Edward Wilks Gibson was a wool classer and honorary secretary of the Geelong and Western District Woolclassers' Association. He was a South Barwon councillor, serving from 1894 until 1899. He was president in 1896-97. He carried on a business at Marshalltown for 30 years.
He married Mary Ann Cameron in 1888. They had the following children:
Wilberthe — born 1890
Edward John — born 1893 Geelong, died 1981 at Elsternwick aged 89
Edward died on 22 November 1953.
You might ask what are these occupations.
A fellmonger is a dealer in fells or sheepskins, who separates the wool from the pelts. He is the person who prepares the skin prior to leather making. The wool was then scoured. A wool scouring factory might have bought fleeces and then scoured the wool.
A tanner is the person who processes the skins to produce leather.
A currier applies the dressing, and colouring to the tanned hide to make it strong, flexible and waterproof.
Boiling down is the process of rendering fat from animal carcasses to produce tallow. Tallow was used for making soap and candles. It brought the price of old animals up considerably and was a boost to the farmer when animal prices were low.
Glue is produced by the boiling of animal connective tissue.
Bone mills produce fertiliser and glue by processing animal bones.
These industries were an important part of Geelong's economy. Hundreds of men were employed at these factories. At first the river was used to wash the skins. Later they were washed in vats. The area probably smelled like the abattoirs and sale yards at Newmarket in Melbourne which I remember well from my childhood. Maybe it was worse.
A number of streets have names that reflect the activities carried on in the area:
Tanner Street, Leather Street, Currier Street and Fellmongers Road in Breakwater
Woolscour Lane and Tannery Road in Marshall
Some of the owners of factories on the south and west side of the Barwon were (from North):
Charles John Dennys, sold to Samuel Bradley Corrigan
Patrick McDonald and Lawrence Webster, later leased by George Kingsbury and George Connor, later became Corrigans
Charles Frederick Palmer
Joseph and Sharp Brearley
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.
Joseph married Jane Hillard's sister, Margaret, on 25 March 1852 at St James Cathedral, Melbourne. Their children were:
Joseph Henry "Harry" — born 1853, married Mary Elizabeth Gillot on 20 September 1881, died 29 June 1918 at 5 Crimea Street, St Kilda aged 65
Hannah — married Johann Christian Richard Ohiff on 30 May 1881
Rebecca Elizabeth — born 1857, married William James Joseph Gallagher in 1883
Josephine Louisa — born 1859, married Robert Imray on 1 May 1882
Annie Maria — married Conrad Kollmann on 22 December 1889
Victoria — born 1862, married Ernest Castles on 19 May 1885
Robert George Hillard — born 30 June 1864
Margaret "Maggie"— born 1866 at Hawthorn, died 18 November 1901
John Frederick William — born 1868 at Kew
Edna — married Alan Roberts
Alfred — born 1871, died 29 July 1972 at Clifton House, Studley Park, Kew
Joseph was prominent in local sporting organisations and was elected a member of the Geelong Town Council, serving from 1864 until 1966. During the 1880s he left Geelong and moved with his family to Melbourne where he went into the leather business.
Margaret had a severe stroke on 6 June 1885 and died at her residence in Waltham Street, Richmond the next day, aged 53. She was buried in the Church of England section of the Boroondara Cemetery. Joseph died on 24 May 1911 at Balaclava, his daughter Rebecca Gallagher's home, aged 88. He was buried with his late wife.
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.
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.
The Geelong Harbor Trust took over the farm of 1077 acres in 1908. The trust's operation of the farm was always subject to criticism, and when the trust was reconstituted in October, 1933 the new commissioners decided to relinquish control of this land. The farm, being a Crown grant, reverted to the Lands Department and was disposed of at a Government land sale. The trust was credited with the amount of the sale, at the upset price of £10,500. On 9 December 1936 this land was sold to WH Bailey of Woodside Buangor. The improvements included a substantial residence.
A clearing sale of bloodstock was held on 1 March 1944 under instructions of WH Bailey and also the trustees of the estate of his father Stephen Bailey, who had died on 18 October 1943 at Suma Park, Queenscliff. Top price paid was for "Much to Say", a brown mare, bought by Mr McMeekin of Geelong for 205 guineas. "Patricia Lorraine", a brown mare, went to Mr PM Darcy of Birregurra for 67 guineas.
In 1955 the property was sold to CO Lorimer for £70,000. In 1964 it was again sold to the Perkins family partnership, Sparrovale Pastoral Company.
It was planned that an area of 3.7 hectares would be acquired for a 22 metre wide drainage channel and a weir with removable drop boards to temporarily drain water from the Armstrong Creek East Precinct until it can be replaced by future wetlands.
It is now thought that a large wetland system to protect against flooding in Armstrong Creek will be needed. This will abut the Ramsar listed wetlands. More than 500 hectares will be required to create the wetland before housing can begin in the "Horshoe Bend" precinct. These wetlands are to be known as Sparrovale.
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