description given by English Peck & Co when Sunnyside had been put up for sale in 1879.

Another doctor arrives in Gippsland - Ffloyd Minter Peck, Anna Maria and Menie at Sale

The eldest of the Peck siblings, Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck (1820-1864) and his wife Anna Maria (née Robertson) (ca 1825-1859)migrated to Port Phillip in 1858, some eight years later than their relatives. Ffloyd qualified as a medical practitioner in 1841 with a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries of London and a Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons of London following a five year apprenticeship under his father, Dr Robert James Peck of Newmarket and eighteen months professional study at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Once qualified, Ffloyd worked in partnership with his father in Newmarket, and then as a surgeon at the Folkestone Dispensary in 1847 with his uncle, Dr Michael Minter. Ffloyd returned to Newmarket on his father’s sudden death in 1848 to continue the family medical practice.

Had his father not died unexpectedly in 1848, it seems possible that Ffloyd may have migrated with the earlier group in 1849. Ffloyd did not take up an option provided in his father’s will for him to purchase his father’s house where the Newmarket practice was sited. Instead, Ffloyd moved the practice further up the High Street into a house which he and his family rented until they emigrated in 18581. Ffloyd entered a partnership in 1858 with Dr William Day who then assumed sole responsibility for the practice on Ffloyd’s departure later that same year.

Anna Maria Robertson had grown up in St Peter’s Square, Hammersmith, at the time a village in the west of London. The youngest of three daughters and one brother, she was from a well-educated family. Her father, Charles John Robertson, was a portraitist of some note, specializing in miniatures, as well as undertaking several commissions for the Royal Horticultural Society. Anna Maria was herself a talented artist, having been awarded the silver medal (amateur) in 1841 by the Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for her water colour drawing of fruit and flowers. (To see the image of an artwork by Anna Maria, check out her entry on this website.) Anna Maria’s mother, Mary Briarly, was from Lincolnshire2.

In 1858 the Ffloyd Peck family travelled from Liverpool on the four year old 1,042 ton ship Florine reaching Port Phillip in July, and continuing directly to Gippsland to join their siblings. It proved an eventful journey from England, described in some detail by blogger Angus Trumble, whose great great grandmother, Laura Travers, as a nineteen year old“…sailed as a cabin passenger in the company of her elder sister Henrietta, and the family of Peck: Dr. and Mrs. Ffloyd Minter Peck, of Newmarket in Suffolk, to be exact, their three daughters under ten and two sons under four, and a servant. Henrietta and Laura lived with the Pecks in Sale until they each got married ... These marriages had been prudently arranged in London ahead of time”.3

The Travers sisters appear to have been long standing friends and London neighbours of the Robertson family – indeed Henrietta had been a sponsor for the baptism of Ffloyd and Anna Maria’s eldest child, Mary. Also travelling with the Pecks on the Florine was Newmarket friend, William Pitt Phillips, who later married Ffloyd’s cousin Rosa Minter in Melbourne.

This group had an eventful voyage on their way to Australia: “The ship Florine … left Liverpool on the 3rd February, and proceeded prosperously on her voyage until the 5th April, when in lat. 33.20 south, long. 20.25 west, she was dismasted, and obliged to put into Table Bay, which she reached on the 24th of same month, and was detained refitting until the 22nd of May. A fatal accident occurred, a steerage passenger, named John Noer, a native of Germany, was knocked overboard by the jib-sheet, and although the vessel was rounded-to, boats lowered and life-buoys thrown overboard, he was drowned”.4

Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck n.d. [ca 1860] (Source: A&P Synan Collection)

Blogger Trumble believes the Florine was lucky to survive the loss of her mast, commending the extraordinary feat of seamanship on the part of Captain W. A. Curry in bringing the dismasted ship from the mid Atlantic to Table Bay in just nineteen days. Trumble observed that the ship carried “…an enormous cargo in addition to our nineteen-year-old great-great-grandmother … and her knitting5 – an impressive ballast that may well have made all the difference during that terrible gale in the South Atlantic”.6

After finally reaching the Heads of Port Phillip Bay in the middle of Tuesday or Wednesday night, June 29 or 30, the Florine had to wait there for some days – whether because of bad weather, overworked pilots, or too much shipping ahead of her. Finally the Florine reached the outside anchorage of Hobson’s Bay [Melbourne] at about 10 o’clock the following Saturday evening, July 3.

While their house Grassdalewas being built in Sale, Anna Maria and the children stayed at Tarraville near Port Albert with her eldest sister, Mary Hedley and husband, Dr George Hedley. Ffloyd, meanwhile, stayed with his sister Mary Anne King and husband John King at The Ridge, Rosedale. Once Grassdale was completed, Anna Maria and the children had an eventful trip by stage coach from Tarraville to Sale – an overnight journey.

Letter dated 4th November, 1858 from Anna Maria Peck née Robertson to her mother describing the journey from Tarraville to Sale - extracts7

[Fuller text of letter in Appendix 3]

we breakfasted at six o’clock on Saturday morning and walked to Tarraville Hotel where the American coach was to pick us up at seven o’clock.

It is an open conveyance with black waterproof on top and curtains let down and very strong springs, and holds twelve people three on each seat. ….

The roads were worse than driving over ploughed fields; in one part we were jerked rapidly over the trunks of trees laid close together to mend the road, which led through the bush or forest, and when one track becomes too much cut up they make another winding in and out the trees most wonderfully. …

An exclamation drew my attention to the fact that a bullock dray seemed stuck in a creek before, and I was rather startled to find that we had to drive down one steep bank and through the creek and up another. But it was so, and it seemed done so easily, and the horses were so beautifully managed, that after that I thought no more of passing a creek than of driving close to the trees. …

After this came a succession of creeks. We were getting very tired of the jolting and shaking, but the later part of the way was lovely with shrubs and flowers in bloom; shrubs having white blossoms, flowers of all hues, blue, pink, yellow, deep orange, lilac and red. I was very glad on arriving at the rest, rooms ready for us and a cheerful fire. …

There was a long consultation how some dreadfully wet place was to be crossed. At last we drove completely into the water and went along satisfactorily until we came to the root of a tree which caught one wheel.

Two gentlemen were riding through to point the best way, and at last the horses managed to get the wheel over the root and then we were soon through the water and all difficulties were over, and we rattled into Sale at a great pace, and drove to the principal Inn, disturbing the congregations assembled for church. …

Ffloyd and Anna Maria brought to Victoria their five eldest children: Mary (b 1848); Annie (b. 1850); Alice Henrietta (b. 1851); Charles James (b. 1853) and Henry Ffloyd Rutherford (b. 1857). Their sixth child, Emily Frances, was born in April 1859 at Grassdale, Sale.

Grassdale, the house John King built for Ffloyd and family on the northern outskirts of Sale, remains a family home today, now on the National Trust register.

Grassdale, Sale in 2011 (Photos: Lucy Macdonald)

Grassdale was built to house a doctor’s surgery with a separate entry for its consulting rooms. It is a fine example of domestic wattle and daub construction. Notes from the National Trust indicate:

The homestead is styled in the colonial vernacular tradition, and is a long rectangular, rendered building with a steeply pitched corrugated iron hipped roof and a wide encircling verandah. Unusually the house lacks any internal corridor, with four main rooms located across the front, all contained within the main hipped section, and other rooms located across the rear, under a skillion roof. The verandah is more decorative at the front of the building, employing larger and more ornate timber posts, and a scalloped valance beneath the fascia which was possibly added at a later date. The roof was constructed using unsawn timbers and timber shingles remain in place beneath the existing corrugated iron roof.

The original entrance drive came off the Sale-Maffra Road and terminated at a circular rose garden in the front of the homestead, though none of this remains. However, there are a variety of remnant mature exotic trees on the property, including hawthorn hedges bordering the roads and a stand of elms around an old pond adjacent to the former route of the entrance drive which provide an appropriate setting for the homestead”.8

The Pecks appear to have integrated quickly into the pastoralists’ community around Sale. The Travers sisters stayed with the Pecks at Grassdale, and the wedding of Laura Travers and William Pearson, of the Kilmany Park squatting run near Sale, was held at Grassdale in August 18599. Henrietta Travers married Lemuel Bolden of the Strathfieldsaye squatting run, moving many years later to Queensland.

The type of demands of Ffloyd Peck’s professional life in early Sale were noted by diarist Jessie Harrison née Login: “…[I]t was Dr Peck who was in attendance [at the Login household] and stayed with us all night on that awful night in 1859 when our little darling two-years-old sister Marion was stricken with that dire disease, as it then was, diphtheria, and throughout the night lay at death’s door. We returned from evening church with our father, to be told by our weeping mother that there was no hope of her recovery. … She recovered…”10

On 1st May 1859, two weeks after the birth of her sixth child, Anna Maria tragically died from complications following the birth - puerperal peritonitis - less than a year after she arrived in Victoria.

In 1860 Ffloyd married Menie Campbell (1820-1887) who had been engaged by him to run his household. Menie was the eldest daughter of Duncan Campbell Esq of Rockside, Isle of Islay, Argyllshire in Scotland.11 She had been living for some time with her sister Margaret and brother-in-law Robert Thomson of Clydebank, a squatting run close to Sale. Robert Thomson, likewise a Highlander, had arrived in Australia in 1832 (see further below) and returned to Scotland in 1848 to collect an inheritance and a wife, Margaret Louisa Campbell12. It is most likely that Menie came to Gippsland at the same time as her sister, as she lived at Clydebank with the Thomsons and helped look after the Thomson children. Doubtless this was good preparation initially as Ffloyd’s housekeeper, and then as mother of an instant family of six young Peck children13. Diarist Jessie Harrison had obviously fond memories: “Miss Menie Campbell was everyone’s friend, so true and large-hearted, that she had a place in that heart for everyone, and never spared herself in service to all”.14

In 1862 Ffloyd and Menie sold Grassdale to the MacLachlan family who still own it today. The Pecks moved into the centre of Sale, to Islay Cottage, a twelve roomed house with detached kitchen, servant’s room and stable, on a half acre allotment at the southwest corner of Cunninghame and Marley Streets, Sale, fronting the then Market Reserve. This block had been the site of Sale’s first church built in 1855 on land owned by Robert Thomson: “…that bark church among the trees; its choir of three men who sat in front of the pulpit…” In the 1850s, Menie had written to a friend: “It is wonderful to see so many people turning up at the bark Church for service, there is not a house within sight and most of the congregation travel long distances to be present”. After a second more permanent church had been built elsewhere in 1859 for Sale’s Presbyterian congregation, Robert Thomson gave the land to his sister-in-law Menie. The bark building was pulled down and the material used to build a wash-house for Islay Cottage.15

Second “Mrs Dr Peck” n.d. [ca 1860](Source: A&P Synan Collection)

Around 1860, Harrison noted: “The site of Sale, now so open, was thick forest, and on the south and east sides shut in with masses of tea-tree. In places, around where we now see gaunt leafless dead skeletons of trees, there were then forests of stately gums in full foliage, interspersed with the she-oak and the native cherry-tree. So dense, indeed, were they that tracks had to be cut to approach rivers, and a traveller could hardly see more than a gun-shot ahead of him.16

In May 1863 a procession through Sale in celebration of the marriage of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and the Danish princess Alexandra, wound its way along York Street, then past the Peck’s house en route to the Market Square. A tree was planted, an ox roasted, and various locals played music, including Ffloyd Peck on the violincello.17

Ffloyd established his medical practice first from his home, Grassdale, and then from Islay Cottage. “… [A] much loved doctor, a practicing Anglican, one of the first trustees and benefactors of the first Anglican Church in Sale according to Flora Johns18. Ffloyd became active in community affairs, in 1863 chairing a public meeting seeking municipal status for Sale. Once achieved, Ffloyd stood (unsuccessfully) later that year for election as Councillor of the Municipality of Sale.

In January 1864, Ffloyd, performing an autopsy, picked up an infection and five days later was dead from septicaemia19.Hedied just six years after migrating to Sale. After Ffloyd’s death, his brother-in-law Dr George Dixon Hedley moved to Sale to continue the medical practice, as discussed earlier.

A commemorative stained glass window to Ffloyd was funded by public subscription and placed in St Paul’s Anglican church on Raymond Street. When St Paul’s was rebuilt on a new site in 1884, the commemorative window was moved to the chancel of the new church, later to become the Anglican Cathedral of Sale. The window stands behind the Cathedral altar.

For many years after Ffloyd’s death Menie took in boarders at Islay Cottage:

[Newly arrived] Mr Cooper became a member of the Islay Cottage fraternity, Mrs. Peck’s most popular boarding-house for young men, Mrs. Peck’s great motherly heart mothering them all, as well as her own vivacious step-children. Islay Cottage was a great centre of social activity in Sale at this time.” 20 Menie died in 1887 at the age of 67 after considerable suffering with Bright’s disease.

Also in the Sale Cathedral is a plaque commemorating Meniein 1887: “Placed by her six children In loving remembrance of their beloved mother Menie [widow of the late Ffloyd Minter Peck] who filled the place of father and mother for 26 years”.

Top: Commemorative window in Sale Anglican cathedral to Ffloyd Minter Peck.

[Note: Flfoyd actually died in January 1864, not 1863 as on the window.] Below: Commemorative plaque in Sale Anglican cathedral to Menie Peck. (Photos: Helen Connell)

Jessie Harrison – daughter of the Revd Login – was a youthful friend of the Peck girls. She remembers her years at Miss Stretch’s school on the northern side of Sale: “As a rule we were driven to the Glebe in the morning, and walked home in the evening with the Pecks and Sibbalds as companions as far as Sale. …” Later she spent time as a day pupil at Mrs Ainslie’s school in East Melbourne21, along with her friends Annie Peck and Annie Thomson. Jessie Harrison obviously shared literary interests and enthusiasms with Alice Peck as she recounts how together they edited a manuscript newspaper: “…at the time of her [Alice’s] sister Annie’s marriage to Mr George Chomley, and at one of Mrs. Harry Chomley’s weekly sewing-parties was read aloud, to the delectation of Mr and Mrs Chomley and the assembled girls. It was a publication without fear or favour, or restraining libel restrictions, of the follies, foibles and idiosyncrasies of our friends and neighbours sarcastically treated. … Undeterred by [an] unappreciative attitude of some of our friends we, Alice Peck and I, both continued our literary efforts sub rosa, and found much private enjoyment in some of our poems and in their circulation amongst a very select circle of contemporary satirists, who also wrote lampoons with the joyous irresponsibility of youth”.22

In April 1870 in Sale Annie Peck (1850-1929)married George Hanna Chomley (1838-1921), who had migrated from Wicklow Ireland to Australia in 1847 with his widowed mother and his six brothers23. For the first fifteen years of their married life George and Annie lived at Woodstock Station near Avoca in northwestern Victoria where George was a pastoralist. Their eldest six children were born there. In 1880, Woodstock Station: “…principally consist[ed] of about 7,500 acres of purchased land, all grass with the exception of 25 acres under wheat, oats and hay”.24

Killeen homestead, ca.1880. The wisteria can be seen already in front of the centre of the homestead verandah. The walled garden on the left of the photo and the garden and trees to the right are still there today. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

In 1885 the Chomleys purchased Killeen Station near Longwood in the Strathbogie Ranges north of Melbourne, along with the freehold to several thousand acres of the land surrounding Killeen. Killeen is the pastoral station (sheep and cattle) where renowned flower painter, Ellis Rowan, had been born in 1848. Killeen homestead, built in 1849, is today a heritage site noted for both its buildings (pisé homestead (1849), and brick stables in flamboyant Cape style from the 1880s) and its garden25. The garden is said to have the oldest wisteria in country. By the time that George died in 1921, his second son, Campbell, had become manager of the property. Annie died in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton in 1929. Campbell Chomley, his wife and family retained Killeen until 195626.

Killeen homestead 2015 – front verandah and wisteria planted 1880s. (Photo: Helen Connell)

An insight into the busy life at Killeen in Annie and George’s time can be gained from several articles in the local newspaper of the time, the Euroa Advertiser. The Killeen Shearers’ Races of 1895 and the 1898 Harvest House dance in the brick woolshed were both accompanied by generous hospitality. February 1901, however, saw a devastating bushfire race through Killeen: “…Mr Chomley and assistants tried to muster the stock but had to flee for their lives. By great efforts the homestead, stables and wool sheds were saved, but all the other out houses including a hay-house full of hay, were destroyed. Mrs Chomley and three other ladies, when the fire came too close, were obliged to take to a swamp close by, where they had to remain in the mud for three hours, having as companions cats, dogs and other animals terrified by the fire…”27

In 1882 Alice Henrietta Peck (1851-1927) became the second wife of the flamboyant Dublin-born Hickman Molesworth (1842-1907), a barrister and later judge. Alice became stepmother to the four children of Hickman’s first marriage; Alice and Hickman became parents to a further four children. The family lived at “Edlington”, a substantial property on the eastern side of Melbourne established by Hickman’s father, Sir Robert Molesworth.

In her memoirs, Alice and Hickman’s youngest daughter Oenone described “Edlington” as a large roomy square house, old fashioned and surrounded, entirely, by gardens and paddocks. She paints a picture of a warm, lively and happy childhood at Edlington; it was evidently a privileged one with servants, and good education - in Oenone’s case nurturing her talents as a pianist. Oenone described her mother Alice as “good-looking, capable, artistic, musical, a great horsewoman – riding and driving.” Alice did a great deal of charity work and ran a soup kitchen in the village. (Memoirs of Oenone Palmer nee Molesworth, daughter of Hickman Molesworth unpub. undated [but written at age 87, hence in 1975] typescript. 19pp. digital copy courtesy W.M. Molesworth)

Alice Henrietta Molesworth nee Peck, undated (courtesy Philip H. Molesworth)

Painting by Alice Molesworth showing Eucalyptus regnans (mountain ash, the world’s tallest flowering plant), Acacia melanoxylon (blackwood) and tree ferns
found in the luxuriant Dandenong ranges east of Melbourne and parts of Gippsland (courtesy Philip H. Molesworth)

Hickman Molesworth QC was well known for defending criminal cases, and was the choice of the Kelly family to defend Ned. Hickman’s fee of 50 guineas per day paid up front, however, proved too high, and the Kellys had to look elsewhere. In 1883 Hickman was appointed to the County Court bench, and became a permanent judge of the Insolvency Court soon after. “Known for his lively personality and optimistic and cheerful nature, he was of a mediating and tolerant disposition. Picturesque and unconventional, especially in his dress, he refused to robe for court. Even as a judge he enjoyed socializing with the Bar and showed ‘palpable relief’ upon being ‘freed of the judicial harness’ when court rose.”28 Alice and Hickman’s eldest daughter Elaine married in Melbourne in February 1907, and in July of that year Alice, Hickman and their three youngest children travelled on the Omrah II north to Sydney and Brisbane for a rest cure for the ailing Hickman. Hickman died of cirrhosis of the liver on board the ship before even reaching Brisbane. 

Left: Judge Hickman Molesworth n.d.; Right: Judge Hickman and Lance [his youngest son Hickman Walter Lancelot] at Edlington, Hawthorn n.d. (Source of both photos: Phillip Molesworth.)

In March 1908 Alice and her two younger daughters, Lynette and Oenone, moved to London, sailing from Melbourne on board the China. These daughters both married in Paddington, London in 1910 and 1911 respectively. Alice’s son, Hickman Walter Lancelot, completed his schooling in Tonbridge, Kent, later becoming a surgeon probationer in the Royal Navy volunteer reserve based in Harwich during the First World War, and marrying in London in 1923. In a surprising twist, he subsequently made his career as a general surgeon in Folkestone, where his grandfather Ffloyd Minter Peck had practiced two generations before29. Of all the original emigrant party Alice was one of only two who moved permanently back to England. She was not close to her step-children, and a serious family rift emerged over inheritance resulting in a long-running legal battle. Alice died in Hove, West Sussex in 1927.

The oldest, Mary Peck (1848-1929), never married. Little is known of her younger adult life. She lived for many years in Sale, possibly being the prime carer for her step-mother Menie who suffered the painful Bright's disease at the end of her life. Menie's will granted Mary a lifetime income from her estate. Mary lived in East St Kilda later in life where her sister Emily and brother Ffloyd also lived towards the end of their lives. Mary was known to have taken a take a deep interest in church affairs during her many years in Sale. Her last address for census purposes was Longwood, Victoria, presumably living with her sister Annie Chomley and family.

Emily Frances Peck (1859-1927), the youngest of Ffloyd and Anna Maria’s children and born in Sale, married Peter Charles Macarthur of Bairnsdale who worked with the National Bank of Australasia, later becoming a bank manager. Emily and Peter lived at 1 Pilley Street in the Melbourne suburb of East St Kilda in their retirement.

Charles James Peck (1853-1893), described as “station employee”, died in Sale at the relatively young age of 39 from tubercular complications after a lingering illness. He never married and died intestate.

Henry Ffloyd Rutherford Peck (1857-1915), commonly known as Ffloyd, was for a number of years an assistant master at the Sale State School. At this time his home, "with a good orchard" was on the north side of Sale near the railway gates on the Maffra road.30.

On 4 December 1879, Ffloyd married Caroline Allan (ca 1854-1942) in Sale. The Pecks had six daughters: Leila Mary (Deed) (1880 - 1961); Muriel Anna (1882-1947); Marjorie Caroline (Madge) (1883-1940); Menie Frances Ffloyd (Peg) (1885 - 1970); Alice Marie Brierly (who died as an infant) (1892-1892); Mary Raphaela (Mollie) (1893 - 1944). The five surviving daughters were schooled at Our Lady of Sion College in Sale - becoming boarders once the family moved from Sale. Caroline's mother had been an Irish Catholic, and the family followed the Catholic faith. .

Henry Ffloyd Rutherford Peck, undated. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

Some time after 1886 the family moved to Bruthen in the mountains of east Gippsland where Ffloyd became head teacher of the Bruthen State School. During his time in Bruthen he was also involved in agriculture. In 1890 he was a judge of dogs for the North Gippsland Agricultural Society31; in 27 Aug 1904 Ffloyd Peck of Bruthen advertised the services of his trotting pony, Masher32. In March that year he advertised a Blue Belton Setter Dog 10 months, beautifully marked Richmond Royal San and Ripple Shot, strain, for 2 pounds; or exchange for pure bred Irish Terrier, young. Census records show him still as school teacher, Bruthen in 1905. Shortly after leaving Bruthen Ffloyd had to relinquish his departmental position “owing to a breakdown caused through heart failure”33.

By 1909 the family had moved to just north of Melbourne, where census records list Ffloyd as a fruit grower in Upper Diamond Creek until 1913. On 7 October 1910 Ffloyd applied jointly with a James Harrison for a mining lease in the county of Evelyn, giving his address as "Cumbrae", Upper Diamond Creek (Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record). At the time of his daughter Mollie's marriage on 31st December 1910, he was referred to as H. Ffloyd Peck Esq., of Cumbrae, Cottle's Bridge. The area is between Diamond Creek and St Andrews on the present-day northern outskirts of Melbourne. By 1914 the family had moved to "Worton", Carroll Crescent, East Malvern, a suburb of Melbourne, where Floyd died on 9th May 1915 at the age of 58. .

View from front of house, Cumbrae, ca 1910. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

Two daughters followed nursing careers. Muriel Peck, became prominent locally and state-wide for pioneering infant welfare work in the early 20th century. She was a state registered general nurse with certificates for infant welfare, school and tuberculosis, and sanitary inspection amongst others. She became Assistant to the Director of Infant Welfare in the Victorian Public Health Department. In 1917 she was in charge of the first Infant Welfare Centre in Richmond, later becoming Matron of the Victorian Baby Health Centres' Association Training School for Infant Welfare Nurses for four years. Her book Your Baby went through four editions34.

During the First World War, Madge became charge sister (Soeur-Major) of the Hôpital Croix Rouge Anglo-Française, No.4 Bir. Astoria Hotel in Paris. She served with distinction, being awarded the Médailles d'Honneur and de la Reconnaissance Française, and the Palmes of the French Red Cross35. On 11 October 1916 in London she married Dr Sydney Fancourt McDonald an Australian whom she met in France. They returned to Australia in 1920, living in Brisbane where her husband specialized in pediatrics. Madge died in 1940 after years of indifferent health. Over-work and under-nourishment endured during the War were said to have culminated in her lengthy illness36.

Madge in France during World War I. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

Leila (known within the family as Deed) and Menie (known within the family as Peg) appear to have lived at home all their lives. When in Melbourne, Muriel also lived with them. Some time after Ffloyd's death, Caroline, Leila and Menie moved to live at Wandal, 35 William St, Balaclava (East St Kilda). In her younger years Leila worked as a governess and studied at Swinburne Art School; later she identified herself as a designer. Menie managed the house for her mother and sisters in later years.

The Peck family got to know anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski during the years he spent in Australia during the First World War. The connection seems to have been through Muriel who nursed Malinowski's then fiancée, Nina Stirling, through tuberculosis. Malinowski had met Nina in April 1915 when he stayed at the Adelaide home of her father, Sir Edward Stirling, director of the South Australian Museum. Malinowski's diary, A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term, has numerous references to the Peck family, to Leila/Lila and Mimi (Menie) during the period 1917-1918. At one point he talks of "those happy days in E. Malvern" (p.150) - he appears to have lived in East Malvern for a time, which raises the possibility that he may have boarded with the Peck family for a period37. Leila kept up a correspondence with Malinowski when he went to New Guinea on field work. Her great-niece, Stephanie Anderson, retains copies of two of Leila's, and also one of Madge's, letters to the anthropologist.

Menie (Peg) with cats at Worton, ca 1918. Source: Simon Ffloyd Smith

The youngest Peck daughter, Mollie, married Lindsay Meek Anderson on 31 Dec 1910 in Heidelberg, a northern suburb of Melbourne. Lindsay had bought a gold mine on land next door to that of the Pecks' then property Cumbrae at Cottle's Bridge38. Lindsay had been a talented cricketer and footballer during his school years at Scotch College, and later played for the Melbourne Football Club (1901-1906). Lindsay and Mollie Anderson moved to Mildura where their first five children were born, and then to Adelaide. In 1926 Lindsay was Adelaide manager of US Light and Heat Corporation Aust Ltd.; he later established Adelaide Motors. In 1939 the family lived at Henley Beach Road, Lockleys. Mollie was the only one of the sisters to have children. The Andersons had seven children: Lindsay (a girl); Betty; Bill; Geoffrey Fraser; Faerlie ffloyd; Peter Burnett; and David Allan. The two eldest died as infants, and Bill at the age of 21. Geoffrey, Faerlie and Peter all married and had families. As a young adult, although married, qualified in the law and on the verge of taking up a position in the Northern Territory, Geoffrey agreed to join his father in his business, Adelaide Motors. Peter went into farming, having a station near Keith, South Australia which was called Aberdour after the family home of his Anderson grandparents in Melbourne. Faerlie followed a nursing career until the time of her marriage to surgeon Mervyn Keith Smith.

1 Ffloyd’s father, RJ Peck, lived in and practiced from 30-32 High Street, Newmarket now known as Mentmore House (see above). Between ca. 1848 and 1858, Ffloyd lived in and practiced from 3 Park Terrace, High Street, Newmarket, now known as Cardigan Lodge, 113 High Street. (Paul Saban: Three centuries of medical practice in Newmarket. )

2 Mary Briarly and Charles John Robertson married in Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire in 1814 where their three eldest children – Mary Briarly, Henry and Frances - were born, before moving to Eton – where Anna Maria was born - and then settling in Charles’ home town of London.

3 Posted Sept 6, 2012.

4The Argus Monday, July 5, 1858 p.4.

5The immense task that Laura Travers set for herself on that long voyage into the grip of an unforgiving southern winter was to create a bedspread consisting of 380 patterned oblongs (arranged 20 by 19), sewn together, the corners concealed beneath handmade knitted buttons, the whole surrounded by a ten-inch-wide continuous border. The finished object measures twelve by ten feet. “ This extraordinary bedspread remains in good order, and is illustrated on the blog.

6 Angus Trumble detailed: “ 237 hogsheads of Hale and Stuart ale; 20 hogsheads of beer; 200 cases of Callender and Caldwell spirits; 125 bundles of wire; 64 flagstones; 2,000 fire-bricks; a number of boilers; many packages of “machinery”; 50 barrels of salt; one case of seeds; five tierces of fish; 650 cases of bottled porter; 621 boxes of oilmen’s stores; 125 kegs of nails; one range; two trusses; eight cases of “hardware”; 2 pedestal clocks; 1,600 bushels of barley; 438 bars of iron; 30 firkins of butter; 5 casks of chicory; eight dog-carts; six bales of linen; 231 cast-iron pipes; 60 tons of pig iron; six casks of sausage skins; 13 tierces of hams; one bin of malt; 40 bags of refined sugar; 68,000 slates; 7,040 tiles; four Parkin and Wharton mangles; four crates of earthenware; four casks of horseshoes; six bales of paper; 42 grindstones; 117 tons of coal; 13 cases of plate-glass; 53 cases of pickles, and much else besides—leaning heavily towards alcohol, food, and building materials, most if not all intended for sale at the diggings.”  

7 O.S. Green (1979) Sale, the Early Years and Later. Sale, Vic. Southern Newspapers. pp.25-26.

8Grassdale, 8 Grassdale Road, Sale. Notes from National Trust indicating that the homestead is regarded as architecturally significant, as a remarkably intact example of colonial vernacular architecture of the mid nineteenth century. (National Trust Database ) The present owner, Alan MacLachlan, who showed us the property in 2011, told us that the red gum used in the verandah posts was off the property; the shingles were split green wattle; and the width of the house walls is approximately half a metre, so the house is well insulated.

9The Tumbrel Diaries: Arsenal – story of William Pearson

10 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.62.

11 Duncan Campbell, Esq. was born about 1792 in Kilchoman Parish, Isle of Islay, and died 1874 in Portnahaven, Isle of Islay. Menie was born in 1820 in Kilchoman Parish, Isle of Islay, Argyll. Her mother was Catherine MacGregor. Possibly Catherine died in childbirth. In October 1821 Duncan Campbell married Ann McNeil, and they had at least thirteen children together, including Menie’s step-sister Margaret. Henry Campbell, Menie’s eldest step-brother, also migrated to Gippsland, as his obituary indicates that he died at his residence, Hillside, Maffra, aged 77 in 1899 (The Maffra Spectator Mon 6 Nov. 1899).

12 Watson, D. (2009) Caledonia Australis. Vintage. Pioneers. p.137.

13 Johns, F. op.cit. p.32.

14 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit.p.57

15Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.25.

16 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. p.26

17Gippsland Guardian 29.5.1863. Details provided by Ann Synan.

18 Johns, F. op.cit. p.30.

19 Johns, F. op.cit. The family bible records cause of death as “Pyaemia [septicaemia] after 7 days illness”. Meryl Stanton notes that Ffloyd’s death certificate specifies “colic enteritis”.

20 Leslie, JW. and Cowie, H C. (eds) op.cit. p.85.

21 Miss Ainslie’s Seminary for Young Ladies was founded in East Melbourne in 1864. In 1868 it was purchased by Miss Nimmo, and in 1872 purchased by Dr John Singleton. It later moved to Mont Albert, at some point becoming known as Ormiston Ladies’ College. (Letter to Editor of The Argus by Jean DS Lewis, Toorak, May 7, 1934.)

22 Leslie, JW and Cowie, HC (eds) op.cit. pp.68-9, 71, 73. “Mrs Harry Chomley” was the wife of Harry Chomley, with the Sale branch of the Bank of Australasia. Harry was a brother of George Hanna Chomley who married Annie Peck.

23 George was one of seven sons of the Rev Francis Chomley of Merrion-square, Dublin, who left the army for the church. On her husband’s death, his widow came to Melbourne on the ship Stag in 1846 bringing with her seven sons. The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote) Thurs. 26 July 1906.

24 “The Crops in the Talbot and Avoca District” (by our agricultural reporter) The Australasian (Melbourne), Sat 24 Jan, 1880.

25Killeen Homestead is architecturally significant as a very rare and early example of a house of pisé [rammed earth] construction. Few comparable examples survive in Victoria...

The stable building is architecturally significant as a highly unusual and distinctive pastoral outbuilding. The building has a degree of architectural pretension not normally associated with rural stables, especially in the context of the vernacular and unpretentious Killeen homestead.

Killeen Homestead is historically significant as evidence of land settlement in rural Victoria before 1850. The house is unusual as evidence of a substantial improvement carried out by a squatter before the pre-emptive right was secured. The outbuildings demonstrate the later improvements carried out by squatters as part of their purchase of freehold land. The stables and shearing shed shows the evolution of the run, which was originally a cattle station but later became a large and important sheep station in the district.

Killeen Homestead is aesthetically significant for its landscape and garden plantings. The area of primary importance in the garden is the rectangular enclosure around the homestead and the dense perimeter planting of laurustinus, privet, roses, lilac, olive, a large Chinese Wisteria and three Irish Strawberry trees. One of the Irish Strawberry trees is an atypical example having grown to form a single trunk. It is the largest recorded in Victoria. The avenue of Italian Cypress at the front of the house is an impressive landscape feature and a planting of this scale is uncommon in Victoria.” Source: Killeen Homestead (Heritage Listed Location)

26 In 1956 the property was bought from the Chomleys by Ewen and Alison Cameron (from 1977-1993 Ewen was the local member of federal parliament). In 2003 the Camerons sold Killeen station to David and Joan Fowles, the current owners (2015). The Fowles have undertaken extensive restoration of both buildings and gardens, drawing on the services of garden designer Rick Eckersley.

27 “Longwood Fire” Euroa Advertiser 12 Feb 1901. Accessible online via

28 Biography – Hickman Molesworth. Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol.10, MUP, 1986.

29 Hickman Walter Lancelot Molesworth (1892-1969), Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows Online, Royal College of Surgeons

30 Gippsland Times, 13 May, 1915

31 Gippsland Times, 17 Nov, 1890

32 Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle

33 Bruthen and Tambo Times, Wed 19 May 1915

34 Flora Johns, op.cit.

35 The Courier Mail, 29 Oct 1940

36 The Telegraph, Brisbane Mon 28 Oct 1940

37 The Pecks appear also to have known Elsie Masson, Malinowski's next girlfriend and who, in 1919, became his first wife. Elsie, daughter of Professor Orme Masson of the University of Melbourne, met Malinowski in Melbourne while she was nursing.

38 Source: letter of Faerlie Smith née Anderson

Mount Moriac - The Minters choose a different direction

Michael Minter (1807-1864), his second wife, Eleanor Edmonds Jeffery (1821-1875) and their four eldest children (Michael, Ella, Ada and Rosa) emigrated in 1849 on the barque Brothers, as part of the party organised by Dr George Dixon Hedley. Michael was an uncle to the Peck siblings – the youngest brother of their mother Sarah. Michael had undertaken his medical apprenticeship with Robert James Peck in Newmarket during the 1820s, and was baptismal sponsor of one of the Peck children. At the time that Robert James Peck died in 1848, Ffloyd was working as Michael’s assistant at the Folkestone infirmary. There was, then, a close relationship between Michael and the Peck siblings who emigrated.

After arriving in Port Phillip in March 1850, unlike the rest of the party, the Minters did not settle in Gippsland, instead establishing their home later that same year in Mount Moriac near Geelong.

Left: Michael Minter 1862; Right: Eleanor Edmonds Minter (née Jeffery) 1866 (Source for both: State Library of Victoria)

Michael purchased 640 acres of Crown land in the County of Grant (Lot 122, parish of Gnarwarre), comprising the northern slope of Mount Moriac, an extinct volcano some 12 miles west of Geelong. The land was proclaimed 26 March 1850, deeds dated 10 Dec, 1850, and purchased 29 Jan 18511. He organised a mortgage for the purchase in August 1850. Michael also purchased a town block of 2 roods (half an acre) in Broadmeadows (in the north of Melbourne) at the same time.

Michael Minter’s granddaughter Nell Gregson wrote: “In 1850, on account of bad health, Dr Minter, with his wife, son and three daughters, emigrated to Australia. They settled at Mount Moriac, near Geelong, intending to grow grapes, and the doctor only attended patients in an honorary capacity. We have been told by residents of the district how gratefully and affectionately their grandparents spoke of his willing medical help. He was a tall, impressive figure riding about the country wearing frock coat and top hat. We were also told that he was known by some as “the mad Dr Minter” because, being 50 years ahead of his time, he used fertilisers on his land and tried to persuade other agriculturalists to do the same”.2

Top: Minter house, Mount Moriac 1857, photograph (Source: State Library of Victoria); Below: Mount Moriac Geelong – Home of Michael Minter. Artwork believed to be painted by Michael Minter in the early 1850s.  Location of original artwork unknown.  This copy in black and white (possibly photographic) of artwork was made by Beryl Vaughan (granddaughter of Michael Minter) in 1962. (Source: Tim Kendall)

Michael Minter was born in Vlissingen (Flushing), Holland in 1807, the youngest of nine children of English parents. “When the French invaded Holland under Napoleon Bonaparte, the English were given 46 hours to get out, before the town was burnt, so the Minter family packed what few things they could collect and retreated to the [nearby] Island of Schouwen. Later, they went to England”.3 While Michael was quite young the family returned to their erstwhile home in Folkestone, England. After his medical apprenticeship with his brother-in-law Dr Robert James Peck he qualified with Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries, London (LSA) in 1828, and a Doctorate in Medicine (MD) from the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Germany in 1845. His first medical practice was in Whitstable, Kent, then he worked in London before establishing a practice in Folkestone, Kent. His first wife, Sarah Baldock, died of TB, and in 1842 he married Eleanor Edmonds Jeffery from Cheriton near Folkestone4.

Michael Minter wrote an account of his early years in Latin – the language in which medical studies were examined in his youth and which was a required subject of study in the nineteenth century English and Continental grammar (secondary) schools. A translation by Dr Neild of this account has been passed down through the family and appears in full in Appendix 4. The State Library of Victoria holds paintings and memorabilia of Michael Minter.

View from before sunrise to the East from mount Moriac, Arthur’s Seat, the Heads leading into the Gulph of Port Philip and Lake Connewarre, 1854, by Michael Minter (Source: State Library of Victoria)

Mount Moriac stands around 250 metres above sea level – the highest point for a considerable distance – from its summit is an extensive view in all directions over relatively gentle terrain. While the Minter’s timber house no longer exists, its likely location was just below and to the north of the summit of Mount Moriac where remains of brick and stone cellars can be found on gently sloping terrain. From this point the view to the east includes the heads of Port Phillip Bay, Arthur’s Seat and parts of Bass Strait. Michael’s watercolour of 1854 shows this vista in its dawn colours.

During the years Michael and Eleanor lived at Mount Moriac they had six further children: John Holman, Flora, Ellen, John Holman (2), Ffloyd, and Jeffery. Sadly all four sons born in Victoria died in infancy and are buried at Mount Moriac cemetery along with their father.

Minter family at their home in Mount Moriac, 1856 From left: Ada, Flora (front), Ella, Eleanor with baby Ellen, Michael, Rosa, Michael jnr. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

The Minters were amongst the earliest settlers in Mount Moriac. It seems likely that most of the Minter’s 640 acres would have been used for grazing – in this area mainly sheep. In the 1850s and 60s before phylloxera, the Geelong region developed a thriving wine industry. Two vineyards of five acres each were established on the Minter property - one leased to John Kiel, the other to John Bugman5. The Minters in their garden in 1856 (above), was the earliest garden photograph reproduced in Cuffley’s Cottage Gardens in Australia.6 The January 1865 still life watercolour by Ada Peck née Minter (see earlier section) painted at Mt Moriac illustrates summer flowers presumably from this garden: hollyhocks, roses, iris, and Madonna lilies.

With their neighbours the Tindales, a family with fourteen children who lived on the southern slope of Mount Moriac, the Minters “…used to be taken in bullock drays to Airey’s Inlet for holidays. There were no real roads and they had to take everything they needed, including goats for milk and fowls for eggs and eating.”7

Seaside holidays apart, life in Australia would have held many not so welcome surprises for the Minters. In 1854 Michael painted a bushfire to the north of Mount Moriac, “extending in one unbroken line full 50 miles”. From the supposed location of the Minter’s house near the summit of Mount Moriac, the mountain in Michael’s picture can be identified as Mount Buninyong near Ballarat. This appears, then, likely to be a record of the bushfire of February 6, 1851. The centenary publication of the Shire of Barrabool records: “February 6, 1851, must have been a dreadful day. The Geelong Advertiser reported “towering columns of dust, driven by a tempestuous hot blast.” The fire seems to have come from the Buninyong area and with no communications as we know them now, little advance warning or defence could be prepared.”8 Temperatures of 111 degrees were reported. “Black Thursday” affected several areas of Victoria besides the Barrabool Hills – Kilmore, the Plenty, Western Port, some parts of Gippsland and the Port Fairy Districts.

A bush fire to the north of Mount Moriac at night extending in one unbroken line full 50 miles, 1854, by Michael Minter (Source: State Library of Victoria)

Michael Minter became a magistrate and took an active part in community affairs, particularly the questions of road building and the amalgamation of council areas. In 1861 he joined the newly established Barrabool Road Board, and was elected chairman in 18639. He was appointed public vaccinator for the Barrabool Hills district in 1855.

Left: Rectangular seal belonging to Dr Michael Minter (reddish stone possibly carnelian) - side view; Centre: ditto, top view;; Right: brass name place for Dr Michael Minter. (Source for both: State Library of Victoria realia collection).

Left: Tortoiseshell snuff box belonging to Dr Michael Minter; side view; Right: ditto, silver lid showing Minter coat of arms and scroll reading: “Live and Love”. (Source: State Library of Victoria realia collection)

After an apparently long period of indifferent health, Michael Minter died in January 1864 of general debility, continued fever and effusion on the brain. The following month his widow Eleanor took steps to let the property, advertising it in The Argus:

Mount Moriac, near Geelong. – To be LET, a desirable GRAZING FARM, containing about 640 acres, distant 13 miles west of Geelong, and having thereon a commodious family residence, beautifully and healthily situated. An extensive medical practice having been carried on for many years by the late owner and occupier, Michael Minter Esq., M.D., lately deceased, at his property will be found very eligible for the occupancy of a gentleman of the medical profession, as it is situated in a respectable and populous agricultural district, where there is no medical practitioner in the immediate neighbourhood.”10

It appears the property took some time to let or sell. In 1868 it was advertised again, for sale or let, in the Geelong Advertiser: “680 acres of first class grazing and agricultural land. One of the vineyards with a 40 acre paddock can be had separately if required.” In 1871 the property – “known as the late Dr. Minter’s Homestead with commodious dwelling-house, vineyard and other improvements” - was advertised for sale or to be let11. Dr Minter’s “Mount Moriac Estate” was finally sold in 1875 to neighbour John Hensley – 680 acres at 6 pounds 2s/6d per acre.12

In 1867 Michael Minter Junior donated his father’s surgical instruments and medical works to the then newly established Gippsland Base Hospital in Sale which his cousins, Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck (who also died in January 1864) and Dr George Dixon Hedley had been active in helping establish. The Hospital Committee was very appreciative.13

During the 1850s, the three eldest Minter girls, Ella, Ada and Rosa, spent time at school in Port Albert in southern Gippsland taught by Mary Robertson, subsequently Mary Hedley. In this way they would have reinforced their contact with relatives with whom they emigrated from England, and also come to know many of those associated with the King properties around Rosedale.

In April 1863 the Minter’s eldest daughter, Ella (1844-1902), married Robert Copland Lethbridge (1838-1932), a cousin of John King and who was, at the time of his marriage, superintendent of The Ridge in Gippsland. Ella and Robert married at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Barrabool Hills near Geelong and appear to have spent time at Mount Moriac over the following couple of years.

Left; Record of Certificate of Marriage, Ella Minter and Robert Copland Lethbridge, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, April 1863 (Photo: Helen Connell); Right: Ella and Robert Copland Lethbridge 1863 on their honeymoon (Source: Tim Kendall)

Table arrangement for wedding breakfast, Mr & Mrs Robert Copland Lethbridge at Mt Moriac. (Source: Tim Kendall).

At their wedding breakfast at the Minter’s house in Mt Moriac, there were several family members from Gippsland – Mary Peck and her step-mother Menie Peck, Agatha Hedley, James Peck and Arthur Septimus King. There were neighbours – several members of the Tindale family, and members of the Dennys and Lascelles families who became well known in the Geelong region through their large and successful wool-broking firm (Dennys Lascelles Ltd.). The celebrant, Reverend C. Perry, also joined the breakfast.

Robert Copland Lethbridge, fourth son of Mary King14 and Robert Copland Lethbridge Snr, was born at his parents’ property Werrington at Penrith, New South Wales. At the age of 15 he became a jackaroo at Goonoo Goonoo station in Tamworth managed by his brother-in-law Arthur King on behalf of the King family, subsequently moving to The Ridge in Gippsland with John King. He spent five years at The Ridge, following which he rented the Scarne run, working on his own account for two or three years. In 1870 he spent about a year working for Arthur King on the Sydney Cottage station, Rosedale.

During these years Robert gained significant droving experience, taking three long trips in charge of stock over many hundreds of miles. Robert’s diary traces one of these trips of 1860/61: "Robert… at the age of 22, was put in charge of 22 men, 47 horses and droving equipment, and set off from The Ridge, Gippsland for Port Altona, Melbourne, where the horses and men boarded the H.S.Page for sea passage to Brisbane, commencing on 28th August 1860. … Robert proceeded on an overland journey to Ipswich, where he assembled his team in readiness for a droving journey of over 1000 miles. …The team reached Wooroowoolgen Station near Casino on October 14, and for the next 11 days, used the station as a base to prepare for the journey up the range to Tenterfield". From Tenterfield the drove moved south along the New England range, eventually to Cowra, Yass, Yarralumla Station (present site of Canberra), Cooma to the Delegate River, and a difficult passage down the Snowy River ranges into Victoria. "After an absence of 6 months and having driven the cattle a journey of 1100 miles and only a slight loss from disease and poison they arrived at The Ridge on February 24th 1861"15.

In 1868 Arthur King commissioned him to inspect properties in Central Western Queensland, and the two jointly purchased Forest Vale station on the banks of the Maranoa River near Mitchell in southern Queensland. In 1872 "Robert, Ella and their family of five young children, set sail for Brisbane from Melbourne, with all their household equipment plus a sulky and horses. After sailing up the Bremmer River to Ipswich, where all their equipment was unloaded, Robert proceeded overland to Forest Vale… while Ella and the family stayed at Old Gowrie Station, awaiting the signal to set off for Forest Vale. When this was given, the family set off from Toowoomba by buggy, dray and horseback, camping out each night until they reached Forest Vale, having covered a distance of about 350 miles overland".16 They then set about building the family’s homestead on the banks of the Maranoa River, clad with hardwood slabs.

Forest Vale homestead 1887 (Source: Forest Vale – the Property of Mr R. Copland Lethbridge. undated. no author recorded. 13pp. – copy owned by Tim Kendall )

Three years later Arthur King disposed of his interest in the property, Robert eventually becoming sole proprietor. When first taken up, Forest Vale run covered about 525 square miles, but the subsequent government policy of resumption meant large areas were later cut away and subdivided for closer settlement.

The Lethbridges had thirteen children, the oldest born in Victoria, the youngest six in Queensland – of which four at Forest Vale. The nearest doctor being 110 miles away in Roma, these children were born without medical assistance. Ella must have been competent, adaptable and resilient. A grandson wrote of her: “All that I can remember is with what affection all spoke of “Mother” … Lottie Hassell .. told me that she remembered going to stay at Forest Vale as a young girl. The men had all gone away to a mustering camp and before going had killed a bullock and cut it up. She remembered Grandmother (Ella) salting all of the meat, a very tedious job, and that night sitting by the fire doing the most delicate tapestry.”17

After moving to Queensland, Ella maintained contact with her Minter relatives – indeed her sister and brother-in-law Ada and James Peck were planning to move to Queensland for health reasons in 1884, but James died before this could happen.

Left: Ella and Robert Copland Lethbridge n.d.; Right: Ella Lethbridge née Minter 1875 (Source for both: Tim Kendall)

As mentioned earlier, the Minter’s second daughter, Ada, married her cousin James Peck in the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Barrabool Hills on 22 March 1864, a few weeks after her father’s death. Ada was still a minor and required her mother’s permission to marry. Like Ella and Robert, Ada and James appear to have spent time over the following year at Mount Moriac, presumably helping manage the property until leased. James and Ada’s first child who died in infancy is buried, at Mount Moriac. By 1866 they had moved to James’ property Bowarett in Sale, Gippsland where their subsequent children were born.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Barrabool Hills. Etching of first building, 1855. Architect Charles Vickers, Melbourne. Church was rebuilt to the same design in 1884. National Trust classified. (Photo: Helen Connell. Etching hangs inside the church.)

In January 1870 at St Jude’s Carlton, the Minter’s third daughter, Rosa (1848-1936) married William Pitt Phillips (1842-1924) from Newmarket, Suffolk, who had emigrated with Rosa’s uncle Dr Ffloyd Minter Peck in 1858. William worked for a while on the Snake Ridge run with John King. Both Rosa and William were good equestrians, and they lived on a succession of pastoral properties in Gippsland18.

Oaklands, Lindenow, Gippsland, by Flora Minter 1872. Watercolour. (Source: Tim Kendall)

During the 1870s the Phillips lived in Lindenow between Stratford and Bairnsdale, at Woodlands, and then at Oaklands (during at least 1872-74). From 1870 until her death in 1875, Rosa’s mother, Eleanor Minter, lived with them. Rosa’s younger sister Flora Minter (later Flora Gregson, see further below) painted Oaklands in 1872, at a time when she was living with Rosa and helping with the care of their mother.

By 1878 the Phillips had moved to Vellore, Denison, further to the west in north Gippsland, where their three youngest children were born. After 1884 they built Hilton, Denison, putting it up for sale in 1889 at the expiration of their lease, subsequently purchasing The Fulton at Bundalaguah near Sale (see below). The Fulton was a two-storied pre-fabricated iron house brought out from Scotland by Boyd Cunninghame in the 1850s in pieces and put together on site. In 1904 the Phillips let The Fulton, and retired to Malvern, a suburb of Melbourne, spending the next thirty years between there and their cottage at Lakes Entrance. The Phillips had six children, two of whom died during their adolescence.

The Fulton, Bundalaguah near Sale ca 1910. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

Along with her sister Ada Peck née Minter, Rosa had a holiday cottage at the New Works, Lakes Entrance (see above) which continued to be used by her children into the 1960s. Rosa Phillips took out the lease on Sea Shell in 1898, using it as a summer house. The lease was taken over by her daughter Louie who retained it until her death in 1968 – sadly, hit by a car in Lakes Entrance when crossing the road for her morning swim19. Rosa’s sister Flora was a frequent visitor to Sea Shell. Many of her watercolours, now in the State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection, are of scenes around Lakes Entrance. Novelist Mary Grant Bruce was another frequent visitor.

Phillips family in garden of Sea Shell ca 1910. Seated on chairs: Rosa Phillips née Minter, William Pitt Phillips; Standing: daughters Amy Phillips and Louie Phillips; grandchildren: Boyd Phillips (kneeling); and Grace Phillips (seated on ground in front), children of son William Edward (Ted) Phillips. (Source: Tim Kendall)

Lakes Entrance from “Sea Shell”, New Works. by Flora Gregson née Minter. 1923. Watercolour. (Source: State Library of Victoria)

At St Andrew’s Church, Brighton 27 May 1867, Michael Minter junior (1843-1897), the only surviving son of the family, married Emma Cuninghame (1845-1924), daughter of Robert Cuninghame of the Clydebank pastoral run near Sale20. Emma had grown up in the family of her uncle, Boyd Cunninghame, Robert’s older brother. Robert Cuninghame and Emma’s mother, Emma Lampard, were never married, and had no further children. Robert and Boyd were both younger sons of John Cuninghame, 13th Laird of Craigends, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Boyd Cunninghame and family moved from New South Wales to Gippsland around 1845, settling initially at Roseneath, and holding several runs briefly before building The Fulton at Bundalaguah just north of Sale around 1856. Following the death of her uncle Boyd in 1860 it is not known for how long Emma remained with her cousins at The Fulton. At the time of her marriage in 1867 she was resident in South Yarra, and her father was described as “Robert Cuninghame, Esq., of Melbourne”. Perhaps father and daughter lived together in Melbourne for a time. Her father was one of the witnesses at Emma’s marriage, and the following year, in 1868, Robert Cuninghame returned permanently to Scotland.

Michael and Emma had seven children, all born between 1868 and 1876 in the Melbourne area. In 1871 Michael was working for the Victoria Brewery in South Yarra. They lived in a bluestone building on Chapel Street, subsequently an IXL jam factory – known today as “The Jam Factory”.

Left: Emma Minter née Cuninghame n.d.; Right: Michael Minter Jnr n.d. (Source of both: Tim Kendall)

The family moved to Dhurringile Station, Murchison in northern Victoria in 1883 where Michael became station manager for the owner, James Winter.

Dhurringile in the 1880/90s (Source: Tim Kendall)

Michael bred stud merino rams, and evidently followed his father’s progressive agricultural style: “Irrigation brought immediate changes to the Shire of Rodney. Early farmers who had had water available to them had experimented with lucerne, sorghum and millet as fodder, while Minter of Dhurringile and Dr Heily of Rushworth were two who practised trench and pit ensilage of green forage crops.”21 Michael Minter was one of the initial Rodney Irrigation and Water Supply Trust Commissioners. The State Library of Victoria holds a photo of 'Minter Channel', presumably named after Michael. Michael became Chairman of the Trust in the mid 1890s, but it appears to have had significant financial problems during the poor economic circumstances of the time.

Left: Emma Minter n.d.; Right: Michael Minter Jnr n.d. (Source of both: Tim Kendall)

A tragic accident occurred in 1895 when Michael and Emma’s two younger sons accidentally drowned:“One of the youths [Jeffery Cuthbert Minter, aged 17] went into the water for a duck he had shot. He got out of his depth, and being unable to swim he sank. His brother Charles [aged 20] plunged in to his assistance, but was heavily weighted by leggings and shooting gear, and was unable to regain the bank. Both were drowned.”22

Michael died two years later in 1897, aged 53. Perhaps the accident and/or the tribulations of the Irrigation Trust contributed to his insomnia and ultimate death, as cited on his death certificate. The grave of all three in the Murchison cemetery is substantial (though now in poor condition, according to Meryl Stanton), indicating some prosperity. Electoral records suggest that Emma remained in northern Victoria in the farming household of her son Floyd Cunninghame Minter until at least 1919. Emma ultimately returned to Melbourne where she lived till her death in 1924 in South Yarra.

After the death of their father, Dr Michael Minter, the two youngest girls, Flora (1854-1933) and Ellen (Nell) (1856-1919), moved with their mother Eleanor Edmonds Minter into Geelong to be near Mrs Burn’s School for Young Ladies23. Subsequently, Eleanor moved to live with her daughter Rosa Phillips in Gippsland, while Flora and Ellen went to boarding school in Melbourne – first to Mrs Tripp’s at Jolimont, then to East Leigh on the corner of Williams Road and Malvern Road. This may have been around 1867 when their brother Michael and his new wife Emma lived nearby. Flora’s daughter, Nell Gregson, recorded that: “The Eastleigh boarders’ daily walks were sometimes to Mt Erica – High Street, Windsor – but they preferred going all the way to Malvern, right out in the bush. Flora and Ellen’s greatest treat was to visit their brother, Michael, and their kind sister-in-law, Emma, née Cunningham [sic], at South Yarra.”24 About 1869 these school days ended, and Flora moved to her sister Rosa’s in Gippsland to help look after their mother Eleanor whose health had failed. After Eleanor died in 1875, Flora boarded in Sale and studied painting with Mary Hedley (see above).

Flora and Ellen Minter, aged 20 and 18 years (Source: State Library of Victoria)

In 1879 Flora married William Harding Gregson (ca 1857-1926) in Sale. William was born in India, had travelled to England for his education, and in 1872 joined his family then in Australia. At the age of 17 William Gregson joined the Lands Department in Melbourne, being transferred to the Land Office in Sale about 1877. He had a strong interest in geology and made several collections of fossils. In 1879 he became Land Officer at Bairnsdale where he remained for eleven years, returning to Melbourne and becoming Chief Clerk of the Lands Department.

Flora had a lifelong interest in drawing and painting both in oils and watercolours, managing to paint even during the years when her five children were young. She became a noted painter of landscapes around the Gippsland lakes, Geelong and the Mornington peninsula. In 1954 her surviving children, Donald, Nell and Lynette, donated a set of some 100 of these to the State Library of Victoria, along with their father’s sketchbooks of early Gippsland. Her paintings are valuable and lively documents of the daily life she saw around her. They evidence her strong aesthetic interests, good eye for colour and decorative talent.

Left: Flora and William Gregson with two of their children, Bairnsdale n.d.;Right: Nell Minter n.d. (Source of both: Tim Kendall)

In 1879 the youngest Minter daughter, Ellen (Nell) (1856 – 1919), married career soldier Colonel Emanuel (Teddy) Otter (ca 1836 - 1920) in East Melbourne. The Otters lived in Melbourne, and had two daughters. Before arriving in Australia, Teddy had spent eight years with the Royal Marines as lieutenant, three with the Mediterranean fleet. After retiring from the Imperial service he came to Victoria around 1870, spending several years in mining pursuits in Gippsland – including at Coongulmerang, near Bairnsdale. Eventually he joined the Victorian Field Artillery as lieutenant, and was stationed at Queenscliff fort as captain for a period. In 1889 he took command of the Victorian Rangers. During the Boer War he went to South Africa in command of the Fifth Victorian Contingent of Mounted Rifles, seeing service in the Transvaal before being invalided home in 1901. Ellen died in 1919 of acute pneumonia; her husband died a year later.

Top: Wildflowers by Flora Gregson ca 1910; Middle: The Lady of the Lake trying to pull a Steamer off the Bar [Lakes Entrance], 1878 by Flora Gregson; Bottom: Bonang – The Oldest House in Gippsland by W.H. Gregson. (Source for all: State Library of Victoria).

1The Argus Feb 12, 1851.

2 Nell Gregson (1954) Notes on sketches by Mr W.H. Gregson and Mrs Gregson (née Flora Minter). State Library of Victoria. La Trobe Picture Collection. Provenance File.

3 Gregson op.cit.

4Eleanor’s sister Elizabeth was married to Michael’s brother Bartholomew.

5 Wynd, Ian (1992) Barrabool – Land of the Magpie. Torquay. Barrabool Shire.

6 Cuffley, P. (1989) Cottage Gardens in Australia Fitzroy, Melb. The Five Mile Press. pp.40-41.

7 Gregson op.cit.. The trip to Airey’s Inlet from Mount Moriac would have been some 25 miles (41 Kms) to the southwest. Airey’s Inlet is on the Surf Coast.

8 Shire of Barrabool (1965) 1865-1865 Centenary of the Proclamation of the Shire of Barrabool. p.11; “Black Thursday”, The Argus, Sat. 17 Jan 1857.

9In 1864 the Barrabool Road Board purchased 2 acres of Mill Road [Hendy Main Road] from Mrs Minter for 24 pounds to erect their own premises.

10 Listed under “Houses and Properties to Let” The Argus. 22 Feb, 1864

11Geelong Advertiser 25 April 1868; Geelong Advertiser Sat 20 May, 1871. Apply to C.J. Dennys & Co. Geelong; or to Michael Minter, Esq., Victoria Brewery, South Yarra.

12 In 1863 John Hensley had purchased the Tindale property, Ewerby Estate, which comprised the southern slope of Mount Moriac. With the purchase of the Minter’s property, Hensley consolidated the entire mount into a single ownership – a pattern which has continued to the present, with Len and June Champness, the current owners (who generously enabled us to visit the property in 2015). Dr Minter had purchased his original 640 acres at 1 pound per acre; later he added 47 acres purchased from the Hon. W.C. Haines at 12 pounds per acre. Geelong Advertiser 6 Oct 1875.

13“Thanks of the Hospital Committee be tendered to Michael Minter for his kind and very valuable gift of surgical instruments.” Gippsland Times 15 Oct 1867.

14 Mary King was the youngest daughter of Governor Philip Gidley King, and a sister of Phillip Parker King, father of John and Arthur Septimus King.

15 W.S. Oliver (1999) The Great White Father – The biography of a great Australian, Dr H.O. Lethbridge (1880-1944). Terranora, NSW. WS Oliver. pp.7-10. Dr H.O. Lethbridge was the eighth child of Ella and Robert Lethbridge of Forest Vale.

16 Oliver WS op.cit.

17 Oliver WS op.cit. p.15

18 “Old North Gippsland Identity Passes”, Gippsland Times, Thurs 20 Aug, 1936.

19 “The Lady of the Lakes is Killed” The Herald Mon May 6, 1968: “The people of Lakes Entrance knew her as the Lady of the Lakes. She was grey-haired and tall, but her grace had not receded with the years. She had never married. She was wealthy and never had to work.

And every morning about 7 o’clock 87 year old Miss Ella [Louie] Phillips left her home on the Esplanade, crossed the Princes Highway and swam to the strip of lake between the town and the ocean called the Cunningham Arm. Miss Phillips loved the sea. She owned a holiday cottage at Lakes Entrance which she called “Sea Shell”. Her happiest times were spent gardening, fishing in the lake and pottering around “Sea Shell”…

To Lakes Entrance people she was a familiar sight – always immaculately dressed, and always with a kind word. The daughter of a wealthy Sale family, she had travelled widely as a young woman. She always had something interesting to say…”

20 Boyd Cuninghame and Robert Thomson formed a partnership in 1835 emigrating to New South Wales and establishing a pastoral business in the Monaro. When the partnership was dissolved in 1842 Robert Thomson established a new partnership with Boyd’s younger brother Robert Cuninghame who had arrived in Sydney in 1838. This partnership continued until Robert Thomson’s death in 1863. Robert Thomson and Robert Cuninghame were amongst the first squatters to arrive in Gippsland in the early 1840s, establishing the station Clydebank and later Marley Point. Boyd followed them to Gippsland with his family around 1846, settling initially at Roseneath. He held several runs: Bindi briefly, Roseneath and Mosquito Point till 1849, Mt Deddick 1848 to 1850. Around 1856 he built The Fulton at Bundalaguah just north of Sale. Boyd began to spell the family surname as “Cunninghame”. As indicated earlier in this paper, Robert Thomson’s sister-in-law, Menie Campbell, married Michael’s cousin Floyd Minter Peck in Sale in 1860. See also the Cunninghame family letters 1835-1888 (transcribed 1993) held at the State Library of New South Wales; and Thomson, David (2000) The Thomson story: part 1 the Thomson family in Scotland from 1600AD: part 11 The Thomson family in Australia from 1835-1842 (to be continued). .

21Bossence, W.H. (1969) Tatura and the Shire of Rodney.

22The Argus, Jan. 2, 1895

23 Nell Gregson (1954): Notes on Sketches by Mr WH Gregson and Mrs Gregson (née Flora Minter), State Library of Victoria Picture Collection. Mrs Burn’s Ladies’ Select Boarding School was established at Olrig House, Fenwick Street, Geelong in 1863. Mrs Burn advertised in the Geelong Advertiser (Tue 13 October 1863) that she: “will receive young ladies to board and educate. The [Olrig] house is well suited for a Boarding-school being substantially built of bluestone and brick with large and lofty rooms, and the situation is one of the healthiest of Geelong. Mrs Burn has had lengthened and successful experience in educating young ladies, and will do everything in her power for the advancement of those pupils who may be entrusted to her care. Mrs Burn will be assisted by resident governesses and visiting masters.” Mrs Burn’s husband had been headmaster of The Gheringhap St. School nearby since 1856.

24 Nell Gregson (1954) op.cit. The school of Mrs Elizabeth Tripp and four daughters, “East Leigh”, is described in some detail in: Marjorie Theobald (1996): Knowing Women: Origins of Women’s Education in Nineteenth-Century Australia. Cambridge Univ. Press and Angus and Robertson pp.37-40. The school ran from 1859 to 1881. In 1861 it moved to the corner of Commercial [which becomes Malvern Rd] and Williams Roads, Prahran, in 1866 moving across the road to a two storey Georgian house set in 3 acres of garden.

Looking Back Now

Why did the first group emigrate on the ship Brothers to Port Phillip arriving in 1850? While we can’t be definitive, there is a strong case that a key impetus was seeking a healthier climate. TB – widespread in England at the time – had affected both the Minter and the Peck families – and two of the adult emigrants ultimately succumbed to the disease (Mary Anne King and James Peck), with two other adult emigrants likely to have been sufferers, although evidence is not conclusive (Ann Elizabeth Hedley and Michael Minter). “Bad health” was cited as the reason given by Michael Minter for emigrating. Although now discounted by medical science, in the mid nineteenth century there was a widespread belief that a long sea voyage and warmer climate was helpful to sufferers of TB and other debilitating conditions.

While this group emigrated prior to the gold rush, new opportunities and adventures may also have beckoned. As mentioned above, the colonies were actively promoted in England throughout the nineteenth century. The opportunities and advantages of Gippsland were well known to George Hedley through a newspaper article collected by his brother-in-law in the early 1840s. At this time at the end of the convict era, emigration was being vigorously promoted. The unexpected death in 1848 of Dr Robert James Peck, the father of the Peck siblings, created a change in family circumstances which may well have made it attractive for three of the siblings to leave England in 1849, being joined later by another. The family home in Newmarket, Suffolk, was auctioned in 1850 by their mother who chose to return to her native town of Folkestone, forming a new locus for most of those siblings who remained in England.

The eldest son, Ffloyd Peck, remained in Newmarket until 1858 ensuring his mother and siblings were well settled and handing the family medical practice on to a new partner. Then, with his family, he joined the first emigrants in Gippsland – a family reunion for both him and his wife. And in 1864 their cousin, Antoinette Gehle, married the then recently widowed brother-in-law, John King, in London prior to travelling to Gippsland.

What was the experience of the emigrants? And did they remain a close-knit group?

Many tragedies beset the group of emigrants over their lifetimes in Victoria, and there is evidence they pulled together and provided considerable mutual support. First was the death of Ann Elizabeth Hedley at the age of 31, four years after arriving – possibly already weakened and suffering dysentery. In 1859 Anna Maria Peck died unexpectedly at the age of 36 less than a year after emigrating – her death the result of birth complications; in 1863 Mary Anne King died of TB at the age of 39; and 1864 within a month of each other, Ffloyd Peck aged 43 died unexpectedly of septacaemia following an autopsy, and Michael Minter aged 57 of general debility. By 1864, five of the ten adult emigrants had died at a relatively young age. And in 1871 Edward Hedley, who emigrated as a child, died tragically at the age of 23 of burns in an accident at a Stockyard Creek[now Foster] hotel.

Response to these tragedies appears to have drawn the group together, with much mutual support provided. Following Ffloyd Peck’s death, George Hedley and family moved to Sale to take over Ffloyd’s medical practice, also living close by his family. Following the death of Michael Minter in Mount Moriac, sons-in-law James Peck and Robert Copland Lethbridge helped manage the property until it was let and subsequently sold. The entire Minter family then moved to Gippsland, close to their Peck cousins. In later life, Ada Peck and Mary Hedley, both widowed, lived together in Sale once their families had grown up and moved – indicating an enduring friendship.

Family ties were also strengthened through marriages within the network. George Hedley, Ffloyd Peck and John King, widowed with young families, all remarried within a couple of years – two from within the family network. James Peck married his cousin Ada Minter, both emigrants together on the Brothers.

The three older men amongst the emigrants were all established medical doctors with qualifications completed in England. James Peck, arriving at the age of 17, moved into pastoralism, beginning his working life at Snake Ridge after his sister, Mary Anne Peck married John King in 1853. Mary Anne brought a network of people to Snake Ridge. Besides her brother James, a friend from Newmarket, William Phillips, gained employ on Snake Ridge (later marrying Rosa Minter), and Mary Anne’s cousin Antoinette Gehle was to become the second Mrs King. The husbands of the three eldest Minter girls were all associated with Snake Ridge in the 1850s/ 60s.

While Michael Minter established a medical practice in Mount Moriac, he also had a strong agricultural focus, with two vineyards beside pastoral activities on his 640 acre property. He, and later his son, both made a mark by engaging in and advocating innovative practices in agriculture. The Minters established a fine garden around their home at Mount Moriac. During their years in Tarraville, the Hedleys purchased five acres nearby, where George grew and exhibited vegetables, grapes and orchard fruit. He actively promoted the development of farmers clubs and an agricultural association.

Little detail has come down about the women emigrants. They were obviously well educated and capable. Ada Peck, Mary Hedley and Flora Gregson were all accomplished artists. Anna Maria Peck’s lively letter and Anna Josepha King’s recording of her father’s stories showed literary talents. Mary Hedley had a long career in teaching and running a small private boarding school; Menie Peck established and ran a successful boarding house. Ella Lethbridge and Annie Chomley both became respected matriarchs on large pastoral stations. These women proved themselves resourceful and able – qualities needed in good measure in a new and raw settlement.

Those who emigrated as adults remained a tight knit, mutually supportive group. Those who emigrated as children in the main settled in Gippsland, a few in other parts of Victoria; one eventually in Queensland; one returned to England following the death of her husband. Not enough is known of their later lives to know how close their ties to each other remained.

The declining fortunes of Gippsland towards the end of the nineteenth century were doubtless a factor– the first generation of those born in Victoria have moved further afield (inter-state, New Zealand, United States), but only only two returned to England. Thus, for those who emigrated in the 1850s/60s it proved a definitive move. The adults of the original group remained close knit and mutually supportive, with ties lessening across the group within a generation or two.

What sort of people were they? Those who emigrated were from an educated background, from families in the medical profession. Spouses were also well educated. While those medically qualified continued to practice once in Victoria, they also became actively engaged in community building and public office in the newly established colony, taking on positions among them such as member of parliament, public vaccinator, justice of the peace, chairman of the Roads Board, and chairing committees to (successfully) establish a public hospital and gain municipal status for a township. They appear to have been active members of the Anglican church community, as well as benefactors to several parishes. And an entrepreneurial streak is evident in George Hedley’s various mining ventures, in John King’s pastoral enterprises, in James Peck’s stock and station business, and in Menie Peck’s boarding house.

APPENDIX 1Australia, And The Comparative Merits of Some Of Her Provinces - Extract of article from The Morning Post, 27 August, 1842.

(from a Correspondent)

We have been favoured with the perusal of a letter written by a gentleman who has lately traversed some of this now debatable ground, on the various comparative advantages and demerits of the Sydney, Port Phillip, and Gipps’ Land districts, with a glance at Moreton Bay; and as information, unbiased, disinterested, and useful on the subject of the Australian colonies is unfortunately as rare as the converse has been but too overwhelmingly abundant, we think that we cannot do better than place the following extract before such of our readers as may find an interest in these modern leviathans of the antipodes: -

Sydney, March 30, 1842.

.. We now arrive at the last, and by far the most important district, which has yet been discovered in New Holland - I mean Gipps’ Land. The only unfortunate thing about it is its name. This noble territory extends from Cape Howe to Corner Inlet, and runs back nearly 100 miles to the Australian Alps. The soil is for the most part a chocolate loam, of an alluvial character, entirely free from even the smallest stones, gently undulating, lightly timbered, fertile to excess, yet sound enough for sheep. It is watered by many large and deep rivers, with numerous smaller streams, which, having their sources in the lofty Alps, and being fed by the never failing moisture of dissolving snows, are not, as is too often the case in other parts of Australia, mere beds of shingle, showing the occasional rush of devastating torrents. In the possession of this very important feature, a central spine, or back-bone, of stupendous elevation, Gipps’ Land, it will be observed, differs most essentially and remarkably from every other known portion of New Holland, where, in general, nature seems to have stopped prematurely short in the laborious process of up-heaval, and where the want of ranges of sufficient elevation to precipitate moisture, has cursed the country with eternal barrenness.

Count Streleskey’s [sic] observations make the altitude of Gipps’ Land chain vary between eight and ten thousand feet, snow lying on the summits during summer, while in no other part of this vast continent is there any known mountain range of one-half the height. These mountains are also, from their great elevations, quite near enough the coast to precipitate the moisture from the ocean, yet sufficiently removed to attract and draw its vapours over an extensive line of fruitful country. There is yet another, and by no means the least advantage, which the noble mountain crescent gives to the fair and wide-spread plains, that lie, as it were, sheltered in its majestic bosom and half encircled in its stupendous arms, it guards them thoroughly and effectually from the withering hot winds that, sweeping from the vast interior wilds, is as baneful as the simoon of the Arabian desert.

The numerous fine rivers from the mountains, after crossing through, and of course well watering, the extensive alluvial plains before alluded to, empty themselves into a noble fresh water lake, about thirty miles long by about ten miles wide. This fine expanse of water, with its many tributary streams, some of them navigable for miles, is fortunately in the centre of the most valuable land, and will be a means of conveying produce to within fifteen or twenty miles of Port Albert, or as it is more often, but erroneously, called, Corner Inlet, which harbour, though inferior to that of Sydney or Hobart Town, is second to none other in this part of Australia, Port Phillip not excepted. Taking into consideration all three elements of future greatness and prosperity, and speaking in a spirit of the strictest and most sober truth, I can safely affirm that there has not yet been discovered any portion of Australia so calculated to ensure a certain and large profit to the industrious agriculturist of moderate capital as Gipps’ Land, and one, at the same time, so congenial in climate and so peculiarly suited to habits and feelings of Englishmen.

The plains, by which I mean land naturally clear of timber, are numerous, yet not too extensive, well sheltered by the many river belts of noble trees, said by those who are judges of colonial timber, to be of the most valuable description for splitting and sawing, and to use the words of an old settler, who has seen all parts of the colony, "there are tens of thousands of acres in which a ploughshare might be driven for miles through the finest vegetable mould the world ever saw, without the possibility of striking against a stick or a stone." Such is Gipps’ Land, and what a country to have lain so long undiscovered, and unproductive to man! This tardy discovery is the more extraordinary, when we consider its central position, between the ports of Sydney, Hobart Town, Launceston, and Port Phillip; and it certainly does not add much to the credit of the late Home Government, that the interior of this valuable province should have been first explored by a wandering foreigner, and its harbour discovered and made available by the enterprise, and at the expense of a few stirring Port Phillipians, (who, by the bye, as a reward and as an incentive to future exertion) have since been ousted from the land they honestly bought and paid for in the neighbourhood of Port Albert.

In a week or two I am off by sea to Port Albert with supplies, to meet the overland expedition, which I some time ago dispatched with seven thousand sheep, and when I get settled in this Land of Canaan I will write again.’

APPENDIX 2 – Stories told by John King

As told by his daughter, Anna Josepha King. Written in pencil, manuscript held at State Library of Victoria in the King family papers. Transcribed by Helen Connell, December 2011. Extracts:

This is not intended as a story of my Father’s life, but some of the stories which he has told us of his own experiences which I think will show his grandchildren what manner of man he was.

His grandfather, Philip Gidley King, a naval lieutenant of Cornish family, who had been before in Australian waters, was appointed Commandant at Norfolk Island, then a penal settlement, and the story is told that when packing for his long journey, being assisted by his cousin Anna Josepha, he mentioned the fact that the authorities had suggested it would be better if he were a married man; the mention of this seems to have at once suggested to him that his cousin might possibly share his life’s work as she was then sharing his present occupation, he proposed to her, was accepted and she went with him to Norfolk Island where their son Philip Parker was born, the first white child born on the Island.

In [blank space for date] Capt Philip Gidley King was appointed governor of New South Wales, and his son Philip Parker King followed his father’s footsteps in joining the navy. Governor King had three daughters besides this son; they each became afterwards Mrs Macarthur, Runciman, & Lethbridge. Capt. Philip Parker King married a Miss Lethbridge of Launceston, Cornwall, so brother and sister married brother and sister; they had seven sons and one daughter: Philip Gidley; John, your grandfather; William Essington; Charles Macarthur, Frederic, Robert Lethbridge, Arthur Septimus, and Elizabeth, who married in England, Mr Herman Prior.

Your grandfather John King was born at Parramatta near Sydney on Jan 9th and was taken to England when very small, I think 3 years old. His parents left him there for his education with his uncle and godfather, John Lethbridge of Tregeare, Launceston, Cornwall. For some time he went to school in Launceston spending his holidays at Tregeare and the story he told of this time shows some pluck and energy for a child of 7 years old. He had gone to Tregeare for his holidays and when in the afternoon he discovered having left a precious treasure, a bag of marbles, at school, so without saying anything to anyone he walked back to Launceston, about 7 miles to get there. After a while Master John was missing causing a great deal of anxiety to his delicate Aunt (née Miss Baron) and when he at length having walked the whole way, the tired little boy was met with a punishment hardly merited. From Launceston he went to a school in Greenwich spending his holidays at his Grandmother’s house in London. This school he afterwards visited when with his family he was in England from 1862 to late in 1864 and found the same school master there. One of his amusements in this London house was running up to the top of the house, very likely 3 storeys and from there sliding down the fire escape, a long narrow canvass bag which hung outside, and I can remember him describing the hesitation to “let go” and the sort of thrill which the last part of the run gave. It must have been at this time that an incident happened in which his elder brother and father took part. His father’s ship was home in England and John and Philip, then a midshipman in the Royal Navy were in London on their own and wanting to find some particular place, were standing together at a corner of a street studying a map of London when someone came up and looked over their shoulders, it was their father; he must have been amused.

When John was about 13 his grandmother made up her mind to come and live in Australia; her husband Governor King died in England and is buried at Tooting; she brought her grandson out with her and I fancy his school education ended then; for there were many boys to educate and schools were not plentiful in Australia at that date; your grandfather, John King always spoke of his grandmother with great affection and respect, she must have been a woman of strong character; only one thing I remember his telling about the voyage was that after leaving England she began to make a net like a fishing net and stopping at a port which I think must have been somewhere in the Canaries bought a quantity of oranges and fastening the net to the ceiling of the cabin filled it with the oranges. Those were not the days when ships carried fresh meat and vegetables. There is not much to record of the next few years when John King led with his brothers a country life in Australia, native cat hunting, riding came into their pastimes as will be shown from small incidents; one smaller brother being set on an old horse to take messages, the old stager used quietly to reach his head out till he had dragged the reins out of the lad’s hands, when he would turn round and carry his unwilling and helpless rider home. During some part of his residence in N.S.W. your grandfather learnt boat sailing, whether in Sydney Harbour or the coast farther north is not known; but he used to relate how on one occasion sailing a small boat and beating against the wind, time after time she “missed stays” (?) or would not go about, and at last accidentaly (sic) found that by stepping forward his weight in the bows made the difference and she payed off; on reaching home he found his father had been waching (sic) his endeavours with a glass from the shore.

It will be remembered that the convict system was in force in N.S.W. at this time and many of the labourers farm hands were convicts. Some of those of course were law abiding people sent out in those days for a trivial, perhaps a political, offence; but some were notoriously desperate characters; and in many cases these took to a life of lawlessness and became bushrangers. At the age of 17 John King was sent up the country to manage a farm of his father’s. It was here that his encounter with the notorious Jackie Jackie took place. John King was sitting one day near his hut when a big partially intoxicated man appeared at the door and demanded a horse, which request was naturally refused at first, till the information that he was Jackie and armed was grasped. There was no help for it so your grandfather had to get his horses and supply the miscreant; but after he was mounted got his own horse and followed at a little distance; presently the tipsy bushranger fell off; this was the opportunity and first driving the horses away John King rode off for the police and the man was taken; it was found that he had just come from murdering an old man, by pelting him with empty bottle on a drunken bout. A short time after however Jackie escaped and then for some weeks your grandfather’s life was in danger, for the bushranger kept sending him messages that he was coming to shoot him; a nice situation for a lad of 17; for it must be remembered that many of the servants of those days were convicts and perhaps sympathisers with the bushrangers; for six weeks John King was never far away from his loaded gun; he kept one at each end of the furrow when ploughing. However at the end of that time the bushranger was retaken and in due course hanged.

While in N.S. Wales John lived for some time where Lake George is now, and has often told how he used to ride over it realizing then that at one time it must have been full of water. Some 25 or 30 years after when in Gippsland he met a young man who came over from Lake George district with cattle and mentioning that he had often ridden over the bed of the Lake, the young fellow could not believe it; he knew it as a lake about 18 miles long with fish and a cream launch on it. The photos in the Mairburn hall were taken by the Sydney Observatory authorities and given to your grandfather in return for information about Lake George as he knew it, somewhere about 1840.

About this time the great two years drought occurred in N.S. Wales; grass and even grain were very scarce and dear, people were looking for new country where there was grass for their stock; and on account of Mr Holt of Sydney John King made his first journey across the border of N.S. Wales into Victoria and down into Gippsland, then an almost unknown country. Angus Macmillan was the first to discover which was separated from N.S.W. by a chain of mountains and Melbourne by a dense forest; from one of these mts could be seen a fertile country well watered open forest land & plain, and into this country one year in the forties came John King with a carpenter and black boy, the former to build him a hut, the latter as general factotum. This same black boy used to climb a tree in the evenings and when asked what for, said “To see the warrigals (black fellows) fires”; there is no doubt they would have been his enemies, and yet he was more stable than the white carpenter, who after about 6 weeks came to his master and said he could not stay longer, he was too frightened to work for fear of the blacks, and back to N.S.W. he went leaving J. K. alone in the bush with his aborigine companion.

I think the first settlement was at Fulham now called Rayshaw, which at that time they called Barney’s Plains; then Snakes Ridge was taken up as a squattage and comprised The Ridge proper, Nambrok, “Old Rosedale” (now Toongabbie) and Sydney Cottage. Part time he was the managing partner with Mr John Reeve, a Londoner, and part time managed for a syndicate in Sydney; Messrs Mort, Lucas Tooth, Croft. In 1866 the property was divided and John King buying the part of the ridge near Bald Hill and extending across the plain to Heyfield and Denison.

He married Mary Anne Peck, sister of Mrs Hedley of Port Albert and Dr Ffloyd Peck of Sale; she died in England in 1863. And in /64 he married again Antoinette Stratinus Gehle, daughter of Dr Gehle, pastor of the Dutch Church, Austin Friars, City of London. On first taking up land, sheep were the main flock but after some years experience, the losses were so large through footrot that they were exchanged for cattle, which for many years were sent to Tasmania via Port Albert; being waded on to small schooners; John King built the first yards at the Port to receive the cattle. For some years, in fact till the railway came, most heavy goods came by ship to Port Albert; later there was a passenger steamer through the Lakes Entrance, but until the completion of the present entrance according to Sir John Coode, and plan the natural entrance, further east was sometimes silted up for weeks. A few buggies were driven over the Melbourne track, it could hardly be called a road in those days, but the coach was with Cobb & Co., coaches was begun about 1875 or 76. It left Bourke St at one o’clock and arrived in Sale the next day at varying times according to the state of the roads; sometimes 12 in winter, three or four hours later. The worst stages of the road were traversed at night, all about Warragul and Drouin it was a track through red mud up to the axles with a dense wall of scrub on either side, and often the passengers would have to walk with one of the coach lamps while the coach ploughed alongside. When gold was carried there was an escort of police and one had to apply to the banker in charge to travel with the escort; also they stopped at night on the road. John King was the first member of Parliament for Gippsland in the Legislative Assembly; he was also the first J.P. to sit on the bench with a P.M. who came from Melbourne to hold a court at P. Albert. Riding 50 miles through the bush with a friend at the request of the magistrate on coming into view of the court house he said that gentleman waiting impatiently outside and was greeted with the rem “You are 5 min late”. Gentlemen. He took a great interest in the affairs of Rosedale and was a member of the Shire Council from /75 till leaving the district about /84, and was President in /77. The Anglican Church of St Mark was the work of himself and his brother.


John King was born at Parramatta in 1820; his father a Capt in the Navy, his Grandfather first Governor of Norfolk Island, later the third Governor of N.S.W. He was educated first in Launceston Cornwall near his maternal uncle’s home Mr John Lethbridge, and later at Greenwich. Coming back to Australia when about 14 or 15, at the age of 17 he was in charge of a farm of his father’s. About 1842 during a bad drought in N.S.W. he came to Gippsland and eventually settled at the Ridge near Rosedale (Snakes Ridge). He was the managing partner of a firm comprising Mr Thos. Holt, Mr Croft and Mr Lucas Tooth of Sydney. Mr John Reeve later of Wimbledon, London, was part owner. In 1866 the property was divided, Mr King retaining what is now know as Nambrok (aboriginal for big plain). About 1852 he married Miss Mary Anne Peck sister of Dr Peck of Sale and the first Mrs Hedley of Port Albert. She died in 1863, and later Mr King married Miss Antoinette Gehle, a daughter of Dr Gehle, the pastor of the Lutheran Church of Austin Friars, London. There were 5 children, two sons and three daughters. Mr King was a pastoralist and always took a great interest in his country’s affairs, and was Gippsland’s first representative in Parliament. In the 50s cattle were shipped by schooner from Port Albert to Tasmania, and he built the first yards at the Port. He with others helped to provide Sale with its first Church and was one of the first guardians. In Rosedale later Mr King was for many years in the Shire Council and was the prime mover in building the Anglican Church there. About 1885, the heavy tax on landed property induced him to sell the Station, and he with his family retired to Metung on the Gippsland Lakes. Here he amused himself with an extensive garden and yachting, doubtless an inherited taste. His eldest son Philip Gidley married Octavia Dawson of Rosedale and the second one John Henry married Miss Rachel Thompson.

APPENDIX 3 – Letter from Anna Maria Peck née Robertson to her mother describing the journey from Tarraville to Sale dated 4th November, 1858- extracts

But I must tell you something of our journey and arrival. Dear – was most anxious about us and our journey, especially so when she found that we and our belongings would not arrive at the same time. She and Dr Hedley both wished us to remain another week and send our bedding and other things to await us, but we had packed and made up our minds to start, and so with provision of sandwiches, fresh eggs and a bundle of rhubarb, we breakfasted at six o’clock on Saturday morning and walked to Tarraville Hotel where the American coach was to pick us up at seven o’clock.

It is an open conveyance with black waterproof on top and curtains let down and very strong springs, and holds twelve people three on each seat. A friend and neighbour of F—s, W. Lightfoot, to whom I had been introduced the previous day, packed us in, I and the four children occupying the back seat, which had the leather curtains fastened around – Ann being there before us.

The roads were worse than driving over ploughed fields; in one part we were jerked rapidly over the trunks of trees laid close together to mend the road, which led through the bush or forest, and when one track becomes too much cut up they make another winding in and out the trees most wonderfully.

Every now and then one expected to stick fast in the mud, but Laura and Jenny, Dick and Sulky were each in turn, or all at once called upon to “get up”, and we went on without accident or misadventure until we reached the first stage fourteen miles off Tarraville, where the horses were rested.

We alighted and had some tea with some of the sandwiches. Poor A- had been very sick the last few miles, but her seat was outside and she managed to be no trouble.

Bruthen’s Creek, where we stopped, is a pretty trickling waterfall, a great pleasure to us all; the children found quantities of wild clematis and wreathed it about their hats and had no lack of amusement the two hours we stopped there.

The next stage was a long one, and was to end the day. It is called the Traveller’s Rest, and is twenty-two miles from the last stage, where Mrs – had given me a bottle of milk for the children.

An exclamation drew my attention to the fact that a bullock dray seemed stuck in a creek before, and I was rather startled to find that we had to drive down one steep bank and through the creek and up another. But it was so, and it seemed done so easily, and the horses were so beautifully managed, that after that I thought no more of passing a creek than of driving close to the trees.

After passing the creek we came upon a most lovely little clearing, and there stopped to have a picnic dinner. W. Lightfoot having a box with a leg of mutton, bread, butter, water, brandy.

After this came a succession of creeks. We were getting very tired of the jolting and shaking, but the later part of the way was lovely with shrubs and flowers in bloom; shrubs having white blossoms, flowers of all hues, blue, pink, yellow, deep orange, lilac and red. I was very glad on arriving at the rest, rooms ready for us and a cheerful fire…

The part of the hotel!!!! we occupied was recently built, and was like a cottage with a verandah in front covered with roses… A very pretty garden which sloped down to Merriman’s Creek by name, and the flowers were looking lovely. The roses in full bloom and sweet peas out and cactuses coming into bloom and vegetables in a forward state…

We started again before eight in the morning and in due time reached Hill Top, a large Inn, where the horses rested previous to crossing the morass which is the great difficulty in the journey. A bridge begins the way, but we stuck fast as the first plunge into the morass, and after a few ineffectual efforts to drag the vehicle out from which most of the passengers had alighted, there was only one horse that would attempt to pull.

One of the leaders lay down and was with difficulty induced to get up, and the two shaft horses trembled violently, and could neither be led or driven to pull. At last they made one more fruitless effort, and the leader again lay down, and one of the shaft horses also.

Some bullock drays were passing, and four bullocks were detached to drag us out; but it was grievous to see how the poor horses had to be flogged to make them rise and get out of the way. Ffloyd had arrived on horseback to meet us, having learnt at Sale, where he had ridden to church that we were on the road up…

A number of people on horseback had assembled, and many assisted but the four bullocks soon settled the matter and dragged us in a very short space through the worst part, and now one more difficulty remained which was the Punt Lane.

There was a long consultation how some dreadfully wet place was to be crossed. At last we drove completely into the water and went along satisfactorily until we came to the root of a tree which caught one wheel.

Two gentlemen were riding through to point the best way, and at last the horses managed to get the wheel over the root and then we were soon through the water and all difficulties were over, and we rattled into Sale at a great pace, and drove to the principal Inn, disturbing the congregations assembled for church. ..

Mutton is scarcer than beef and dearer: 6d per of, beef 4d.

Flour is the dearest thing 4d per lb.

Source: O.S. Green (1979) Sale, the Early Years and Later. Sale, Vic. Southern Newspapers. pp.25-26.

APPENDIX 4 -Life of Michael Minter (1807–1864) of Folkestone

[The following text, originally written in Latin by Michael Minter, was translated by a Dr Neild1. My mother, Margaret Connell née Peck, said a copy of this translation was found in a family house in Lakes Entrance in the 1940s. This would mean at either Sea Shell or The Crib, the holiday houses at the New Works of Rosa Phillips née Minter and Ada Peck née Minter respectively. Other copies of the translation may exist with further family members.]

I was born on the 12th day of January in the year 1807 at Flushing [Vlissingen], a city of Holland, my parents being English, who for several years resided in Batavia [Latin name for the Low Countries]. Like my parents, I was a member of the Anglican church. When I arrived at the age at which boys begin to learn the rudiments, I had a German master appointed to teach me, but I cannot say that he taught me more than to read and spell a little, for when, afterward quite a little boy, I came with my parents to England and was placed in a public school, the recollection even of that later time has nearly passed from my mind. The public school was in St. Margaret’s parish not far from Dover2. There during two years, under properly qualified masters I was taught the English language and the rudiments of Latin with other subjects. But at this school they taught only the elements of education, my parents determined that I should not remain there any longer, so they placed me under the care of a very learned man, who then kept a private academy at Newmarket in the county of Cambridge3. Under this gentleman, during two years I was trained in the Greek and Latin tongues, but desiring still to better things in those subjects I went to a little town in Kent named Elham, where there was a clergyman, a most accomplished man and a perfect master of ancient literature who perfected me in its knowledge4. If I know anything of classics it is to him I am indebted for the knowledge, for he applied himself in the process of instruction both with learning and diligence.

But having reached my sixteenth year I considered that I should hesitate no longer in making choice of a profession. Since I was a boy I had always had an inclination in the direction of medicine and to this study, therefore I now devoted myself with all possible assiduity. My parents favoured my wishes and as is the custom in England, I was, in 1822, bound apprentice to Dr. Peck, a very able man who practiced in the neighbourhood of Newmarket. Two years afterwards in order that I might study the pharmacopoeia properly I was received as a pupil at the Surrey dispensary. Subsequently I joined the classes at St. Thomas’ Hospital where I studied anatomy and afterwards Obstetrics, chemistry and medicine in Guy’s Hospital studying variously in either hospital under teachers whose names I am proud to mention, namely Cooper, Key, Morgan, Green, South, Blundell, Bostock, Bright, and Row, all of whom I need hardly say are illustrious in the annals of medicine ---

Afterwards having returned to Newmarket I was assistant to Mr. Peck for a while. Then I again went to London and studied Botany, Chemistry, Anatomy, Surgery and Obstetrics until 1827, when I went up for my examination and passed. I was now legally entitled to practice my profession, but nevertheless for some time I acted as dresser in Guy’s Hospital. Everything that I said is true and I have not for the sake of embellishing this narrative introduced any of the flattering testimonials I received from the illustrious medical men under whom I studied.

In June 1829 I began to practice in Whitstable in the county of Kent5, but although I was glad to find myself succeeding, in 1837 I left that place and again repaired to London where I practiced for eighteen months. Folkestone in Kent was my next place of residence and here up to this time I have exercised my art, enjoying the confidence and respect of my patients.

Written at Folkestone on the 20th day of January 1845.

Signed: Michael Minter

APPENDIX 5 – The Hedley/ Peck/ Minter Emigrants – two generations

George Dixon HEDLEY b. Abt 1817, Camberwell, London; c. 9 Jul 1817, St Giles Church, Camberwell; d. 14 Mar 1879, Cuninghame Street, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

George m(1).
Ann Elizabeth Hawes PECK 22 Sep 1842, St Mary's Church, Newmarket, Suffolk. Ann (daughter of Robert James PECK and Sarah Minter) b. 11 Nov 1822, St Mary Newmarket, Suffolk; c. 15 Jan 1823, St Mary Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 26 Jun 1854, Tarraville, Victoria, Australia.


Agatha Mary HEDLEY b. Bef 25 Jan 1844, Bedford, Bedfordshire; c. 25 Jan 1844, St Peter's Church, Bedford, Bedfordshire; d. 6 May 1922, Pinjarra, Western Australia, Australia.

Agatha m.
Alexander SMITH 18 Apr 1865, Christ Church, Tarraville, Victoria, Australia. Alexander (son of John Davison SMITH and Caroline Birch GRAY) b. 12 Apr 1838, Norwood, London; c. 23 May 1838, St Luke, Norwood, London; d. 23 Jan 1918, Bankside, Waroona, West Australia.

George Robert HEDLEY b. Bef 29 May 1847, Bedford, Bedfordshire; c. 29 May 1847, St Peter's Church, Bedford, Bedfordshire

Edward HEDLEY b. Bef 12 May 1848, Bedford, Bedfordshire; c. 12 May 1848, St Peter's Church, Bedford, Bedfordshire; d. 1871, Stockyard Creek (Foster), Victoria, Australia.

Emily Ann HEDLEY b. Bef 8 Oct 1849, Bedford, Bedfordshire; c. 8 Oct 1849, St Peter's Church, Bedford, Bedfordshire; d. Bef 1854, Tarraville, Victoria, Australia.

James King HEDLEY b. 1852, Tarraville, Victoria, Australia; d. 1922, Monthey, Switzerland; bur. Montreux, Switzerland.

James (known as King) m(1).
Lizzie McMARTIN 9 May 1880, Eureka, Eureka County, Nevada, USA. Lizzie (daughter of Alex McMARTIN and Kate UNKNOWN) b. Abt 1860, California, USA

James m(2). Eleanor RODGERS 6 Jun 1884, Church of the Transfiguration, New York City, USA. Eleanor (daughter of James Rodgers, Esq. of Birmingham, England and Catharine Rand) d. 2 Jul 1918, New York, USA.

James m(3).
Mary Harris EDMONDS 8 Nov 1902, Christ Church, Streatham, London. Mary (daughter of John EDMONDS) b. Jun 1859, St James, London; d. 11 Jul 1946, Newquay, Cornwall.

William Arthur HEDLEY b. 1853, Tarraville, Victoria, Australia; d. 8 Mar 1854, Tarraville, Victoria, Australia.

George m(2).
Mary Briarly ROBERTSON 8 Jan 1856, Prahran, Victoria, Australia. Mary (daughter of Charles John Robertson and Mary née Briarly) b. 31 Mar 1815, Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire; d. 14 Jan 1890, Sale, Victoria, Australia.


Charles Dixon HEDLEY b. 1857, Tarraville, Victoria, Australia; d. 1899, Grafton, NSW, Australia.

Charles m.
Jane A CREER, Grafton, NSW (Known as Jennie. Daughter of Edward Creer, Esq. of Grafton).


John KING b. 9 Jan 1820, Parramatta, NSW, Australia; d. 24 Jan 1895, Chislehurst, Hawksburn, Australia.

John m(1).
Mary Anne PECK 20 Jan 1853, Rosedale, Victoria, Australia. Mary Anne (daughter of Robert James PECK and Sarah Minter) b. 9 Apr 1824, St Mary Newmarket, Suffolk; c. 2 Jun 1824, St Mary Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 22 Aug 1863, 4 Lansdowne Place, Plymouth, Devon.


Philip Gidley KING b. 9 Dec 1853, Snake's Ridge, Rosedale, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia; d. 1931, Australia.

Philip m.
Octavia Charlotte DAWSON

Anna Josepha KING b. 1856, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. Apr 1943, Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.

Mary KING b. 5 Feb 1858, Snake's Ridge, Rosedale, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia; d. 1 Jul 1858, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Robert Essington KING) b. 28 Aug 1859, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 2 Mar 1860, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Menie Agatha KING b. 1860, Victoria, Australia; d. Oct 1941, Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.

John m(2).
Antoinette Stratenus GEHLE 27 Oct 1864, St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington, London, England. Antoinette (daughter of Rev. Henrik GEHLE and Anne Minter) b. Jun 1845, Highgate, London; d. 26 Aug 1925, Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.


John Henry KING b. 14 Oct 1865, Nambrok, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia; d. Jan 1957, Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.

John m.
Rachel THOMPSON, died 1947.

Margaret Antoinette KING b. 1866, Nambrok, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia; d. 1887, Royal Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


James PECK b. 29 Jun 1833, Newmarket, Suffolk; c. 13 Jul 1833, St Mary Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 17 Sep 1884, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

James m.
Ada Minter 22 Mar 1864, Trinity Church, Barrabool Hills, Victoria, Australia. Ada (daughter of Michael Minter and Eleanor Edmonds JEFFERY) b. 12 Jul 1846, Cheriton, Kent; c. 27 Sep 1846, Folkestone, St Mary and St Eanswyth, Kent; d. 12 Jun 1918, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; bur. Sale Cemetery, Sale, Victoria, Australia.


Sarah Eleanor PECK b. 8 Oct 1865, Nambrok, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia; d. 6 Jan 1866, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

James Floyd PECK b. 28 Apr 1867, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 27 Aug 1869, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Ada Marie "Menie" PECK b. 2 Oct 1868, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 20 Jan 1869, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Robert Ffloyd Minter PECK b. 9 Sep 1870, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 22 Nov 1887, Forest-Vale, Queensland, Australia.

James Arthur PECK b. 1 Jan 1873, Bowarett, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 19 Aug 1944, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

James m.
Ada Mary LLOYD 14 Apr 1909, St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia. Ada (daughter of Thomas Lloyd and Grace née Jack) b. 18 Aug 1872, Stratford, Victoria, Australia; d. 20 Aug 1953, Mosman, New South Wales, Australia.

Martha Woutrina "Mena" PECK b. 1 Apr 1874, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 1966, Croydon, Victoria, Australia.

Martha, known as Mena, m.
Francis Ernest HORNIDGE in 1894

Tom Oswald PECK b. 22 Jul 1876, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 24 Aug 1950, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Tom m.
Isabella GILLOM 25 Jan 1905, Puriri, New Zealand. Isabella d. 9 Jul 1944.

Hubert Octavius "Octy" PECK b. 22 Feb 1880, Bowarett, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 22 Apr 1952, Gunnedah, NSW, Australia.

Hubert m. 22 June 1910 Melbourne.
Kate Gertrude "Kit" COX Kate b. 20 Oct 1888, Yerong Creek, NSW, Australia; d. 20 Jun 1960, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Ella Gwendoline PECK b. 9 Jun 1881, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 8 Oct 1949, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Emily Irene Ada PECK b. 20 Oct 1882, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 16 Feb 1934, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Emily, known as Irene or Rene, m.
Arthur Herbert NETHERCOTE 1905, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. Arthur b. 1880, Moe, Victoria, Australia; d. 1905, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Flora Sybella Clay PECK b. 17 Nov 1883, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. Dec 1971, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Flora, known as Ila, m.
Thomas Anketell BLAIR 18 Jun 1913, Australia. Thomas d. 12 Aug 1973, Australia.


Ffloyd Minter PECK b. 20 Apr 1820, Newmarket, Suffolk; c. 26 Aug 1820, St Mary Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 7 Jan 1864, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Ffloyd m(1).
Anna Maria ROBERTSON 17 Mar 1847, Episcopal District Chapel of St Peter, Hammersmith, London. Anna (daughter of Charles John Robertson (1779-1834) and Mary née Briarly) b. 2 Dec 1823, Eton, Buckinghamshire; d. 1 May 1859, Grassdale, Sale, Victoria, Australia.


Mary PECK b. 28 Jan 1848, Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 30 Apr 1929, East St Kilda, Victoria, Australia.

Annie PECK b. 23 Dec 1850, Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 1929, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.

Annie m.
George Hanna CHOMLEY 27 Apr 1870, Sale, Victoria, Australia. George (son of Rev Francis Chomley of Wicklow, Ireland) b. Abt 1838, Ireland; d. 1921, Clare, South Australia, Australia.

Alice Henrietta PECK b. 27 Dec 1851, Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 1 Sep 1927, Hove, Sussex, England.

Alice m.
Hickman MOLESWORTH 15 Jun 1882, St Paul's Church, Sale, Victoria, Australia. Hickman (son of Sir Robert Molesworth and Henrietta née Johnston) b. 23 Feb 1842, Dublin, Ireland; d. 18 Jul 1907, On board RMS Omrah; bur. Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, Victoria, Australia.

Charles James PECK b. 14 Oct 1853, Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 30 Jan 1893, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Henry Floyd Rutherford PECK b. 7 Feb 1857, Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 9 May 1915, Worton, East Malvern, Victoria, Australia.

Henry m. Caroline Mary ALLAN 4 Dec 1879, Sale, Victoria. Caroline b. ca 1854. d Sep 1942 Balaclava, Melbourne, Vic.

Emily Frances PECK b. 18 Apr 1859, Grassdale, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 1927, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia.

Emily m.
Peter Charles MACARTHUR Dec 1884, St Paul’s, Sale, Victoria.

Ffloyd m(2).
Menie CAMPBELL 15 Aug 1860, Clyde Bank, Gipps Land, Victoria, Australia. Menie (daughter of Duncan Campbell (1792 - 1874), Rockside, Kilchoman parish, Isle of Islay, Argyll, Scotland and Catherine Macgregor) b. 1820, Kilchoman, Isle of Islay, Argyll, Scotland; d. 28 Jun 1887, Islay Cottage, Sale, Gippsland, Victoria.


Michael Minter b. 12 Jan 1807, Vlissingen (Flushing), Holland; c. 1807, Folkestone, Kent; d. 31 Jan 1864, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; bur. Mt Moriac Cemetery, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Michael m(1).
Sarah BALDOCK 17 May 1831, Herne, Kent. Sarah (daughter of Richard Hobday BALDOCK) d. 10 Aug 1841, Folkestone, Kent.

Michael m(2).
Eleanor Edmonds JEFFERY 27 Sep 1842, Folkestone, Kent. Eleanor (daughter of James JEFFERY and Rebekah) b. 7 Jan 1821, Kent; c. 4 Feb 1821, Cheriton, Kent; d. 9 Apr 1875, Oaklands, Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.


Michael Minter b. 20 Jul 1843, Folkestone, Kent; c. 27 Sep 1843, Folkestone, SS Mary & Eanswyth, Kent; d. 9 Jul 1897, Tatura, Victoria, Australia; bur. 12 Jul 1897, Murchison Cemetery, Victoria, Australia.

Michael m.
Emma CUNNINGHAME 27 May 1867, St Andrew's Church, Brighton, Victoria, Australia. Emma (daughter of Robert Charles Cuninghame (sic) and Emma Lampard) b. abt 1845, Sale, Victoria, Australia; d. 12 Feb 1924, 11 Darling Street, S Yarra, Victoria, Australia; bur. 13 Feb 1924, St Kilda Cemetery, Victoria, Australia.

Ella Minter b. 29 Sep 1844, Folkestone, Kent; c. 18 Oct 1844, Folkestone, SS Mary & Eanswyth, Kent; d. 15 Jul 1902, Forest Vale, Queensland, Australia; bur. Mitchell General Cemetery, Queensland, Australia.

Ella m.
Robert Copland LETHBRIDGE 9 Apr 1863, Trinity Church, Barrabool, Victoria, Australia. Robert (son of Robert Copland LETHBRIDGE and Mary KING) b. 11 Sep 1838, Werrington, Penrith, NSW, Australia; d. 31 Oct 1919, Forest Vale, Queensland, Australia; bur. Mitchell General Cemetery, Queensland, Australia.

Ada Minter b. 12 Jul 1846, Cheriton, Kent; c. 27 Sep 1846, Folkestone, St Mary and St Eanswyth, Kent; d. 12 Jun 1918, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; bur. Sale Cemetery, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Ada m.
James PECK 22 Mar 1864, Trinity Church, Barrabool Hills, Victoria, Australia. James (son of Robert James PECK and Sarah Minter) b. 29 Jun 1833, Newmarket, Suffolk; c. 13 Jul 1833, St Mary Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 17 Sep 1884, Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Rosa Minter b. 1 Feb 1848, Folkestone, Kent; c. 1 Jun 1848, Folkestone, SS Mary & Eanswyth, Kent; d. 31 Jul 1936, Malvern, Victoria, Australia.

Rosa m.
William Pitt PHILLIPS 13 Jan 1870, St Jude's, Carlton, Victoria, Australia. William (son of Charles PHILLIPS and Louisa HARPER) b. 10 Aug 1842, Newmarket, Suffolk; d. 11 May 1924, Armadale, Victoria, Australia.

John Holman Minter b. Abt 1852, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; d. 1853, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; bur. 24 Sep 1853, Mt Moriac Cemetery, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Flora Minter b. 1 Jun 1854, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; d. 1933, Armadale, Victoria, Australia.

Flora m.
William Hardinge GREGSON 15 Apr 1879, St Paul's, Sale, Gipps Land, Victoria, Australia. William (son of John GREGSON and Fanny Ann HARDINGE) b. Abt 1857; d. 1926, Dromana, Victoria, Australia.

Ellen Minter b. 11 May 1856, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; d. 1919, Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Ellen m.
Alfred Emanuel "Teddy" OTTER 14 Oct 1879, Trinity Church, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Alfred b. Abt 1836; d. 20 Mar 1920, Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

John Holman Minter b. 31 Oct 1857, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; d. 1858, Victoria, Australia; bur. 24 Mar 1858, Mt Moriac Cemetery, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Ffloyd Minter b. 22 Mar 1859, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; d. 1 Jan 1860, Victoria, Australia; bur. 4 Jan 1860, Mt Moriac Cemetery, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Jeffery Minter b. 18 Jun 1863, Mt Moriac, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; d. Bef 30 Jul 1863, Victoria, Australia; bur. 30 Jul 1863, Mt Moriac Cemetery, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

1 Believed to be Dr James Edward Neild (1824-1906), a forensic pathologist, medical educator and medical librarian who migrated from England to Australia in 1853. His broad interests in theatre, literature, plus his active involvement in organisations such as the Royal Society of Victoria (Hon. Librarian), the Medical Society of Victoria and the Victorian Medical Benevolent Association (Hon Sec), suggest he is the sort of person with whom Michael Minter would have had a rapport and quite possibly have known. Certainly as a doctor, Dr Neild would have known Latin, and would therefore have been someone to whom Eleanor or one of the children may have turned to translate a document in Latin found after Michael’s death. The location of Michael’s original Latin text is unknown, if indeed it is still extant.

2 Probably St Margarets at Cliffe where the Parish Council website records: “The census of 1821 showed 87 houses and a population of 613, including over a hundred boys at Dr Temple’s Academy.” ( ).

3 It seems most likely that Michael boarded in Newmarket with the Rev. T.J. Abbott whose advertisement in the Bury and Norwich Post of 14 July 1813 read: ” TWELVE YOUNG GENTLEMEN are genteelly boarded and carefully instructed in the Greek, Latin and English Languages, with Merchants' Accounts, Geography, the Use of the Globes, &c. By the Rev. T. J. ABBOTT, Rectory House, Newmarket”.

4 The Anglican Vicar of St Mary’s Elham from 1778 to 1828 was the Revd William Cornwallis, a graduate of Merton College, Oxford University. William Cornwallis was at the same time Rector of Wittersham, also in Kent. The Cornwallises were an erudite household. William’s wife, Mary Cornwallis (née Harris) was a well-known interpreter of scripture, publishing her four volume Observations, Critical, Explanatory, and Practical, on the Canonical Scriptures in 1817. The Cornwallis’ younger daughter, Caroline Frances Cornwallis, a scholar and author on a wide range of subjects, was an ardent advocate of higher education for women. She learnt Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and German, and acquired some knowledge of philosophy, natural and social science, history, theology, law, and politics.

5 On 14 May 1831 at Herne, Kent, Michael Minter married Sarah Baldock, daughter of Richard Hobday Baldock, esq. of Whitstable. Sarah died on 10 August 1841 of consumption. At Elham, Kent, on 27 September 1842 Michael married Eleanor Edmonds Jeffery, daughter of James and Rebecca Jeffery. While practicing at Whitstable, Michael took as apprentice his nephew, John Moolenburgh Minter, later to become Hon. Surgeon to the Prince of Wales, and Hon. Physician to Queen Victoria.