William Underwood was one of the earliest settlers in the district, coming to Geelong in 1836. He was born on 10 August 1815 in Launceston to convict parents William Underwood and Catherine Lynch. He married Sarah Robinson in 1854. He took a prominent part in municipal government, having been a member of the old Connewarre road board, and later of the South Barwon shire council, where he served from 1874 until 1887. He was a zealous member and committeeman of the Geelong Agricultural Society, and until his health became seriously impaired a couple of years before his death he never missed the annual shows of the society. He was very healthy until he had an attack of paralysis, after which he became an invalid.
He purchased crown land in Connewarre which he farmed for 40 years until he died on 2 October 1891 aged 80 years. He added to his initial acquisition as land became available, owning 855 acres when he died. His estate was valued at £5190 which was left to his wife, Sarah, for life and at her death to his children equally. Sarah died on 20 January, 1907 at the age of 82. His farm "Oaklands", was sold on 14 March 1907 for £6,000.
William and Sarah were buried together in the Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.
Their children were:
William — born 1855, died 1858
Christopher — born 1855, died 1941
Sarah Isabella — born 1858, died 1943
William — born 1860, died 1937 Colac
Thomas Robinson — born 1861, died 1915
Catherine — born 1864, died 1866
Catherine — born 1866, died 1938
James — born 1868, died 1876
The land belonging to William Underwood which was sold at the auction on 14 March 1907 stretched from Breamlea Road and Shaws Lane in the west to the lake and from Belchers Road in the north to Bluestone School Road in the south. Barwon Heads Road ran through the farm. The Connewarre Presbyterian Church was built in 1916 on the south western corner of allotment G section XII on land donated by David Polly.
St Cuthbert's Church of England, built in 1911, was situated between the two cypresses on the Marshall Reserve in Marshalltown Road. It was built beside an old church which had originally been used also as a school. The old church was replaced by a Sunday School in 1922. When the congregation moved to Heyers Road, Grovedale the old church was moved to Cobbin Farm in Grove Road, Grovedale where it is often used for weddings.
A grand meadow fete was held in 1899 to procure funds to renovate the interior of the old church and to build a chancel if possible. By all reports in the Geelong Advertiser the fete was a huge success. A profit of £83 6s 5d was made. In appreciation of the hard work of the ladies, the church committee invited them to a picnic. By 1901 the advertisement for another meadow fete to be held was in aid of the new church building fund. For a number of years, before and after 1911, fetes and tea meetings were held to raise further funds. In 1913 it was a wisteria fete where the interior was decorated with wisteria which gave a dainty and pleasing effect. The new church was dedicated by the Archbishop of Melbourne on 10 June 1911. Councillors and officers of the Shire of South Barwon were invited to attend. In 1916, after the debt on the church had been paid, the proceeds of the fete went towards gas lighting in the church. In 1917 two honour rolls were unveiled. Parishioners, relatives and friends of those whose names were on the boards attended the church for the service on Sunday evening 15 March. There was a parade of the Young Men's Club, whose roll contained 18 names of members who had enlisted.
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