According to family history John and Janet Harkness arrived in Australia about 1840, however shipping records show they arrived on the Garland as assisted immigrants on July 1852. Their ages given were:
John — 42
Janet — 44
James — 20
William — 18
Edward — 15
John — 8
Janet — 5
The family settled at Mount Duneed on land known as Rock Hill Farm.
Stonemasons, John and his son James were the builders of the Church of England school and church erected in 1863 to replace a primitive earlier building. They also built the Wesleyan church and many other stone buildings in the Mount Duneed district. Both churches were destroyed in the 1944 fire which swept the district.
Fifty seven year old John Harkness was described as an elderly man after an accident on Torquay Road near Smart's paddock. He was driving home with Edward, his 28 year old son when they were both thrown from their dog cart, the older man being killed. The rear wheel of their cart had gone over a heap of road metal and the horse had fallen pitching them out. They had been drinking at the Barwon Bridge Hotel in South Geelong when they stopped for another drink at Grovedale, but Felix Mulholland, the publican at Germantown (Grovedale), refused to serve them any liquor as they were both intoxicated. They were found next morning and the body taken to the Bay View Hotel at Grovedale until the inquest. Edward was later taken to Geelong Hospital.
Inquests were often held in hotels as the body could be kept cool in the cellar. The Bay View Hotel, on the corner of Heyers Road, was later purchased as a Lutheran manse.
He was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery on 31 December 1864. His wife Janet née Armstrong died on 30 August 1884 and was buried with him.
Their five children who were born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland were:
James Harkness, married Rebecca Weild, buried 22 June 1919 at Mount Duneed Cemetery
William Armstrong Harkness, married Elizabeth Cronin, died 1914, buried 25 March at New Ballarat Cemetery
Edward Harkness, died of pneumonia on 7 July 1903 at Mungindi, NSW
John Harkness, probably died young
Janet Armstrong, known as Jessie, married Samuel Town, lived at Bendigo.
The next meeting of the Mount Duneed History Group is at 7:30 on Thursday 1 December. This will be the Christmas breakup. Participants are asked to bring something old to talk about or a plate of supper.
The former Bible Christian Siloam Chapel built in 1858 in Considines Road Modewarre, is the earliest known Bible Christian Chapel in Victoria, and only one of three known surviving former Bible Christian Chapels in the state. The Bible Christian Church was brought to South Australia through emigrant Cornish miners, and soon spread to Victoria. The Modewarre church became a centre for temperance lectures in the district with speakers from the Geelong Band of Hope. 1 January 1902 saw the re union of the five separate and competing sections of the Methodist Church throughout the Commonwealth of Australia. The parent body, the Wesleyan Methodists were joined with the Primitive Methodists, United Methodist Free Churches, Bible Christians and the New Connexion to form "The Methodist Church of Australasia".
The Band of Hope was founded in United Kingdom in 1847 and established in Australia by 1860 during a time when excessive drinking among adults was common, adding to the problems of poor living conditions and health, and maltreatment of children and child mortality. Alcohol was freely available to children. The organisation had a policy of education particularly with the young. Many Bands of Hope were associated with Churches and Sunday Schools. The Band of Hope targeted children of parents who wanted their children to be educated and have a secure future. It was seen by many adults as a way to develop self-reliant working men who could use temperance as a route to self improvement.
To encourage children to join and remain members, groups held annual outings, tea meetings, offered music lessons, established orchestras and produced newspapers whose content promoted temperance. Meetings began with a temperance hymn, prayers and the chairman's speech, this was followed by music, recitations, readings and pledge signing.
Queen Victoria became patron in 1897, the Jubilee year, and several celebrations were held. In some ways it could be said that the success of the Band of Hope caused its own decline. As alcohol misuse became less of a problem and as legislation improved there seemed to be less need to work so fervently in this area.
The Grovedale station which was on the west side of Torquay Road had a platform on the south side of the tracks. This station was originally on the east side of Torquay Road but was shifted in 1913 to the west side of the crossing. It was named Germantown when it opened but was changed to Grovedale in 1916 when the suburb of the same name was changed during World War I. The station opened on 25 November 1876 and closed on 1 January 1954. The railway gates were closed at midnight and it was necessary to get the station master out of bed to get them opened.
The station also served as the local post office. When the station closed the post office shifted to a private house. Mrs Parrott operated the post office in the 1960s when it shifted to 291 Torquay Road. It was open in the mornings only and operated from a window which was opened when customers arrived. The first mail deliveries were made in the 1960s in a car. The post office then shifted to a shop in Peter Street and was operated by Des Coughlin.
The first post office at Grovedale was the Germantown Post Office situated at the store attached to Benari's Germantown Hotel on the east side of Torquay Road. Albert Benari was the postmaster from the time it opened on 20 January 1860 until his death on 27 May 1886.
A railway station in Boundary Road, east of Ghazepore Road, called Duneed was in the vicinity of the new Waurn Ponds station. This station opened on 25th November, 1876 and closed on 1st January, 1921.
Until the Marshalltown Post Office was closed on 30 June 1979, it was reputed to be Victoria's smallest post office. At 6 feet 6 inches square it had stood on the Marshall station platform since 1873 until the station closed in 1953. It was then shifted across the road to the front yard of a former Victorian Railways residence that was once the station master's home. Mrs Elsie Taylor, the last post mistress and her husband Angus, who was a foreman at the VR works depot at Spotwswood donated the building to the Bellarine Railway. The little building was taken on a trailer to the Drysdale station on Saturday 19 April, 1980. It was placed on the platform and became the booking office when the tourist railway began operating. In 1989 when a replice station building was completed at Drysdale it was moved to Lakers Siding.
In 1978 a committee was formed to make suitable arrangements for a celebration of the opening of the state school 100 years prior. A book was produced documenting not only the history of the school but also the history of Mount Duneed, its early settlers and events up to the time of publication. A large crowd also enjoyed the historical display.
The following arrangements were proposed:
11 March — Welcome by chairman at 1:45 pm. Official opening by prominent member of the public. Roll Call. Unveiling of plaque. Tree planting by oldest pupil present. Visitors book to be signed. Geelong West Technical School Band to provide music. Sale of Sherry Glasses with appropriate motif. Raffle consisting of 1st prize — hamper of groceries, 2nd prize — fruit cake and bottle of champagne, 3rd prize — box of chocolates. (all prizes donated). Sweets and soft drinks available. Hiring of amplifier from former pupil. Donation box to be available. Name tags supplied. Afternoon tea supplied by ladies. A centenary cake donated and decorated by former pupil. The cake to be in two blues, colour of the school, with a picture of the original school on top. To be cut by oldest former lady pupil present.
12 March — Church service to begin at 1:30 pm to be an ecumenical service to be followed by afternoon tea at the school.
Shire of Barrabool and City of South Barwon both donated $100 towards the celebrations.
In 1928 a committee was formed to arrange the jubilee celebrations. Mr Rainford was chairman and treasurer. Messrs J Wohlers and J Alford were joint secretaries assisted by local ladies.
Back to school commenced at 10 o'clock with all seats filled. Mr AG White, from a position on a lorry, introduced the Hon HF Richardson, MLC — councillor and past president of the Shire of South Barwon. He also presented trophies. Councillor Richardson (a former resident of Mount Duneed) who knew Mr Abercrombie, the first teacher, presented the school with a photo of the former teacher. Mr W Burville unveiled this photo. The oldest visitor in attendance was Mrs Jacka who was in her 90s. She was the grandmother of Captain Albert Jacka VC. A sports carnival was held in a paddock lent by Mr Anderson.
A sports carnival was arranged for the younger generation in the next door paddock lent by Albert Anderson. The programme included a motor cycle race, bicycle race, pole vault, high jump, Siamese race, musical chairs, potato race, apple eating and balloon race. The results were published in the Geelong Advertiser on Wednesday 4 April 1928, page 10.
A concert held in the evening was described by Melbourne visitors as one of the most pleasant they had ever experienced. At the concert Mr Harkness of Colac, one of the old scholars, moved a vote of thanks to all who had assisted in making the reunion so successful.
Hillside is a single storey homestead built of basalt with a slate roof. It was substantially altered by the addition of an early 20th Century art nouveau style veranda.
Alexander Fyfe erected Hillside in 1862. The land was originally taken up by him in 1855 and was intended to be a two storied home. After the ground floor was completed, Captain Fyfe chartered a ship to bring decorative temple stones from Burma for the second storey. The ship was lost at sea and the captain was unable to complete his home. He died on 8 May 1903 at the age of 76. He arrived in Australia with his wife in 1848 on the ship Stag. All of their ten children survived. He was a very prominent public figure in the early days of Victoria and Queensland, having been elected to the first Legislative Council for Geelong in the middle fifties at the early age of 24 years. He was the first person to open up a foreign trade between Geelong and the East Indies, having as many as five sailing vessels trading between these places. Migrating to Queensland in 1861 he took over a large squatting property. In 1868 he was elected to represent Rockhampton, and held the seat until 1874, when he returned to Victoria.
James Henty then purchased the house, adding the land to his holdings nearby and used it as a country holiday home for a few years.
James Stewart tendered for a four year lease of 682 acres for the years 1875-1879.
Andrew White arrived in Australia in 1853 with wife Emily aboard the James L Bogert. He ran livery stables in Geelong which were well established by 1856. Emily died in 1861. His second wife Jane died in 1871. He had large land holdings in Connewarre. He purchased Hillside in 1878 and moved from Stretton Park with his family soon after. He became a councillor in the Barrabool Shire in 1878 and served until 1886. In July 1885 he was appointed a justice of the peace. He was also a South Barwon Shire councillor and served for ten years between 1878 and 1899 with several terms as president (1878-1879, 1885-1887, 1889, 1894, 1895-1896 and 1898-1899). He died intestate on 28 May 1900 in his 72nd year. His estate was valued at £51,147. His children at this time were:
Alfred Gilbert White of Hillside Mount Duneed
Emily Ann McGregor of Morangarell, NSW
Henrietta Jane Whitelaw of Fitzroy Street, Geelong
Adeline Charlotte Collins of Prospect Road, Newtown
Laura Amelia Richardson of Pevensey Crescent, Geelong
His third son Alfred Gilbert (1868-19 January 1946) purchased Hillside from his father's estate in 1900 and lived there until his death. He was a former pupil of Mount Duneed School from 1878 until 1880. He was the municipal clerk at South Barwon Shire from 1894-1900, and served on the South Barwon Council for 46 years from 1900 until his death on 19 January 1946 being president for the following terms — 1903-1904, 1906-1907, 1921-1922 and 1931-1933. He married Elizabeth Orchard Matthews. His children were Mildred Bessie (born 1895), Constance (born 1897), Ruth Audry (born 1899) Douglas Alfred (born 1900), Noel Stretton (born 1902) and John Wilfred (born 1907).
Thursday 3 November at 7:30pm
at Mount Duneed Hall, 40 Mount Duneed Road, Mount Duneed
Col Hutchinson — 100 years of history — 1866 1916 1966
Together They Served
Torquay Museum Without Walls
Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History