Charles Norman, third son of George and Rebecca (née Greenwood) Morrison was born on 4 December 1866 at Knole House, the old Geelong College house in Skene Street. His home had been at Geelong College for most of his life. His father was the founder and owner of the college. Norman became vice-principal in 1891 and gradually took over from his father who died in 1898. In 1908 the Presbyterian Church took over the running of the college.
When he purchased his farm in 1909 at Moriac he named it The Ardoch after his grandfather's Ardoch Farm in the parish of Edenkillie, near Forres, Morayshire in Scotland. He became active in the Moriac area, joining the Paraparap and Pettavel Progress Association and helping to start the new schools in the area.
On Friday 12 November 1909 he travelled by train to his farm to do some rabbit hunting before dark. According to various newspaper advertisements for the property it was anything from half a mile to 2 miles from the station. He intended to stay overnight and return to Geelong on the Saturday morning. In the morning his body was found beside a wire fence 300 yards from the cottage. Evidently he had been going through the fence when he tripped and the shotgun exploded.
Morrison left real estate of £6354 and personal estate of £9587 to his mother. She died in March 1932 at the age of 94.
The Ardoch was advertised for sale or lease a number of times and was run by Robert Purnell for a number of years. In November 1921 when the lease to A E Kinnersley was due to expire on 1 March the following year, the property was advertised for sale for the last time.
Morrison owned parts of the allotments marked above being 420 acres 2 roods 6 perches straddling Raven Creek and north of Thompsons Creek with a three room weatherboard cottage, weatherboard stabling for 6 horses, machinery shed, man's room, chaff room and cart shed, between Hunts and Hendy Main Roads. This property was named "The Ardoch". He also owned several properties in Newtown.
In 1875 the families moved to the Shepparton area. John took up a selection at Tallygaroopna and Matilda took up the allotment next to it. John and Mary retired from farming in 1890 and moved into a small cottage in Shepparton where John died on 8 May 1998. Mary died on 29 August 1904 at the home of her daughter at Tallygaroopna. They were both buried in a family grave at Shepparton Cemetery.
A book written by Bob Argus traces the Argus family back to villages in Devon and Cornwall, where the family name was Hargest. The difficulties of his ancestors are described in interesting detail. They were very early settlers of this district where three of John Argus' children married three of Lawrence Trewin's. In the mid 1870s the families shifted to the Shepparton area to gain more land and a better future. Although the book is written as a story it includes maps, documents and family trees.
The Bible Christian Ebenezer Chapel, Sandlands Road (now Hendy Main Road), Mount Moriac was opened with a service on Christmas Day 1856. This was followed by a tea provided by the ladies at 5pm. The cost of the 24 x 18 feet building was £190 of which £120 had already been raised. The tea raised an extra £30. It was built on the west side of Hendy Main Road, north of Colac Road.
On 24 August 1869 church services were disrupted by six lads between the age of twelve and fifteen years who threw rotten eggs and stones at worshippers and into the church. John Argus, who was attending the meeting was struck by a rotten egg.
In 1952 working bees were held to clear away the stone from the original church that had been erected in 1860. As the old church was unsafe after the recent storm damage it was decided to rebuild the new church on the foundations of the old church. Built of Mount Gambier limestone, the cost was £5000. The old steeple was incorporated into the new design. It was hoped to find records of the laying of the foundation-stone (31 October 1858) in a bottle inserted into one of the stones, but this did not happen.
The new church was not as large as the old one which had beautifully carved doors and windows. When it was erected in the early 1860s there was also a presbytery and school. It had been built to serve a much larger population. The Mount Moriac country was once thickly populated. Evidence of this could be seen from the number of deserted and decaying houses fifty years ago. The blocks were relatively small and as families grew the settlers found they could not make ends meet. These farmers often shifted to remote areas where blocks were larger such as in the Wimmera.
A large proportion of the earliest settlers in Mount Moriac were Catholic and as this was the only Catholic church between Geelong and Colac parishoners flocked to it. It was reported that the stone used in the construction of the first church was faulty, and on many occasions the church had to be repaired. In 1869 the walls, erected at a cost of £4,500, were cracking and needed a large amount of money to make them secure. This damage was caused by the loose manner in which the foundation was put in. Alterations were again carried out in 1887. Damage to the church in that year included broken slates, and the destruction of the large stained glass western window which was shattered by a furious hailstorm. In 1929 leadlight windows were broken by someone throwing stones.
In February 2017 more than 200 people watched at the auction when the property was sold for $605,000 to a local buyer.
Blog Created by:
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