Charles John, son of Nicholas Belfield and Eliza (née Lascelles) Dennys, was born in 1818 in England. He was an early settler of Geelong, arriving in the colony in 1842.
He married his cousin Martha Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Allen Lascelles, on 8 November 1855 at Trinity Church at Barrabool. They had the following children:
Ethel — born 9 Jun 1857, married Edward Harewood Lascelles on 21 February 1889 at Christ Church, died in 1952 at South Yarra aged 95
unnamed female — born 4 September 1858, died soon after of spinal injuries caused by extreme fright which happened to mother during pregnancy
Laura — born 9 August 1859, married Holford Highlord Wettenhall, died in 1932 at Armadale aged 73 years.
Emmeline — born 19 November 1861, died 1941 at Toorak aged 79
In 1847 he bought the Barwon Melting Establishment, a tallow-rendering works below the breakwater. In 1850 a leather warehouse was added. Back then both sides of the river were called Breakwater. Now the area north of Waurn Ponds Creek is known as Belmont and the area south of the creek is called Marshall. Early in 1851 Dennys decided to retire from the business for a while and took a trip to England. After he returned he decided to put the melting establishment up for sale. The sale was on 28 August 1854, but the buildings did not sell. By November he was successful in renting out the business to Samuel Bradley Corrigan. On 19 June 1857 Corrigan decided to buy the works for £1400.
Dennys then concentrated on wool broking and the selling of wool by auction. He leased the large stores erected by George Armytage on Victoria Terrace (now Western Beach Road) and west of Gheringhap Street. He had a number of partnerships. In 1868 the business purchased an old coal yard on the corner of Moorabool and Brougham Streets where they built an imposing bluestone wool store and offices. This building is now occupied by the National Wool Museum.
He was appointed First Secretary of the District Council of Grant on 19 October 1843. He was one of the first councillors of the Shire of South Barwon, serving from 1857 to 1859.
In 1851 Dennys had bought five farms from W C Haines at Barrabool which he leased out to farmers including Giacomo Auchetto and R Woodward.
He lived at Claremont (then called Claremont Hall), in Noble Street, Newtown from 1876 until his death on 4 February, 1898 aged 80 years. He was survived by his children Laura, Emmeline and Ethel. Martha had died at Claremont on 11 April, 1896 at the age of 72. The flags were flying at half-mast on various wool warehouses and several private buildings on Monday 13 April as a mark of respect on the day of her interment at the Eastern Cemetery. The funeral cortege was a lengthy one.
June is a descendant of two of the early families settling in Grovedale — the Hartwichs and the Winters. She is also a descendant of the Burvilles and Radfords that settled in Mount Duneed. She has a great story to tell about the evolution of the community and the effects of World War 1 on a settlement once called Germantown. Through marriage her family tree extends to a wide number of names that are well known to history buffs in the area. Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting and stay for a cuppa afterwards.
James Palmer was born about 1856. He married Eva, daughter of Frederick and Evangaline Withers, and had the following children:
Henry Wallace — born about 1884 at Port Augusta SA, died 1972 at North Geelong
Elsie May — born 1885 at Richmond
Minnie — born 1887, died 1888 at Newtown
Albert Roy — born 1889
Arthur Stanley (Stan) — born 1890 at Geelong, husband of Dorothy Irene (Dot) née Twitt, killed in action in France on 25 January 1917 (one daughter Dorothy (Bonnie) Jean born 1915 at Geelong)
James Reginald (Reg) — born 1893 at Geelong West, died 1977 at Coburg
Horace Leslie — born 1895 at Geelong, died 1978 at Ferntree Gully
Ivy Myrtle (Myrtle) — born 1898 at Geelong
Norman Clifford — born 1901 in Geelong
James died on 1 February 1922 at the age of 66 at his residence at Grovedale and was buried in the Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. Eva died in September 1929 at St Kilda at the age of 72 and was buried with him.
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.
100 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
King George V was monarch, Billy Hughes was prime minister, Gough Whitlam, 21st prime minister of Australia was born and three year old Sasanof won the Melbourne Cup.
The first plebiscite on the issue of military conscription was held; it was defeated. 25 April was officially named and widely observed as Anzac Day.
The Victorian Football League was feeling the strain of World War 1. Attendances were affected, only four clubs competed (Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond) and teams were missing players. Geelong among many other teams, refused to play on "patriotic grounds". Fitzroy won the wooden spoon and the premiership in the same year, finishing fourth out of four and also winning the grand final.
Melbourne receives its highest annual rainfall.
The old Connewarre Presbyterian Church, at 1411 Barwon Heads Road, Connewarre is now used by the Geelong Aero Club. It has skillion roofed extentions at the front and back and a doorway near the rear of the body of the church which has been closed off. Originally the door probably looked like the one at St Cuthbert's Church of England at Marshall which was built 5 years earlier and in a similar style.
Connewarre Presbyterian Church was erected in 1916 on a block given by Mr D Polley on the corner of Staceys (then Lake) and Barwon Heads Roads, as it was decided that the old building was beyond repair. The architects, Laird & Buchan called for tenders in May and the successful applicant was Mr H Rose. The church was weatherboard on the outside with Californian redwood and beaverwood on the interior built in the Federation Carpenter Gothic style. It had a gable roof with skillion-roofed extentions each end and leadlight windows in the gothic style. The pulpit for the church had come from St Andrew's in Geelong. It would seat 100 people.
The church was crowded for two services held on 8 October to commemorate the opening of the church. At the morning service Mr RC Blyth, chairman of the Board of Management, gave a short address, then handed a silver key to Mr R Fuller sen., the oldest church member, who opened the church. The celebrations continued the following Tuesday with a tea meeting and concert. There was a large attendance and the sum of £22 was obtained. The total expenses of building the church amounted to £350 of which over £200 had been paid off.
In 1977 the church became the Connewarre Uniting Church, and about a year later it closed and was sold to the Geelong Aero Club.
150 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
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.
Cobbin farm is a group of buildings in Grovedale owned by Geelong council. The house, originally named Pine Grove, was built in 1847 by Alexander Pennell, who purchased 508 acres of Crown land. This land stretched from Waurn Ponds Creek to Boundary Road. It was later purchased by August Hartwich in the 1880s. It is now used as a community house. The chapel was originally St Cuthbert's Church of England and was shifted from its site at Marshall. It often used for weddings.
On 6 September 1865 his son Robert Johnston Tuffs drowned at the age of 16.
Another son, John Robert Tuffs born in 1866 at Grovedale, was the second engineer of the Shire of South Barwon from September 1890 to 1915 and the engineer of the Borough of Newtown and Chilwell from 1900 to 1921. He had wide experience at other shires. Living at Leigh Creek he became secretary and engineer of the Bungaree Shire Council about four years prior to his death on 12 August 1942.
He died while driving his car to Melbourne when he was overcome by a heart attack. He lost control of the car, which crashed through a fence and fell over a 20 foot embankment. The mishap occurred within three of four miles of Bacchus Marsh on the Ballarat side, in the vicinity of the Pentland hills. He left a widow and two daughters. He was buried at the Ballarat Cemetery.
An early map dated 1855 shows a park and reserve of 36 acres. In the north east corner of the reserve a block is reserved for a cemetery. In April 1863 the South Barwon Council wrote to the president of the Board of Land and Works to oppose the establishment of a cemetery in this location. The area had a Lutheran cemetery and most of the residents were of this faith.
TM Burke Pty Ltd began accumulating land in Grovedale in the 1950s. Development, when it took place, was to be as a satellite township with a green belt, in the area of Waurn Ponds Creek, to separate it from Belmont. Early in the 1960s the first and probably largest subdivision of this land was marketed. Karnn Street had its name changed to Highfield Drive after it was found to be confused with Karana Avenue and Kana Street.
TM Burke, a businessman and philanthropist, was born in Ararat in 1870. He contested the 1914 election as the Labor candidate for Corangamite but was defeated. He worked for the railways after leaving Ararat High School and then turned to real estate when he could buy land in the depressed market of the war years. He then subdivided and sold it on low deposits and easy terms in the immediate post war period. As a Catholic benefactor he bought Studley Hall in Kew and gave it to the Jesuits as a preparatory school for Xavier College. It became known as Burke Hall. His large donations helped to establish Corpus Christi College, Werribee. He was a member of all major racing clubs and an owner of successful racehorses. He died of cancer in 1949. His portrait hangs in the library of Burke Hall.
Geelong's first radio station, 3GL, transmitted from the block on the corner of Heyers and Bieske Roads from October 1938 until late in 1980. The aerial was 138 feet high. The Residents living close to this area found it caused interference with some radio stations, and also could be heard on the phone. In 1975 the Grovedale Progress Association wrote to the manager of 3GL informing him that residents were dissatisfied with this.
A mixed business operated from a shop built on the corner of Burdoo Drive and Heyers Road (lot 26). Mrs Sceney ran this business for many years. A pharmacy was later built next to this shop about 1970. In 1978 the two shops were demolished to make way for the new arcade style shopping complex. This shopping centre built by Hooker Developments contained sixteen shops plus a supermarket. The popularity of these shops suffered when the new Waurn Ponds centre opened. It was subsequently re-developed to give all shops access to the carpark to the north.
100 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
1915 was not a particularly good year. A monumental drought had caused the crops to fail, the wool clip to be low and the price of chaff to rise. The Great War was continuing longer than expected and the Spanish flu and meningitis epidemics were a constant fear.
Two soldiers who were buried at Mount Duneed Cemetery in 1915 both died of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis before they left Australia. They were Charles Henry Challis and Joseph Paul Lugg.
Born at Mount Duneed in 1878 Private Charles Henry Challis, who enlisted on 13 July 1915, a farmer from Connewarre died in the Bendigo Hospital on 10 September 1915 aged 37. He was the son of Harry and Sarah Ann (nee Porter) Challis.
His brother Private Edwin Challis, a foreman who lived at Connewarre was born at Mount Duneed in 1882. He was wounded in action on 14 June 1918. After re-joining his unit he died from injuries caused by an accident on a farm on 18 December 1918. He was buried at the Maubeuge Communal Cemetery.
A third son Private Sydney Gordon Challis, a farmer, enlisted on 17 April 1916. He was born at Mount Duneed in 1896 and was declared killed in action on 11 April 1917 by Court of Enquiry.
Private Francis Henry Challis a former farmer born on 8 December 1883 at Barwon Heads was a railway employee married to Elsie May and living at Sandringham prior to enlistment. He was declared killed in action on 12 May, 1917 by Court of Enquiry in the vicinity of Bullecourt. He had one son. He was the son of Francis Henry and Jessie Elizabeth Challis.
Private William Jacob Fuller, a farmer from Connewarre, was declared killed in action at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He had been missing for nineteen months. He was the 25 year old son of Robert and Susanna (née McLeary) Fuller. He is remembered on his parents gravestone in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery.
Percy George Graham, son of John George Graham and Caroline Matilda née Vagg, was killed in action at Gallipoli on 2 May 1915. Before enlistment he was a farmer from Connewarre. He is remembered at the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey and also on his parents headstone in the Methodist section at Mount Duneed Cemetery.
Charles Altmann, son of John Altmann and Louisa Weelhouse (née Schneider) of Mount Duneed, was killed in action at Gallipoli on 29 November 1915 at the age of 24 years. His brother Alfred Altman enlisted in 1915 in Nagambie but was discharged in the following year as medically unfit after diptheria followed by post diptheritic neuritis affecting his sight and legs.
Rev George Allen Stewart
On 6 September 1915 Rev George Allen Stewart, aged 36 years, died of wounds at Alexandria. He was a Presbyterian Minister and Corporal in the 6th Reinforcements, 14th Infantry Battalion. He was the third son of John and Mary Stewart of Dhuliebeeil, Mount Duneed. He was buried at Chatby Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt. On Sunday morning 10 September a marble tablet was unveiled in the Pyramid Hill Presbyterian Church erected to the memory of the late Corporal George Stewart, who was a previous minister of the church. The brothers of the deceased soldier Mr AM Stewart of Lake Charm and Mr J Stewart of Mount Duneed were present at the ceremony. His name was listed on the Mount Duneed State School Honour Roll.
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