Giacomo Auchetto, an Italian aged 44 years, left England in October 1855 on the Eagle, arriving in Australia in January the following year. He married Honora Fogarty on 15 January 1859 at the Moriac chapel by the catholic priest Michael Farrelly. Honora was born in 1829 in Tipperary, Ireland. They had the following children:
Mary Ann — born 1858 in Geelong, died 9 January 1954 at Warragul
Michael — born 1862 in Geelong, died 8 June 1948 at Kalgoorlie
John Francis — born 1863 at Geelong, died 24 January 1935 at Ballarat aged 72
Giacomo leased 10 acres on the east side of Mill Road (Hendy Main Road) at Mount Moriac from CJ Dennys where he ran a vineyard. Later Eugene Frasse leased the vineyard.
On 18 April 1864 Giacomo was admitted to Geelong Hospital suffering from severe internal injuries. A combination of a bad road and a badly behaved horse caused him to be thrown out of the wagon he was driving. As often happened when these accidents occur, the wheel of the wagon ran over him.
Honora died on 4 May 1918 at Ballarat.
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.
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