Taits Point was named after an early settler in the area, James Tait, who arrived in Melbourne on the Palmyra on 25 November in 1839 with his wife Helen (née Easton), his son Alexander (aged 2) and daughter Agnes who was born as the Palmyra was coming into port. Agnes married Ewing Blyth on 26 October 1859 at Connewarre. An older daughter, Ann (aged 4), died during the voyage. James was the son of Alexander and Margaret (née Younger) Tait. On arrival they were employed by Charles Williamson. In 1840 James Tait was employed by John McVean on a run at Connewarre. On 5 November 1855 they selected 126 acres at what is now Taits Point at the end of what is now Staceys Road. They called their land Connewarre from an aboriginal name meaning black swan. They cleared the land and planted a market garden. Their children born in the Geelong district were:
Alexander — born in 1842 in Geelong, died on 18 June 1917 aged 75 at Connewarre, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
George — born in 1844 in Geelong, married Jane Gill in 1872, married Mary Jane Blair in 1887, died on 3 June 1923 at Mount Duneed, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Ann — born in 1846 in Geelong, died on 9 April 1940 aged 93½, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
James Easton — born in 1851, died 16 December 1894
Robert — born 1851, died 15 March 1933 aged 46 at Mount Duneed, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Helen Younger — born 1854 at Geelong, married Robert Henry Blair in 1875, died in 1926 aged 72 at Port Campbell
Margaret Janet — born 1856, died 17 November 1935 aged 79 at Geelong, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Elizabeth — born 1859, married William Scott, died 8 July 1926 aged 66, buried in the Church of England section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
James was a member of the Connewarre Road Board for five years.
Connewarre had been a tribal area for members of the Wathaurong tribe for hundreds of years. Convict William Buckley who had escaped from the first penal settlement at Port Phillip in 1803 lived with the tribe in this area for many years.
Between Geelong and Barwon Heads the Barwon River flows through a series of shallow tide-affected lakes and swamps. These are Lake Connewarre, Reedy Lake, Hospital and Salt Swamps. Taits Point was formed by a basalt flow from Mount Duneed damming the river to form Reedy Lake. The lakes were subsequently connected when the river channel finally eroded through the basalt. Prior to European settlement the river was salty upstream of Geelong. Two breakwaters were built to provide fresh water for the early settlement and industry in Geelong.
The number of Wathawurrung people who occupied this area had declined rapidly after 1830.
James Tait died on 12 October 1883 and is buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery. His wife, Helen who died on 3 November 1899 is buried with him. Many of their descendants are still living in the Connewarre and Mount Duneed area today.
When Ewing Blyth was 21 in 1853, he left Norwich England to come to Australia on the Earl of Charlemont. His name on the passenger list was Ewing Bligh. He had been accused of shooting the squire's bullock and was in fear of being deported as a convict. He had allowed his name to be incorrectly used so his whereabouts could not be easily traced. After the ship was wrecked, he repeated this event by shooting a bullock to feed the survivors off the ship. This beast belonged to James Tait who had settled at Tait's Point on Lake Connewarre and who later became his father-in-law.
Ewing Blyth gained work in the district and two years later married Agnes, the 16 year old daughter of James Tait at Connewarre. They spent all their lives living in Lake Road on the banks of the Barwon River. Their family of five boys and 5 girls were:
James Tait Blyth — born 20 September 1860 in Connewarre, died 26 Jun 1943 in Preston aged 83, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Frances Blyth — born 31 July 1862, married William Spencer 1888, died 19 March 1940 Geelong
Ellen Blyth — born 29 October 1864 in Connewarre, married John Elijah Kempton 1888, died 19 May 1953 Geelong
Benjamin Blyth — born 1 April 1867, married Ann Ford 1895, died 24 November 1918
Ewing John Blyth — born 1869, married Emma Isabella Taylor 1905, died 26 October 1951
Robert Ewing Blyth — born 1872, married Elisabeth Ann Martin Cameron 1896, died 1949
Mary Ann Blyth — born on 5 November 1874, married John Ford 1897, died 1945 in Geelong
Elizabeth Blyth (Bessie) — born 1877 at Mount Duneed, died 1898
Agnes Blyth — born 1879 at Mount Duneed, married Charles Marriott Burt, died 24 November 1952
Annie Blyth — born 1882 at Mount Duneed, died 22 May 1914 at Geelong
Alexander Tait Blyth — born 1884 in Mount Duneed, married Esther Hannah Challis in 1910, died 1970 in Connewarre
He was a South Barwon Shire councillor serving from 1874 until 1875.
Agnes died on 25 February 1920 and is buried in the Church of England section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery. Ewing died on 1 June 1925 and is buried with her. Their daughter Annie who died on 22 May 1914 is buried with them. Ewing Blyth Drive, a road which runs south from the Barwon Heads Hotel, is named after him. Many of their descendants still live in the district.
James Noble, eldest son of William and Jane (née Gray) Noble, was born in 1821 in County Tyrone, Ireland. He was the first of his family to arrive in the colony in 1840 at the age of 19 on the ship Ferguson. He initially set up business as a grocer. He was followed to the colony by his brothers John and William and sister Mary Jane in 1848. Two other brothers, George and Charles, and his father William came later. His mother died in County Tyrone, Ireland on 29 April 1855. Two sisters did not emigrate. He invested in vast amounts of real estate in the Geelong district and other areas as they were opened up for farming. He also had many business interests.
The VFL consisted of six teams (Geelong, Richmond, South Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood and Fitzroy) each playing the other three times. Teams had 18 players and no reserves. Collingwood were premiers and the leading goalkicker was Dick Lee of Collingwood. Richmond took the "wooden spoon". Players were amateurs with players paying their own expenses. Geelong donated profits to war funds.
The grave of William and Mabel Ellis next to the grave of their son George
Six of these blocks purchased by William Batten have a frontage to Boundary Road, four have a frontage to Batten Road and two have Barwon Heads Road running through them. When he died he owned four farms in the Parish of Connewarre which were mentioned in his will by the names Robert's Farm (leased to M Muller), Hill's Farm (leased to Thomas Cadwallader), Munro's Farm (leased to John Bogan) and Mount Batten (leased to M O'Dea). He owned other blocks in Marnock Vale, Newtown and Geelong.
Four blocks in section I on the corner of Brearleys Lane, Sparrovale and Tannery Roads, Marshall were purchased from the crown on 23 July, 1855 by William Roberts Batten
John Armstrong was born in 1809, the fourth child of William and Elizabeth Armstrong. He married Veronica (usually called Vair) Scott in Scotland on 27 February, 1829. In 1839 they sailed for Australia from Greenock as bounty immigrants on the barque Palmyra. They brought with them their sons, William (aged 10), Robert Grieve (aged 6), Thomas (aged 4) and John (aged 2) and one daughter Jemima (sometimes Gemima) Scott (aged 8). Another son, Peter Brown Palmyra, was born on the voyage. He was named after the ship and its captain. Another six children were born to the couple in Australia. John and Vair were employed by Ann Drysdale of Coriyule from January 1941 to December 1844, John to plough and shepherd, Vair to cook and wash and the oldest two boys, William and Robert Grieve, to shepherd. They had brought livestock with them and after working hard and acquiring more sheep they settled at Bush Station which was also called River Station. John also had leased Black Forest and Allan Vale between 1850 and 1856. John became one of the best stud-masters in Victoria having come from many generations of sheep farmers in Scotland.
John suffered from diabetes and died on 17 October 1856 at the age of 47. Vair died on 13 June 1877 aged 68. They were buried in the Presbyterian section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. In 1857 his land was subdivided and sold and the stock were sold in a separate sale. Lot 2 with the homestead on 60 acres sold for £840. John's 320 acre block was situated with Torquay Road on the west side, Stewarts Road to the south, Horseshoe Bend Road to the east and Burvilles Road to the north. Armstrong Creek ran through the block. Each block had access to the creek.
Bush station was sometimes called River Station. Section M was bound by Torquay, Burvilles, Horseshoe Bend and Stewarts Road, Mount Duneed. Stewarts Reserve is the land south of this land with the creek running through it. It remained crown land. Members of the Watherong tribe who lived on this land often walked into Geelong but returned here at night. They were quiet people who made no trouble.
The monument of John Armstrong in a large plot in the Presbyterian section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. It was erected by the Geelong Free Church of which he was an elder for many years as a token of the regard in which he was held. Buried with him was his wife Vair who died on 13 June 1877 aged 68 years. Their 6th son Adam who was born on 5 November 1841 and died at Coriyule Drysdale on 8 December 1841 is also buried here.
In 1850 daughter, Jemima (née Armstrong), married John MacVean (often called McVean). Both were born is Scotland. They had eleven children, the last three being born in Cressy, which indicates the family had shifted to this area by 1865. They were both buried in the Presbyterian section of the St Kilda Cemetery. Alexander, Annie and Armstrong Poliah MacVean were buried with them.
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