Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Petrol tanker goes up in flames at Vervale - 1967

This dramatic truck fire occured in early February 1967. The J-Model Bedford was delivering fuel to Aub Goodman's farm on Pitt Road in Vervale and it just caught on fire. There were two 44 gallon drums of petrol on the back, which went up first, then the two tanks of diesel caught fire. The driver, Bill McCutcheon of Nar Nar Goon, escaped without injury. The truck was owned by I.A. Williams of Koo Wee Rup. Photos were taken by my uncle, Jim Rouse and my Dad, Frank Rouse. I found the report in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of February 8, 1967 of the incident.

Koo Wee Rup Sun, February 8 1967.

Image: Jim Rouse or Frank Rouse

Image: Jim Rouse or Frank Rouse

Image: Jim Rouse or Frank Rouse

Image: Jim Rouse or Frank Rouse

Image: Jim Rouse or Frank Rouse


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Jabez James and Maria Ann Goldsmith

Jabez James operated a beer house, on the south side of Cannibal Creek, in what is now North Garfield, from 1866. He had an eventful life with what appears to be little success on either a personal or financial level. This is the story of James and the mother of his children, Maria Goldsmith (some of which is fact and some of which is conjecture or educated guesses)

Jabez was born in England around 1823 and he arrived in Victoria on the Ameer in March 1852 (1). Also on the ship was a man listed as A. Goldsmith. The two men had their occupation listed as labourer. Two years later in July 1854, 20-year-old Mary Ann (also called Maria) Goldsmith and her 18-year-old sister Elizabeth arrived in Melbourne on the Ontario. Maria and her sister were born in Kent, were domestic servants and a note on the shipping record says that Maria was engaged by Mrs Woodruff of Brunswick and Elizabeth by Mrs Bathurst of Heidelberg (2).

Somehow, Maria met Jabez, perhaps through his shipmate, Mr A. Goldsmith. What we do know is that in December 1855 Maria gave birth in North Melbourne, to a baby girl whom she named Agnes Maria. Agnes’ birth certificate states that the father was John William Goldsmith, a blacksmith, born in Kent and the mother was Maria nee Richards (3). However, when Agnes married James Charles Bowden in 1873 her marriage certificate lists her surname as Janes and her father as Jabez Janes.  Her 1891 death record lists her maiden name as Janes. I suspect that Jabez was the real father and that Maria ‘created’ a husband to cover the fact that the baby was born illegitimate, a stigma in those days (4).

Six more children (5) followed -

  • Clara Jane (1857-1928) Clara’s surname at birth was Goldsmith, her birth was registered in Melbourne and the father listed as unknown. Clara’s surname when she married Charles Roberts in 1874 was listed as Janes and Jabez is listed as her father on her death certificate.
  • James George (born and died 1859). Registered at birth and death as Janes. Place of registration was Melbourne.
  • Harry William (1861-1942) His birth was registered twice - under Goldsmith and under Janes. Place of registration was Melbourne. He married Mary Morrow in 1894. His marriage and death registrations were under Janes. His death certificate lists his birthplace as Labertouche Creek.
  • Caroline (1863- death date unknown) Surname at birth was Goldsmith, birth was registered at Williamstown and the father listed as unknown. I have no other information about her.
  • Alfred Walter (1865-1947) Surname at birth was Goldsmith, father listed as unknown, birth registered at Melbourne. Married Marguerite Barry in 1891. His marriage and death registrations were under Janes.
  • Emily Sarah (1867-1933) Birth registered under Janes at Emerald Hill (South Melbourne). Married Johan Erik Johanneson in 1887.

Jabez and Maria never married each other which given the stigma, as I said before, of having children out of wedlock was unusual. Possible reasons are that he was already married in England or she was actually married to John William Goldsmith and they separated and she then took up with Jabez (in which case the shipping record I found belongs to another Mary Ann Goldsmith). I don’t know, but I feel that he had already married in England.

Back to Jabez. His various interactions with the legal system were reported in the newspapers.  The first we hear of him is in January 1859 when there was a report in The Argus about his insolvency. His occupation was listed as a carter and his address was North Melbourne (6). Jabez’s estate was placed under sequestration which meant a Trustee was appointed to take charge of his estate, liquidate assets, and settle any debts. In the August the court approved of the plan of distribution to settle his debts (7).   Two years later in April 1861 his estate was placed under sequestration again (8). This time his occupation was listed as mail contractor and his address was Big Hill, which was a mining town south of Bendigo. He was discharged from the second insolvency in September 1862 (9).

Jabez's application for a publican's license for his property at Labertouche Creek.

In December 1864, Jabez Janes advertised of his intention to apply to the Dandenong Magistrates Court for a publican’s licence for a house situated at Labertouche Creek, Gippsland Road. The premises were described as being constructed of lath and plaster, containing two sitting rooms, four bedrooms exclusive of those required by my family and it was to be known as the Diggers’ Rest (10). He describes himself as a storekeeper (see above) so was he already operating a store at Labertouche Creek  and he wished to change it to a Hotel? It appears he wasn’t granted the licence as he applied again in July 1865, this time to the Berwick Magistrates court for the same licence for Diggers’ Rest (11).  Labertouche Creek is north of Longwarry and runs into the Tarago River. It is interesting that his son, William Harry, born in 1861, believed he was born at Labertouche Creek, even though the family (or at least Jabez) were at Big Hill in 1860/1861 (12).

In September 1865, Jabez was charged with careless driving in Collins Street injuring a woman named Margaret Bell (13). He was fined £10, appealed the decision, but the appeal was rejected (14).

Report of Jabez's reckless driving on August 29, 1865.

In January 1866, Jabez was back in the newspapers again in the reports of an Inquest on the body of a man whose name is unknown, who was found dead in the bush, near the Wombat Creek, on the Gipps Land road. Jabez James, a publican, whilst engaged looking for a horse, saw the body of the deceased lying near a waterhole.…The jury, in the absence of any direct evidence to show how the deceased met with his death, returned a verdict of found dead in the bush (15).

In December 1866 the following public notice appeared in The Argus -
I, JABEZ JANES, now residing at Cannibal Creek, do hereby give notice, that it is my Intention to apply to the justices sitting at the Court of Petty Sessions, to be holden at Berwick on the 4th day of January next, for a CERTIFICATE authorising the issue of a BEER LICENCE in my house, of five rooms finished and others partly built, situated at Cannibal Creek, and unlicensed. Dated 15th day of December 1866  (16)The location of his hotel was on the south side of Cannibal Creek, in the vicinity of Bassed Road, and was later the site of the Pig & Whistle Hotel (17)

Jabez's application for a beer licence at his premises at Cannibal Creek.

However, less than a year later Jabez became insolvent again. This was reported in The Argus in September 1867 - Causes of insolvency - Falling-off in business in consequence of Government changing the line of road between Cannibal and Shady Creeks, seizure of goods under execution, and losses by illness and by fire. Liabilities, £258 4s; assets, £66; deficiency, £192 4s (18). Jabez was discharged from the insolvency in February 1868. His insolvency must have resulted in his losing his licence to operate the hotel as in February 1870 he again applied to the Court at Berwick for a licence for a beer house at his property at Cannibal Creek (19).

Report of Jabez's insolvency

In July 1870, he was charged with rape and remanded. At a hearing in the September he was discharged, as the Crown declined to go on with the case (20).

Later in 1870, Jabez was once more before the court, this time the Williamstown court. Here is the report from The Argus of November 4, 1870. Mary Ann Goldsmith summoned Jabez Janes, a beer-seller at Cannibal's Creek, near Dandenong, for deserting his family. This was a distressing case. Both parties were advanced in life, and it appears that they had cohabited for a great number of years, and that the woman had borne him five children. The eldest was 15, and the youngest was three years old. Complainant stated that she left Cannibal's Creek on the 14th September, and brought the children to Williamstown, the defendant having left her and the children without support. Since their stay in Williamstown they had been getting relief from the Ladies' Benevolent Society. Janes admitted that the children were his, and that the complainant was their mother. He was unable to work through bad health, but he was willing to take charge of the two little boys, and a friend of his would provide for the youngest child. Their mother, however, refused to let them go. The Bench ordered the defendant to pay 20s. per week for the children's support and find one good surety in £20 for the payment of the money. As the man had neither money nor friends to assist him, he was sent to gaol (21).

The report says that there were five children, the eldest 15 which was the age of Agnes, which gives some weight to my theory that Jabez was actually her father. It also suggests that their daughter, Caroline, had also died young, as if she were still alive there would have been six children.

The final newspaper report that I can find relating to Jabez was in September 1871, in the Williamstown Chronicle -   Jabez Janes was summoned to show cause why the recognizance entered into by him on the 18th January in the sum of £20 to pay £1 weekly to the clerk of petty sessions, Williamstown, for the support of his illegitimate children, should not be adjudged forfeited and estreated. The arrears to the 2nd September amounted to £6. The Bench agreed to adjourn the case for fourteen days, to give the defendant an opportunity of paying the money in that time (22).

Jabez either could not or did not take the 'opportunity' of paying the money he owed Maria for the support of his children as in December 1871 he was charged on warrant with deserting the family. This is the last we hear of Jabez. 

Victorian Police Gazette December 5, 1871. The Victorian Police Gazette is on Ancestry.

Maria died at only 42 years of age on August 7, 1874 at the Benevolent Asylum in North Melbourne. Her death certificate lists her surname as Janes, said she was a domestic servant, widow with five children, was born in Kent and had been in Australia for 20 years. It also lists her father as Charles and her mother’s name as Maria (23). It would have been devastating for the children to lose their mother, who obviously did all she could to keep her family together in the days when employment opportunities for women with children were scare, child care was non-existent, there was no supporting parents benefit and no financial report from the father. I really hope that the children had happy lives. I have found death notices for three of the children and Clara’s death notice said that she was a loved mother; Harry was a loved husband and father and Alfred a loved husband, father, and fond uncle (24).

I cannot find a death record for Jabez, but if the statement on Maria’s death certificate is correct, he had already passed away by 1874.  

Trove List - I have created a list of articles on Jabez Janes on Trove, you can access it here.

(1) Shipping record in on Find My Past. His date of birth is taken from his age listed in the Victorian Police Gazette December 5, 1871. 
(2) Shipping record, which includes the information about the future employers,  is from Ancestry.
(3) This information comes from Agnes' birth certificate.
(4) Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages https://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/research-and-family-history/search-your-family-history
(5) Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages https://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/research-and-family-history/search-your-family-history
(6) The Argus January 15, 1859, see here.
(7) The Argus, August 12, 1859, see here.
(8) The Argus, April 29, 1861, see here.
(9) The Herald, September 16, 1862, see here.
(10) The Age, December 7, 1864, see here.
(11) The Argus, July 15 1865, see here.
(12) Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages 
(13) Her name is also listed as Margaret or Mrs Hill, but I think Bell is the correct surname. See my Trove list for reports on the incident.
(14) The Leader, October 14, 1865, see here.
(15) The Leader, January 20, 1866, see here. There is also a report in the South Bourke Standard, January 19, 1866, see here 
(16) The Argus December 21 1866, see here.  
(17) From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick (Historical Society of Berwick Shire, 1962) p. 18.
Here's a map I drew years agao showing the location of the Pig & Whistle Inn, which was on the same site as Jabez Jane's establishment.

(18) The Argus September 21, 1867 see here. I have written about the new line of the road, here.
(19) Release from Insolvency The Age February 14, 1868, see here. Re-application for licence The Age February 26, 1870, see here. 
(20) See my Trove list, here, for reports on the rape Court cases.
(21) The Argus November 4, 1870, see here.
(22) Williamstown Chronicle, September 23, 1871, see here.
(23) Death certicate of Maria. It said she was 42 years old which means she was born in 1832, not 1834 if you take the fact she was 20 when she arrived in 1854.
(24) Clara's death notice Williamstown Chronicle,  December 1, 1928, see here. Harry's death notice The Age August 13, 1942, see here.  Alfred's death notice The Age September 25, 1947, see here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A visit to Koo Wee Rup in 1886 - part 1

In May 1886 The Leader newspaper had a two-part report of a visit to the Koo Wee Rup area. This was before the construction of the Main Drain. The article mentions Duncan McGregor and Frederick Peers. In March 1875 Duncan MacGregor (1835-1916) and Frederick Peers (1843-1896) purchased parts of the Great Swamp run, previously leased by John Mickle, John Bakewell and William Lyall. MacGregor purchased 3,871 acres and Peers 426 acres, in present day Dalmore (which was named after MacGregor’s property) (1). MacGregor was instrumental in establishing the Koo Wee Rup Drainage Committee which, from 1876, constructed channels to take the water from the Cardinia Creek and the Toomuc Creek to Western Port Bay at Moody’s Inlet (2).

Part one of the report appeared in The Leader on May 8, 1886, it is transcribed below and you can read it on Trove, here. Part two, appeared in The Leader on May 15, 1886, it is transcribed here, and you can read it on Trove, here.

[By our Agricultural Reporter]

It is really surprising now little is known by the general public about the Koo-wee-rup swamp. A vague idea is entertained by most that good land is to be found there, but the difficulties in the way of draining and clearing are supposed to be so great that the work must be done either by Government or large capitalists. The swamp certainly has an uninviting look, for on the undrained portion of it the tall ti-tree, in many places 20 feet in height, now stretches for miles without a break that the eye can discern, and the no less troublesome looking reeds give evidence of the boggy nature of the ground. One can scarcely wonder then, that when the tide of selection was in flood keen practical men passed it by in disgust and tried their fortunes in the great forest and hazel scrub of Gippsland. It seemed utterly impossible to obtain a footing in the swamp, the green appearance of the scrub on top and the moisture underneath apparently precluded all idea of fire being made the clearing agent; and as it is the watershed of a large tract of rangy country, several permanent creeks running through and spreading their waters over it in flood time, it was thought that enormous difficulties existed in regard to drainage, and the confining of flood waters to their proper channels.

Seeing the waters of so many creeks spread out over such a large tract of country, one would conclude that the natural fall was insufficient, and, therefore, the making of drains would not only be useless but mischievous by allowing the sea water to flow back and inundate the swamp. The fallacy of this is apparent when it becomes known that a fall of something like 80 feet exists in 20 miles, and the visitor, whose idea is that the swamp is a sink which cannot be drained, will have his illusion dispelled by a walk along the embankment of any one of the main drains running south and emptying into an inlet of the sea. The rush of water and the scour which has taken place since the drains wore formed will convince the most sceptical of the facilities for drainage. 

Were it not for a mistaken idea of the difficulties and expenditure necessary to cope successfully with this land it would long ere this have taken up, and instead of the greater portion being as now a mere unsightly waste it would be peopled by scores of thriving families. To reclaim it all that is necessary is a co-operative system of drainage amongst the settlers. Had the entire swamp been taken up in blocks of not larger than 200 acres, and the selectors combined to effect the drainage, it is not too much to say that Koo-wee-rup, instead of being almost impenetrable, would now be one of the most prosperous and productive districts in the colony.

The soil is magnificent, the decomposed vegetable matter and ashes of centuries having accumulated and formed a rich black mould, more like a well-rotted manure heap in appearance than anything else. Such soil should be capable of producing heavy yields of almost any kind of crop, and that it is so has been amply demonstrated by the crops grown on the cleared portions of the land secured by a few adventurous spirits. The growing of crops on the reclaimed portion has not, however, got beyond the experimental stage, for the simple reason that the roads are so bad that it is impossible to get a large quantity of produce to market, hence attention is chiefly directed to the sowing of grass and fattening of stock.

When thoroughly drained — and the sooner this is set about the better — this state of things will no longer exist, for as the ground becomes consolidated with traffic, its capacity to carry heavy loads will be increased, and there will be a prospect of getting the produce to a railway station with a greater degree of comfort, and a less expenditure of vocal exercise of a profane nature than at present.

A large portion of the swamp was offered for sale some years ago, but purchasers were only found for a part, and as care was not taken to prevent any one purchaser acquiring a right to more than one block the portions alienated from the Crown are held by a few settlers in large blocks. The land was sold subject to a drainage fee of 5s. per acre, to be paid to the shire council, and by whom the work of draining was to be carried out. The sum named being considered too small, the council refused to have anything to do with it; therefore, the purchasers formed themselves into a drainage committee, and submitted a plan to the Government which had been approved of by the shire council. This was accepted, and the drainage fee exacted from the purchasers was handed over to the committee, and the work of draining proceeded with. It was, however, found that further calls were necessary, and the work actually performed cost the purchasers 15s. 6d. per acre.

The work carried out by the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Drainage Committee, from 1876.
From Swampland to Farmland by David Roberts, Rural Water Commission, 1985.

In addition to this the more energetic of the landowners, notably Messrs. Peers and M'Gregor, have expended large sums in draining and clearing their land, and the experience gained will be of great practical value to those who follow their example. The difficulties in the way of settlement on the swamps are not so great as might be imagined by looking at the country and compare favorably with those to be met with in the much-vaunted hazel scrub of Gippsland. The expense of preparing the swamp land for the reception of grass seed is undoubtedly greater than in the hazel scrub country, which as a rule can cut for 10s. per acre, but in the latter case the big timber remains and is likely to do so for some generations to come, whereas in the swamp there is no timber which cannot be uprooted by a team of bullocks.

Anyone who has had practical experience in grubbing big trees knows the easiest portion of the work consists in getting the tree down; it is the after labour of cutting up and burning off which takes time. True, the big trees are not, as a rule, taken out, but a certain percentage of smaller ones must be extracted before the land is fit for the plough, and this in addition to ringing and scrub cutting, necessitates considerable expenditure. Then limbs from the large trees are constantly falling and destroying crops, this giving a great deal of extra labor to pick up. A Koo-wee-rup there is good evidence to prove that the cost of drawing and eradicating the scrub will be from £5 to £10 per acre, and when the land is once cleared there is but little further trouble with it. Sometimes the scrub may sprout but as a rule it does not, and a paddock properly cleared presents a beautiful open appearance which contrasts very favorably with the so-called clearing of timbered land.

So little was known of the proper way to cope with the scrub that mistakes were made by those who first attempted to clear, but with the experience gained, the remaining portion, can be reclaimed at a less cost per acre than has hitherto been paid. Several different kinds of scrub are found in the swamp, but two species of ti-tree predominate. These are locally known as white and black ti-tree respectively, the black variety being much harder to get rid of than the white. Hundreds of acres are covered with tall reeds, the roots of which apparently go to a great depth, as they extend deeper than any of the drains hitherto constructed. This renders them somewhat difficult to get rid of, but as stock readily eat them when they sprout after being burned, they are not looked upon as a great nuisance.

Studded over the swamp are numerous small rises or islands (3), the soil of which is composed almost entirely of sand differing widely from the surrounding portions. After the swamp has been drained these will form splendid sites for the erection of homesteads, as they are always dry; and care should be taken in surveying to leave at least one on each block if possible. The soil of the swamp, judging by appearances, is second to none in the colony and is evidently the accumulation of ages.

In cutting the drains on the reclaimed portion, at a depth of 3 feet from the surface, extensive beds of ashes and old slumps are found which go to prove that a growth of scrub existed at a former period which was burned, and over which the present soil has accumulated. At a still greater depth — 5 feet from the surface — are found other, though not so extensive beds of ashes which give evidence of still more ancient fires. Where there is such a mixture of ashes and decomposed vegetable matter the productive qualities of the soil ought to be enormous, and some decisive steps should be taken to admit of its being worked.

It is positively disgraceful that such splendid soil is allowed to continue in its present unsightly and unproductive state, and the Government should have a proper survey made with a view to draining the swamp, and either selling or leasing it to those who would cultivate it, and thus considerably add to the common wealth. Some time ago a party of surveyors did visit it, and partly laid off the route of a main drain or canal, but with the wisdom and foresight for which the Survey department is sometimes remarkable they were sent so late in the season that they were flooded out and had to abandon the undertaking and have since evinced no inclination to resume it. The proposed route of the Great Southern railway runs through a portion of the swamp, and, when constructed, will materially assist in draining it.

Of those who have purchased land a few have been energetic, and the work of reclamation is being vigorously proceeded with, but others are holding back in the hope of being benefited by whatever scheme is carried out by Government. This has been the cause of putting those who have tried to drain and clear to a greater expense than would otherwise have been the case had all joined in one co-operative scheme. The entire fringe of the swamp has been selected, but, as already said, the swamp proper has been taken up by only a few, the portion reclaimed being about 10,000. In the next letter a detailed account will be given of the work performed by these as well as the experience gained as to the best way of eradicating the scrub.
(The Leader on May 8, 1886, see here.)

Part two of this report, appeared in The Leader on May 15, 1886, it is transcribed here, and you can read it on Trove, here.

(1) Gunson, Neil The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire (Cheshire, 1968), p. 125
(2) Roberts, David  From Swampland to farmland: a history of the Koo-Wee-Rup Flood Protection  District (Rural water Commission of Victorua, 1985), p. 9 -10.
(3) Read more about these sand hills, here.

A visit to Koo Wee Rup in 1886 - part 2

In May 1886 The Leader newspaper had a two-part report of a visit to the Koo Wee Rup area. This was before the construction of the Main Drain. Part one of the report appeared in The Leader on May 8, 1886, it is transcribed here and you can read it on Trove, here. Part two, appeared in The Leader on May 15, 1886, it is transcribed below, and you can read it on Trove, here.

By Our Agricultural Reporter

One of the most energetic holders of swamp land is Mr. D. M'Gregor, of Coburg. The extent of this gentleman's property in the swamp is 3500 acres, situated about 5 miles nearly due south from the Pakenham railway station. A great deal of useful work has been done here, and good results obtained for the expenditure of time and money. Main drains surround the entire property, and one subdivides it. Between 500 and 600 acres has been reclaimed, the scrub cleared and is now sown down with English grasses. 

The main drains were partly constructed by the drainage committee, but have been enlarged by Mr. M'Gregor; altogether 27 miles of drains have been excavated, varying in width from 3 feet to 12 feet, and in depth from 3 feet 6 inches to 5 feet. The main drains are double, with a space of 30 feet between them, on which all the earth taken out is deposited, thus forming a strong embankment, which is of immense service in keeping back flood water. The outer drain is 12 foot wide by 5 feet deep and the inner one 10 feet by 5 feet. These have been found sufficient to protect the paddocks from the influx of flood water, though a considerable extent of undrained country lies northward, the waters from which are carried by these drains to some of the numerous inlets from Western Port Bay. An important fact in connection with these main drains must not be lost sight of, they act as a secure and permanent fence, which neither cattle nor sheep will attempt to cross. This saves a vast amount of fencing, the material for which comes very expensive, as carting on these bad roads for a considerable portion of the year is out of the question. 

The first work to be proceeded with is draining, and until this is accomplished it is useless attempting anything else. After the drains have been constructed, and previous to any other work being gone on with, it is better to wait and allow the ground to dry. The mistake made by those who first attempted to cope with the scrub was in trying to do too much — they wanted a return for their outlay at once but after experience has proved that it is better to wait and allow the ground to drain and become consolidated. It is found that as the land becomes more dry it shrinks away from the ti-tree roots, leaving them partly exposed; this in most cases is sufficient to kill the white variety.

The next proceeding is to get a fire through it. The dry ti-tree bums readily, and even where it is green if one side is cleared and straw laid along to give it a start a great deal can be destroyed on a hot day.The plan, however, followed at Mr.M'Gregor's in dealing with the green scrub is to lay it with a machine which has been invented by Mr.M'Donald, the overseer. This, like many great inventions, is exceedingly simple, the only difficulty being to find suitable material from which to manufacture it, and some trouble is experienced in this respect. A tree having somewhat the shape of the letter V is selected and sawn off a few feet below where the branches diverge; the limbs are then lopped to unequal lengths. To the longer a team of bullocks, from 16 to 20 in number, is attached. The shorter limb has a curve, which enables it to take a bite of the scrub, and the whole is of sufficient weight to crush down whatever is opposed to it. Sometimes the point of the shorter limb gets broken, and then a splice must be attached by strong bolts, as without the curve inward the work would not be so satisfactorily performed. About 5 acres a day can be laid, and then no trouble is experienced in getting a fire through it. 

The next proceeding is to uproot the stumps which remain, and for this a machine somewhat resembling a heavy sledge is used, with cross pieces shod with iron. This tears up the stumps and levels the ground at the same time. It is followed by an exceedingly strong and heavy rake drawn by two horses and worked by a man and boy. The rake was manufactured according to Mr. M'Gregor's directions by T. Robinson and Co., Melbourne, and is something after the style of an ordinary horse hay rake, but very much stronger and heavier, the teeth being raised by a powerful wooden lever. 

The roots and stumps are gathered into rows and burned, after which the rake is again run over and grass seed sown. With the present plant and the experience gained, Mr. M'Donald is of opinion that, apart from draining, the scrub can be cleared and a seed bed prepared for £2 per acre. It is not considered necessary to plough the land for the reception of grass seed, and the unploughed portion compares favorably with that from which a crop has been taken previous to the sowing down with grass. The reason of this is that the unploughed part is so consolidated by the working of the teams that the roots have a better hold and the soil retains more moisture than where it has been loosened by the plough. 

Clearing the Swamp, Dalmore. This was on E. Simpson Hill's farm and is much later that 1886, but it does give an idea of the efforts it would have taken to clear the scrub.
Image: Gunson, Neil The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire (Cheshire, 1968)

The present aim of those engaged in reclaiming the swamp is to drain it thoroughly, but when this is accomplished it will be interesting to note the result. The chances are that it will then be found necessary to irrigate, for although the natural rainfall is heavy the soil is of a nature calculated to absorb large quantities of water, and it is more than likely that on this and similar places the best results from irrigation will be achieved. If such a course is ever found necessary, all natural facilities are at hand for the thorough carrying out of an irrigation scheme. 

A mixture of several kinds of grass seed is sown; formerly more rye grass than any other sort was used, but in the later sowings this has been discontinued, as it is found the rye grass is apt to die out. The sorts now principally used are cockafoot and Alsyke or hybrid clover; the latter is highly spoken of on account of its coming more quickly than any other kind and its fattening qualities being excellent. Prominence will be given to this splendid clover in the preparation of all future pastures. 

Prairie grass also has been tried with success. The value of this fodder plant has not been so fully recognised as it deserves, the usual complaint being that it is eaten out by stock, which is about the highest praise that could be given to any grass. If prairie is sown with any other grasses stock will undoubtedly eat it out, for it is so sweet that while a root remains all other kinds will be neglected, but if sown by itself, and in small paddocks so that the stock can be changed, few if any other kinds of grass will be found so productive.

 It also makes splendid hay, giving two crops a year, and as only sowing is necessary, it must once, as far as profit is concerned, compare favorably with the cultivation of oats or wheat. At Mr. M'Gregor's about an acre has been sown and kept well eaten down with sheep. Under this treatment it seems to thrive and thicken. The seed from this patch will be saved and sown, next year. 

About 70 acres of oats were sown last year, which gave a return of 58 bushels per acre. This year the experiment of growing two crops will be tried. A paddock has been sown with oats, which are now about 1 foot in height when this is fit it will be cut, and another crop immediately put in. It is considered that the moisture in the soil coupled with the usually heavy rainfall will be sufficient to insure a good result from the second sowing. Root crops do splendidly here, potatoes, carrots and mangels giving heavy yields, but the difficulty of getting produce to the railway station is so great that only a limited quantity is grown. The productive qualities of the soil may be fairly estimated as equal to those of almost any other part of the colony. The splendid black mould extends for a depth of 12 or 15 feet, and judging by that thrown up out of the drains there is no diminution in quality, the soil keeping its character to the depth mentioned. 

All the stock are of a high class. The horses, with the exception of the riding and driving hacks, being pure Clydesdales. Noticeable amongst the brood mares is Maggie, by Roderick Dhu, dam Phyllis, imported. This mare, though rather low, is a perfect model of symmetry, and is now in foal to Lord Napier, a horse belonging to Mr. Watson, of Kyneton. Two yearling colts by the well-known horse Stanley are being kept as stallions; one of these, a bay, whose dam Bonnie Doon traces her pedigree back to Prince Charlie and Black Douglas, promises to develop into something good. The cattle are pure shorthorns of the Booth strain, they are descended from stock bred by Mr. B. M'Dougall of Arundel, the stud bulls used in the herd being invariably purchased from that gentleman. In-breeding has been Mr. M'Gregor's practice to a certain extent, and though the wisdom of this maybe questionable, the young stock here show no falling off in either size or quality. The bull now in use is a very fine animal; he is by the well-known prize taker Sir Roderick.

Mr. Peers is another of the energetic sort, and his estate, Moy Glass, is a model which might well be copied by all future settlers in Koo-wee-rup. When first taken up the estate was a perfect wilderness, the ti-tree being, as a rule, more than 20 feet in height, and had not Mr. Peers entertained the highest opinion of the capabilities of the soil, the difficulties in the way of clearing would have been sufficient to deter him from ever attempting to fit the land for the plough. If his example had been followed by all the present holders the swamp would bear a very different aspect to what it does now. 

The extent of purchased land is 1320 acres, which is subdivided into 12 paddocks. An area of 300 acres has been properly cleared, not a stump or root being left; this is subdivided into 40 acre paddocks. A main double drain surrounds the property similar to that of Mr. M'Gregor. This is estimated to have cost 1s. per cubic yard, whilst the numerous smaller drains have been excavated at prices varying from 4½d. to 7d. per yard, the latter price being given where the ti-tree was exceptionally heavy, and therefore a greater mass of roots had to be contended against. The plan of sub-dividing the estate into small paddocks is to be commended, as the fullest use can be made of them and the stock changed from one to the other as occasion requires. 

Cultivation has been tried, but more as an experiment to see what the land was really capable of than any thing else, as the difficulties in the way of getting produce to market are so great as to be a serious check to anything like extensive cultivation. As an indication of the fertility of the soil the yield of oats has been 60 bushels per acre, while a small patch of potatoes about 3 acres in extent gave a return of 9 tons per acre. On 33 acres which had been laid down under English grasses 534 store sheep were last spring kept for 10 weeks, and at the end of that time sold fat. Mr. Peers's plan of dealing with the scrub is somewhat different to that followed at Mr. M'Gregor's; constant burning is relied on to kill it. When nothing is left but the stumps, a heavy log, having five rows of inch iron spikes driven into it, is dragged along by bullocks, a chain being fastened to each end, by this means the stumps are knocked out or loosened so that they can be picked up and burned. The ground is then ploughed to the depth of about 8 inches, and allowed to lie fallow for a season, after which it is sown down with grass. The first ploughing is very difficult, a team of bullocks and a heavy plough being used to break the soil. The land itself is loose, but the trouble to contend against is the masses of roots and old stumps which are found at a depth of a few inches. 

The paddocks are securely fenced with sheep proof wire fences, these being preferred on account of being less liable to destruction by fire than post and rail. The posts have to be brought by boats from Queensferry. Mr. Peers estimates the cost of draining and clearing his land to be on an average £10 per acre. The stock at present at Moy Glass consists of 50 head of cattle, 16 horses, including 7 brood mares, 530 store sheep and a small stud flock of Romney Marsh sheep about 50 in number. When the Great Southern railway is completed it is Mr. Peers's intention to go in extensively for hay growing; this should be profitable, as a crop of about 4 tons per acre can be depended on.
(The Leader  May 15, 1886, see here.)

Part one of this report appeared in The Leader on May 8, 1886, it is transcribed here and you can read it on Trove, here. This is part two. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

What happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1921

This is a look back 100 years at what happened in Koo Wee Rup and surrounds in 1921.

In 1921, the Koo Wee Rup Bush nurse was in the news. Nurse Walsh was employed at Koo Wee Rup by the local Bush Nursing Committee and in February she was granted four weeks annual leave. Mrs E. Johnston thought they could alleviate the nurse's condition by procuring a new horse for her and Mr G. Burhop said he knew of a pony which fulfilled all of the requirements (1). During the year there were functions held to raise money to build a Bush Nursing hospital and a nurse's cottage at Koo Wee Rup. A garden fete which raised £200 was held in the January at The Grange (2)  and a Queen Carnival was held. There were three Queens, Miss Molly O’Riordan representing Koo Wee Rup, Miss Alma Cochrane Damore/Tooradin and Miss Gladys Marshall, Cora Lynn. They undertook fundraising and a ‘coronation’ took place on May 25, where Miss O’Riordan was voted the Queen. She had raised £495, Miss Cochrane £322 and Miss Marshall £98 a total of £915 (3).  That is an extraordinary amount of money, given that the average wage at the time for a male factory worker was just over £200 and the three women raised 4½ times that amount in a few months (4).    

The hospital officially opened May 23, 1923 (5). It was not an easy life for the Bush Nurse who worked long hours, often on her own and had to deal with all sorts of medical issues. In Koo Wee Rup there was the extra 'bonus' that  her cottage was right next door De Vries & Bowman, the local butcher’s slaughter yard. The locals were objecting to it and the butchers blamed the Council as they had land outside the town but the Council had taken over five months to make a decision on the matter (6).

 Koo Wee Rup Sun, September 29, 1921.

Also in February the Railway commenced the erection of four cottages for their employees, near the Station (7). One of these was moved to Bayles around 2014.  On the subject of Railways the Koo Wee Rup Sun reported on March 3, 1921 that business at Bayles station is gradually increasing and farmers are appreciative of the advantages derived from railway locomotion. The old tedious way of carting to either Tynong or Koo Wee Rup is too slow, cumbersome and costly. The line officially opened June 29, 1922 although the Bayles Station commenced operation over a year earlier on February 10 and Catani was operational from June 1921 (8).

The death of David Joseph Bourke of Monomeith Park took place on February 13. David was the son of Michael and Catherine  (nee Kelly) Bourke. They had arrived in Melbourne in 1839 and settled on Minton's Run, a property of 12, 800 acres on the Toomuc Creek in Pakenham in 1843. Around 1850, they established the La Trobe Inn, more commonly known as Bourke's Hotel. His obituary described him as a great lover of horses and an excellent judge of horseflesh. He gave valued service in honorary judging of blood stock at the Royal Show, Melbourne, as well as in Adelaide and exhibitions throughout the country. He was survived by his wife Mary Elizabeth (nee Hunt)  and two sons, Hugh and Michael (9).

The Koo Wee Rup Sun of June 6 had the following interesting report Religious persecution caused Brigham Young to move with his saints to Salt Lake City, and the state of Utah, now with a population of half a million, was colonised by the Mormons. It is not generally known that Brigham Young wished to settle in Gippsland. This was in 1873. He had then 187 children living, of whom the greater number were over 16 years. For these he wanted 320 acres each. Nothing came of this and Brigham Young and his family remained in Utah. The problem of populating Gippsland, one imagines, would easily have been solved if we had allowed this successful progenitor and his growing family to settle in the province. Probably they would have been followed by most of the Mormon community. 

Koo Wee Rup Sun, June 6, 1921

In August,  it was reported that the proprietors of “The Grange”  Estate, Koo Wee Rup are having extensive improvements effected. By means of a road through the property, the distance to Monomeith will be greatly lessened. A number of houses are being erected, and last week a boring plant began operations with a view of locating water so that a perpetual supply will be on hand. It will be some time before the works are completed, and the proprietors must be congratulated on the enterprise they are displaying. This road is Sybella Avenue (10).

The area had a distinguished visitor in September - the Reverend Doctor Daniel Mannix, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne. He arrived at Garfield on September 23 and was at Koo Wee Rup the next day. It was reported on in The Advocate -
Remarkable interest was centred in the visit to lona of his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev. Dr. Mannix), and over a hundred horsemen and residents from all parts of the surrounding districts gathered at Garfield to accord his Grace an enthusiastic welcome. A fleet of fully fifty motor cars and buggies had been requisitioned for the conveyance of people from Warragul, Kooweerup, Nar-Nar-Goon, and other places, and Garfield presented a scene of great bustle and animation early on Saturday evening. At 6.30 o'clock his Grace arrived at Garfield by motor car from Melbourne, and there was tremendous excitement when his car was seen approaching the township. Ringing cheers broke out from the crowd gathered on the roadside, and his Grace smilingly acknowledged his cordial reception

A procession which was a singular spectacle that then headed along the Iona Road (Fourteen Mile Road). The horsemen were led by Miss Ahern and Miss Linane, each young lady wore a green costume, and their horses had waving green ribbons on their manes. A concert was held at St Columba’s Parish Hall, attended by over 400 people. The next day the Archbishop conducted a Mass at 9.00 am and another at 11.00am. Eighty children were confirmed at the second mass.

In the afternoon the Archbishop was driven to Koo Wee Rup and nearing the town Kooweerup, he was received by about 50 horsemen, and a long line of motor cars and buggies was also drawn up along the road. It was an imposing procession that entered the township, and the people turned out in force and gave his Grace a splendid welcome. At the Mass at Koo Wee Rup 40 children were confirmed. Dr Mannix then returned to Melbourne (11).

Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) (AWA)  Experimental Receiving Station
 at Koo Wee Rup
Koo Wee Rup Sun November 6, 1974.

1921 was also the year that the very first direct press message was sent from the United Kingdom to Australia. It was received at 5.00 am on December 5, 1921 (12) by T. W. Bearup, at an Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) (AWA)  Experimental Receiving Station at Koo Wee Rup. The Radio Station had been established in the June off Sims Lane. This communication was significant as it confirmed that direct and efficient communication between Great Britain and Australia was feasible. Radio communications, at this time, were sent and received by a series of relays. T. W. Bearup was  Thomas William (known as Bill) Bearup (1897-1980). In 1916 he joined the Marine Service of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia). He later worked for the ABC and was Studio Manager for 3LO and had various positions within the ABC until he retired in 1962.

The Gippsland Gate Radio and Electronics Club Inc (GGREC) re-enacted this feat ten years ago at the Historical Society and one of their members, Steve Harding, had access to Bill Bearup's diary and this is what Bill wrote on June 14, 1910, the day after he arrived at Koo Wee Rup. He was describing the radio station -
It is about a mile from the hotel in the middle of a paddock. The aerial is a 2-wire inverted to 400 feet long & about 60 feet high. The stations buildings comprise two rough, unpainted, wooden “shacks” – one for the instruments & one for the engine & dynamo. The walls inside have been coated with brown paper to keep out the cold. Inside! What an uproar! Wire, cells, valves, instruments, switches & so on just stuck anywhere & everywhere. No effort has been made to make the station permanent – it has been established purely as an experiment. The only set available is a kerosene case! Power is obtained from an A.W.(A).L. 1½ K.W. rotary converter driven as a dynamo by a “Sunshine” two stroke 5 H.P. petrol engine. The receiver is a Marconi type 55D giving adjustments up to 30,000 meters. Radio frequency is amplified six times (V.24 valves) & rectified by a seventh valve (Q). ‘Phones’ Browns low resistance. Kept the noon to 4pm watch & was relieved by Lamb. It appears that this station belongs to the Marconi Coy & not the Amalgamated Wireless, though operated by the latter. The idea is to collect scientific data to show whether direct communication with Europe is practicable. I wonder if we are all fully seized with the importance of our mission?

(1) Koo Wee Rup Sun, February 17, 1921.
(2) Koo Wee Rup Sun, June 2, 1921
(3) Koo Wee Rup Sun, June 2, 1921
(5) The Herald, May 23, 1923, see here.
(6) Koo Wee Rup Sun, September 29, 1921.
(7) Koo Wee Rup Sun, February 24, 1921
(8) Date of Bayles Station comes from Mickle Memories of Koo Wee Rup: for young and old, v.1 by Dave Mickle (The Author, 1983) p. 75, The date of the Catani Station openeing comes from The Argus, June 23, 1921, see here.
(9) The Advocate, February 24, 1921, see here.
(10) Koo Wee Rup Sun, August 4, 1921.
(11) The Advocate, September 29, 1921, see here.
(12) The Age, December 6, 1921 see here

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The case of the poisoned apple pie sent from the Garfield Post Office

The town of  Garfield featured in news in 1921, because of an attempted murder, which began with a parcel sent from the Garfield Post Office.

This is the story - in September a woman from Garfield was charged with the murder of her husband. Mary Jane Phillips was a widow, with a son about thirteen years old and she was a housekeeper for Francis Phillips and they lived at Ultima near Swan Hill (1).  They married in May 1920 and Mrs Phillips was living with her new husband until the November when she decided to visit her brother who lived in Garfield. Francis sent her £2 per week to live on and when she returned to her husband in January 1921, who was by then living at Girgarre, she allegedly told him that she was tired of married life (2) and made a mistake in marrying the second time (3). She then returned to Garfield and a report said that she afterwards took a position with a man named Scanlon to whom she presented herself as a widow and she refused to return to her husband (4). However, Mary and Francis wrote to each other and on occasions she said she would return to him and he sent her money for her fare, but she never returned.

At one time he sent her a cheque for £3, which he forgot to sign, so she signed his name and altered the amount to £13 and cashed it at a local shop. When the cheque got back to his bank they recognised the signature as a fake and refused to honour it. Mary later repaid the storekeeper the money and Francis did not report the matter to the police (5).

On September 30, 1921 it was reported that apparently intended as a peace offering, she sent her husband through the post a sponge cake and an apple pie. In the parcel she put a note, in which she told him to put jam on the sponge cake, and not to take any notice of the dark color of the apples, as that was due to the custard that was on them (6). The parcel was posted at Garfield and was received on September 15 and in due time Phillips started to eat the apple pie, and on taking the first mouthful he noticed an exceedingly bitter taste and spat it out. He then became suspicious and reported the matter to Senior Constable Evans of Kyabram who informed Supt. Ivey, and the latter instructed Detective Bruce to make inquiries (7) Detective Bruce had the food tested by the Government Analyst who discovered that the apple pie contained strychnine, even though the amount in the pie would not have been fatal.

Detective Bruce travelled to Garfield and arrested Mrs Phillips and she made a statement in which she confessed that she had put the poison in the pie with the intent to poison her husband (8).

Mary had a committal hearing at the Kyabram Police Court where she was sent for trial at the Bendigo Supreme Court. The Age reported that at the close of the case there was an affectionate meeting between accused and her husband (9).

The trial at Bendigo was held on October 15, 1921. Mary was charged with having attempted to administer poison to her husband, Francis William Phillips, with intent to murder (10).  Mary was described as being 47 years old and Francis as being 34. After hearing all the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the ground of insanity. The judge ordered that she be detained in gaol until the pleasure of the Governor be known (11).

I bought their marriage certificate and some of the information on it is inconsistent with the information reported in the newspapers. Mary and Francis were married on May 1, 1920 at St Pauls Church of England in Bendigo. Her age was listed as 40 and his as 30 and her birthplace was Rheola. Mary was listed as widow, her husband having died on April 25, 1911, she had two living children and her married name was Reeves. Mary’s parents were listed as John Thomas Smith and Jane Alice Millstead. I cannot find a marriage between her and a Mr Reeves which doesn’t mean that Mary was not telling the truth, but I believe she was a bit ‘creative’ in her information. 

The Index of the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDMs) list the birth, in Rheola, of a Thomas William Smith in 1890 to Mary Jane Smith, father unknown. There is also a listing for the birth of George Reeves Smith in 1909 in Bendigo. The mother is Mary Jane Smith and the father is unknown. I am fairly certain that these are 'our' Mary’s children and she said she was a widow to hide the fact that her children were born out of wedlock, which was a shameful thing in those days. She may well have lived with Mr Reeves, the mother of her second child as ‘man and wife’ especially as she used his surname, but because they weren’t married she could not put his name on the birth certificate as the father.

According to the BDMs, Mary was actually born in 1876 so she was 44 when she married Francis. Mary had eight siblings - John Thomas (born 1871), Josiah (1873), Susannah (1874), Alice Agnes (1880), William Edward (1883) and Robert Frederick (1885) Margaret Emma (1887) and Elizabeth Ellen Frances (1892). I haven’t worked out which of her brothers was living in Garfield in 1921, but it wasn’t Robert as he was wounded in action whilst fighting in Belgium and died of wounds on October 2, 1916 (12).

Francis was born in Palmerston, also known as Port Darwin, in what is now the Northern Territory in December 1888 to Francis William and Kate Winifred (nee Farrell) Phillips. He died at Warrandyte in 1969 at the age of 80 (13).

What happened to Mary after the trial? I don't know how long she was detained in gaol at the pleasure of the Governor. However, a Mary Jane Phillips died on April 17, 1965 at Fitzroy.  I bought the death certificate and it says she was 86, thus born around 1879.  She had a son named George Harold Reeves, aged 57, so born circa 1908. They lived at the same address, 1 Alexander Parade, Collingwood. Her first husband was listed as George Reeves and her second husband as Frank Phillips. I am sure this is 'our' Mary.  As for her two sons - the BDMs have a George Harold Reeves who died in 1981, aged 71 at Heidelberg - the father is listed as George Reeves, a mother as Mary Jane Phillips and birth place as Bendigo. Having found this I discovered that George served in the Army from 1936 until 1942. His 1936 enlistment paper has his address as Church Street, Werribee at the Metropolitan Farm, which was the sewerage treatment plant. His next of kin was his mother, Mrs M. J. Reeves, of the same address, so she was obviously no longer detained in either gaol or any other facility (14).  I don’t know anything else about her eldest son, Thomas William Smith. 

I know she tried to poison her husband, Francis, but I do hope that in the end she had some happiness in her life.

Trove list I have created a list on Trove on articles relating to Mary Jane and the trial, access it here.

(1) Benalla Standard, September 30, 1921, see here.
(2) The Age, October 7, 1921, see here.
(3) The Age, October 7, 1921, see here.
(4) Benalla Standard, September 30, 1921, see here.
(5) Benalla Standard, September 30, 1921, see here.
(6) Benalla Standard, September 30, 1921, see here.
(7) Benalla Standard, September 30, 1921, see here.
(8) Benalla Standard, September 30, 1921, see here.
(9) The Age, October 7, 1921, see here.
(10) Ballarat Star, October 19, 1921, see here.
(11) Weekly Times, October 22, 1921, see here.
(12) Robert Frederick Smith - Service number 747 - see file here at the National Archives https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1788351
(13) South Australian birth certificate and Index to Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages.
(14) George is listed on the World War Two Nominal Roll, https://nominal-rolls.dva.gov.au/home and his record at the National Archives is here https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=9310307

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Lang Lang Guardian and the Koo Wee Rup Sun

Dr Niel Gunson, in his book The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire (1) wrote this about local newspapers -  The changes in the local press symbolize the role of towns in the community. From 1889 to 1902 the press within the Shire was located at Cranbourne. The Mornington County Herald (to 1893) and the Cranbourne County Herald (to 1902) reflected the prosperity of the centre of the Shire at the end of the century. The first editor, Phillip Pitt Nind, (1848-1891) (2) was also proprietor of the Warragul Guardian. His son Vernon moved to Lang Lang in 1902 where he printed the Lang Lang Guardian in a tin shed in Roseberry Street. In 1903, he sold out to J.C. Ryan, and the Guardian was published at Lang Lang until 1918. In that year the press moved to Koo Wee Rup. The ‘succession’ being continued in the Koo Wee Rup Sun which also incorporates the Cranbourne Shire Record (1927-1937) (3).

This is a list of all the publishers of the Lang Lang Guardian and the Koo Wee Rup Sun.

The masthead for the first Lang Lang Guardian February 22, 1902.

Vernon Pitt Nind - first newspaper February 22, 1902; last paper March 21 1903. Vernon was born in 1874 in Walhalla to Phillip Pitt Nind and Janet Elizabeth Cue. He married Sophia Cutbush (born 1885) of Caldermeade at Christ Church of England, South Yarra on September 28, 1903. After leaving Lang Lang they are listed in the Electoral Rolls at Walhalla, Warracknabeal and Mildura. He was in the printing industry until around 1921 when his occupation is listed as a Inspector; he was the Health Inspector at Mildura. In July 1924 Sophia sued Vernon for maintenance for herself and her youngest child and she said that since the birth of her child in June 1924, Nind had accused her of infidelity, refused to live with her or support her. The Court ordered him to pay maintenance. In November 1925 he filed a petition for a divorce from Sophia on the grounds of her 'misconduct' with Thomas Perry, Chief Engineer of the Power House at Mildura. Nind claimed £750 in damages. Sophia and Thomas denied the allegations and the petition was dismissed and Nind was required to pay all costs. From the 1930s to the 1950s Nind was listed in the Electoral Rolls at Gisborne, occupation was Health Inspector. He died at the age of 92 in 1966 and the death was registered at Cheltenham. Sophia was living in St Kilda at the time of the divorce hearing. She was listed in Albert Park in the Electoral Rolls until 1949, when she moved to Sydney, where she died May 18, 1954.  I hope she had some happiness in her life (4). 

J. Cue Ryan - first paper March 28, 1903; last paper March 28, 1906. James Cue Ryan, was born in 1869 to James Ryan and Susan Cue. I believe that Susan was the sister of Janet Elizabeth Cue, the mother of Vernon Pitt Nind. This means James Cue Ryan and Vernon Pitt Nind were first cousins. From the 1920s until his death he was listed in the Electoral Rolls at Maffra, occupation journalist.  James  died in Sale in 1955, aged 86 (5)

H. Furze - first paper - April 4, 1906; last paper May 1, 1907. This is Henry Alfred Furze, listed in the Electoral Roll as a journalist, with his wife Eva Frances Furze.

H. Churchland - first paper May 8, 1907; last paper Dec 31, 1907. Even though this man is listed as H. Churchland, I believe this is Charles Churchland. In 1908 he sued the Victorian Railways as his furniture was destroyed by fire whilst in charge of the railway officers when in transit. Read a report in The Age of October 27, 1908, here. He was living in Mortlake but was called a newspaper proprietor at Lang Lang. 

D.T. Henderson  - first paper  January 8, 1908; last paper July 12, 1918. David Thomas Henderson, journalist, listed in the Electoral Rolls with his wife Gertrude. 

G. F Hopkins - first paper July 17, 1918;  last paper October 8,  1919. George Foster Hopkins. After he left the Koo Wee Rup Sun he moved to Willaura, then back to Garfield where he established the short-lived Garfield Gazette. In 1927 he started the Cranbourne and Berwick Shire News. It was reported on here in the South Bourke & Mornington Journal of January 13, 1927. 

The masthead for the first Koo Wee Rup Sun, July 17, 1918.

The second Koo Wee Rup Sun had the address of Sun Lane, Koo Wee Rup.

W. J. Bath & A. E. Millard -  first paper October 15, 1919. The partnership between Bath and Millard was dissolved in January 1932, when Mr Millard departed for Western Australia. The Electoral Rolls list Wilfred John Bath, printer, and his wife Olive Clarissa Bath. They celebrated their Ruby Wedding in 1952, according to a report in the Dandenong Journal of May 7, 1952, see here. The Electoral Rolls also list Albert Edward Millard, journalist.

Article about the dissolution of the partnership between Millard & Bath.
Dandenong Journal, Janaury 28, 1932  https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/201111504

W.J. Bath - first paper January 7, 1932. Mr Bath had the paper until 1955. We have the Koo Wee Rup Suns at the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society and 1956 and 1957 are missing, so I am unsure when he finished at the paper.

William F. Giles - was the publisher from at least January 1958; last paper August 20, 1975.

Christopher Gilbert Fisher - first paper August 27, 1975. The firm was later taken over by David Syme & Co, then the publisher of The Age (6).  The last Koo Wee Rup Sun we have at the Historical Society is 1981, so I presume it was the last year of publication. 

This is from August 1975 and as you can see the paper was no longer being printed in Koo Wee Rup.

(1) Gunson, Niel The Good County: Cranbourne Shire (Cheshire, 1968)
(2) Phillip Pitt Nind, read his obituary, which inlcudes a full account of his funeral in the Warragul Guardian of March 17, 1891, here.
(3) Gunson, op. cit., p. 216-217.
(4) Birth and death information from Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages and the New South Wales Indexes.  Marriage notice was in The Argus, October 15, 1903, see hereThe Argus July 11, 1924 has an account of the maintenance hearing, see here.  Reports of the Divorce hearing were in The Argus, November 19, 1925, here and The Herald, November 23 1925, here and The Age November 25, 1925, here. Electoral Rolls are available on Ancestry.
Sophia Nind's death notice from The Age May 20, 1954.

(5) Birth and death information from Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages. J. Cue Ryan's father, James, was also a 'pressman', you can read his obituary in the Gippsland Times of April 28, 1902 here and the Maffra Spectator of May 1, 1902, here. Electoral Rolls are available on Ancestry.
(6) Hooper, Fred The Good Country - 'Into the dawn of a new day' 1968-1988 Shire of Cranbourne (Shire of Cranbourne, 1988), p. 29.