John Lowe, son of Henry and Elizabeth (née Lowe) Hobbs, was born on 26 April 1829 at Astwood in Buckinghamshire, England. He married Ann Phoebe Jane, daughter of Thomas and Ada (née Oddell) Austin on 2 November 1847 at Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. They left Buckinghamshire in 1853 arriving in the colony in August. Their two children in England were:
Emma Austin — born 1850, married Henry Austin Bennett on 17 December 1867 at the Wesleyan parsonage at Geelong, married Alexander Reilly in 1882 at Penshurst, died 1937 in Geelong
Sarah Austin — born 10 February 1852, married Walter Rankin on 24 August 1871 at Noble Street Wesleyan church at Chilwell, died 17 July 1927 buried in the Methodist section of the Highton Cemetery.
John and Annie were both twenty three when they emigrated to Australia as assisted passengers on the Lady Kennaway, with their two small children, John's nineteen year old sister, Sally, and their Allen cousins. John's father, Henry, followed in 1860, paying his own passage after the death of his wife. He died in 1865. John and Annie settled at their home, Bexley Farm in Colac Road Waurn Ponds. Their other ten children were born here:
Charlotte — born 1854 at Waurn Ponds, married Charles Thomas Neale in 1875, died 9 November 1944 at Elliminyt Colac, buried in the Methodist section of the Colac Cemetery
John Emmanuel — twin born 6 April 1856, married Elizabeth Jane Short on 6 December 1887 at Geelong, died 19 April 1912, buried at the Highton Cemetery
Henry — twin born 6 Apr 1956 at Geelong, died 26 April 1856 at Highton
Louisa Jane — born 1858 at Geelong, married Alexander Steen in 1896, died 13 December 1937 at Geelong, buried in the Methodist section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Ann — born 8 February 1861 at Highton, married John Henry Horwood, died October 14 October 1937 at Geelong West
Ada — born 8 June 1863, died 21 Jun 1870 at Geelong
Susannah Rachael — born 29 September 1865, married Alfred Charles Johns on 7 June 1888, died 1935 at Newport, Victoria
Edwin Austin — born 4 April 1868, married Annie Martha Adcock on 10 August 1893 at the home of the bride in Highton, died 29 October 1956 at Belmont
Henry Thomas Lowe — born 30 December 1870, married Salena Bennet on 4 January 1899 in Geelong, died 29 April 1854 at Geelong
George Abel Austin — born 1873 at Geelong, married Emma Sophia Smith in 1912 at Geelong, died 26 April 1958 at Belmont, Geelong
He was a South Barwon Shire councillor, serving from 1873 until 1885. In 1879 he was elected to the South Barwon School Board of Advice.
John died on 10 August 1886 at the age of 57 at his residence, Bexley farm in Colac Road, Waurn Ponds. Bexley farm was between the Colac Road and Waurn Ponds Creek probably near where the Waurn Ponds shopping centre is now. He was buried in an unknown location at Highton Cemetery. Annie died on 18 December 1920 at the age of 91 years and 11 months and was also buried in unknown location at Highton Cemetery. At the time of her death she had 54 grandchildren and 75 great grandchildren.
Annie, wife of Johns Lowe Hobbs
News of the Week photo July 1917
Obituary of Ted Rankin
son of Sarah Austin Hobbs and Walter Rankin
from The Argus 1 August 1944
In 1858 Charles Rowand built a bluestone cottage on his 38 acres at Mount Duneed. A bottle in the foundations contained this letter together with a copy of the Ballarat Miner and Weekly Star dated Friday, October 22, 1858, a copy of the Geelong Daily News dated October 21, 1858 and a Maundy coin (4d value) dated 1854.
Alexander Cameron Macdonald was born on 9 August 1828 to Alexander Cameron and Sarah (née Warby) Macdonald at Campbelltown and was educated there. He loved the bush and learned the ways of the blacks. He made many explorations into the trackless country. He later opened the first post office in Wangaratta. He then became assistant to and later the partner of Charles Rowand at that time practising as a surveyor, architect and civil engineer at Geelong. Much of the laying out of Geelong was done by the pair. He was attracted by the gold rush and tried his luck in Ballarat but had little sucess. He returned to Geelong in 1852 to resume surveying and also ran an auctioneering business. In 1876 he moved to Melbourne where he suffered in the financial depression of the 1860s. In 1873 he was secretary of the Western District Railway League. He was a member of the Geelong Town Council for two terms. He stood for Parliament on three occasions but was unsuccessful. He established vineyards on the banks of the Barwon and Moorabool Rivers but suffered when phylloxera became an issue.
He went to Melbourne in 1876 where he went into business as an accountant and manager of companies, and spent much of his time collating his records of the aborigines and their language and ways. He soon became an authority and in 1883 he founded the Royal Geographical Society of Australiasia. He became its first hon secretary and hon treasurer. He also edited the society's journal until 1906. To mark his retirement the members presented him with a purse of sovereigns. He served as a councillor for the Shire of South Barwon from 1888 until 1914.
In 1852 he married the Margaret Rainy, third daughter of Gilbert Robertson. She died on 8 February 1901 and was buried at the St Kilda Cemetery. Her husband died at his residence in Punt Road, Prahran on 18 June 1917 and was buried beside her. He was looked after in his declining years by their adopted daughter Lily. Their one month old son, Gilbert Robertson Macdonald who died on 2 January 1854, was buried with his grandfather Gilbert Robertson in the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.
Gilbert Robertson, father of Agnes Rowand, was born on 10 December 1794 in Trinidad to a Scottish father and a West Indian slave mother. At the time money and lineage were more important than race. Mixed race children were often sent back to Britain to get a good education and then found a profession, carrying with them their family name. This was common in the West Indies and also in India. Gilbert was brought up in Scotland where he served a four-year apprenticeship to a Lothian farmer, acquiring the skills and knowledge of agriculture which gave him a reputation of being one of the best agriculturists in the southern hemisphere. He arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1822 with his wife and child. Five more children were born in Australia. He set up a farm and later served for some time as Superintendent of Agriculture. In 1832 he had an association with the Hobart Town Press. In 1834 he set up his own paper which was the first in Hobart to be produced daily. He occupied a very prominent position in public affairs in Van Diemen's Land where he suffered persecution from his position at the time of an unpopular government. Gilbert's life in Australia probably did not live up to his expectations. He had a number of setbacks and was revered more in death than in life.
During 1845 and 1846 Gilbert became Superintendent of Agriculture at Norfolk Island. His wife and young children joined him there. His married daughter Fanny stayed in Hobart. The family lived at Branka House at Longridge. The main purpose of Longridge was to maintain an agricultural settlement with convicts supplying the labour.
Early in 1847 Gilbert resigned his position at Norfolk Island and travelled to Hobart to secure employment and prepare for the family to follow him. He probably did not find a suitable job in Tasmania as he came to the Geelong area soon after. He convened a number of public meetings. He was nominated to stand for election on the Geelong council in 1850. In his role as editor of the Victorian Colonist and the Chronicle he often expressed unpopular but well meaning opinions.
On 5 September 1851 he died about a mile from the Barwon bridge while riding his horse to Colac. Although he received immediate assistance he could not be saved. A subsequent inquest was held where it was decided he had died of an apoplectic seizure. It was learned that two previous seizures had occured. He was aged 56 years. On Sunday 7 September his remains were conveyed to the Geelong Eastern Cemetery for burial. Although the public had not been formally notified his funeral was attended by the most numerous and most respectable assemblage that had been witnessed in Geelong.
Very soon after his death about 80 of his friends met at the Prince of Wales Hotel to show their respect for him by raising of a sum of money by public subscription to be invested for the benefit of his family who were left in scant circumstances. It was expected that about £500 (a considerable sum back then) would be collected. By December it was reported that £1400 had been collected. His wife, Agnes née Lees, who died on 28 January 1853 at the age of 51 was buried beside him.
The Australian House Museum began in the late 1970s using the vacant land in front of Deakin University at Waurn Ponds. Buildings were arranged in a row in a street named “Common Place”. This project resulted in many buildings being classified and preserved that would have otherwise been demolished. This project ceased as a result of high maintenance of the houses and the need for the land to be used for other purposes. Frank Campbell gathered historic buildings at the campus between 1979 and 1992.
The Freshwater Creek School and residence provided office space and an area for a small artefact museum. These buildings were used by Deakin as a valuable part of Australian Studies. It was planned for other humanities courses and possibly social science ones to use this resource for teaching purposes in the future.
86 Skene Street, Newtown "Hawker's Cottage"
Built in 1854 as a two roomed house, it expanded to three, then four rooms. The detached kitchen was built in 1886. Kitchens began as outdoor fires with rudimentary shelter. They were detached by law for reasons of fire, tradition and hygiene.
Disease was thought to be caused by smells and vapours and drainage usually ended in a cesspit. The kitchen seemed to be designed to create a room for a servant.
After the museum closed this cottage was considered beyond repair and was demolished.
26 Lupton Street, Geelong West "Bromley's Cottage"
This tiny house by our standards housed twelve people in the Bromley family who lived there from 1862 to 1862 in a space 18 feet by 18 feet. Edward Thomas Bromley was transported to Port Phillip Colony at the age of 14 in 1847. His wife was the widow of his business partner, John Sherry. Sherry's family probably lived in the cottage too.
The floor in the front two rooms was originally made from packing cases. As was common at the time the internal walls were lined with hessian and covered with wallpaper to keep out the drafts. It had timber shingles under the corrugated iron roof.
It was relocated to Sun Street, Moolap before being included in the museum in 1984. After the museum closed this cottage was considered beyond repair and was demolished.
69 Fyans Street, Chilwell "Herd's House"
This is a lower middle class house built before the 1892 depression. The cast iron lacework is Indian inspired. The Herds were painters, decorators and plumbers.
In 2004 this house was relocated to 122 High Street, Drysdale.
13 McNicol Street, Geelong West "Werner's House"
This building is presumed to have been two separate one roomed miners cottages built about 1855 and relocated from the goldfields. The two dwellings were combined and divided into rooms to form a four roomed house about 1865.
Originally the cottages had no ceilings or walls. These were added by Jacob Werner after he moved in. He was a German musician, who settle in Geelong and became a painter and decorator. Originally the roof was covered in whitewashed timber shingles. This house may have been relocated in central Victoria.
22 Coronation Street, Geelong West "Arthur's house"
This 1854 prefabricated house in Geelong West was recommended by the Geelong West City Council for inclusion in the project at Deakin University to allow the site in Coronation Street to be redeveloped. When the house was at this site the front of the house was on the boundary with the front doorstep on the footpath. The house is considered to be of architectural significance and as such was protected under the Geelong Regional Commission's Interim Development Order. Developers planned to donate the house and contribute $500 towards the cost of its removal.
The house was a rare example of a prefabricated timber house believed to have been built in Singapore in 1853 to help meet a housing demand caused by Victoria's gold rushes. Factories set up by the British in Singapore employed Chinese craftsmen making thousands of houses to meet the demand. Alexander Fyfe who built Hillside in Williams Road, Mount Duneed imported many of these houses.
When the museum was being wound up Arthur's House hit the road again for its new home facing a tree-lined park in 21 Brewongle Avenue, Hamlyn Heights.
The Winchelsea Goods Shed
The shed which originated at Winchelsea on the Geelong-Warrnambool line is similar to many others. A similar shed was once at Birregurra on the same line. Built in 1876 it came to the museum in 1987 and was used to store recyclable building materials. After the project closed the shed was moved to the Muckleford station on the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
It is available for hire for parties or for corporate events as well as Victorian Goldfields Railway training and general activities.
Police Lock-up, East Street, Inverleigh
This lock-up, which was erected in 1888, is very secure as it has a steel cage concealed under the timber. Almost 200 of these were installed throughout Victoria at small police stations. They were used from the 1870s until the 1960s. They were cold in winter and hot in summer. They were mainly used to hold drunks overnight. The policeman's wife had to supply meals.
When the museum closed it was returned to Lawsons Park, East Cambridge Street, Inverleigh.
Natimuk Open-Air Pavilion School
Natimuk Open Air Pavilion School was constructed by the Public Works Department in 1914 as an open air classrom at the Natimuk State School. It was the only building in the museum not to have originated in the Geelong area and was moved to the museum in 1988. The room held up to 48 children. Three sides had canvas shutters fitted above three feet. Forty four of these classrooms were built between 1911 and 1914 in the hope of creating a healthier environment at a time when Tuberculosis was at plague proportions. These classrooms were unpopular with teachers in the winter.
The room was returned to 28 Noradjuha Road, Natimuk, in the grounds of the Natimuk School in 2002..
The Freshwater Creek State School
The local Freshwater Creek community contacted the museum to suggest that their school be moved to the Waurn Ponds site, as they felt it was doomed by eventual road widening. The building comprises a teacher's residence and a schoolroom with a capacity of 60 children.
After demolition of chimneys the bricks were moved to the university. A large front room added in the 1950s was also removed. The roof was cut off as the gothic style school was too high to travel in one piece. It was then moved in two sections. After relocation the building has been fully renovated.
The three two metre finials on the gables had to be remade, a new verandah, new rear porch and balconies and walkways constructed.
Most schools of the 19th century have been well researched and the design of original features could be taken from this knowledge and by research from the people of Freshwater Creek.
This type of school and residence was designed by the government architect, based on traditional designs which evolved slowly in the 19th century. The schools were built in a set of standard sizes. The teacher's residence has two bedrooms, built in an era when five or more children per family was usual. The schoolroom was heated by an open fire.
After the museum closed the school was returned to its original site. In 1994 the school was once again on the move, this time because of the merging of Freshwater Creek, Connewarre and Mount Duneed State Schools. The school is now in the grounds of Mount Duneed Regional Primary School and is used as a classroom.
In September 1872 at a local land board sitting the following applied for land near the old Victoria Inn:
Joseph Asplin — 7 acres
David Davies — 20 acres
Louis Mermod — 12 acres
James Neale — 5 acres
Objections were raised by Messrs Hanson, Miller and JH Sleator concerned that such valuable land was being sold too cheaply. The board decided to recommend that the land be sold by auction in 5 acre lots. In 1873 a number of small sites were advertised for selection.
At the local land board held in Geelong on Friday 4 April, 1873 a number of applications were lodged for rural store licenses for 3 acre sites. These applicants were expected to improve the land before they could claim ownership. They were sold for £10 per acre, a lower price than earlier expected. Many of these blocks were sold within the next few years.
Early in 1924 it was proposed that a hall be built at Waurn Ponds to be used as a mechanics institute and free library. On the afternoon of 18 June 1924, with the hall more than half paid for, Alderman JN McCann performed the official opening of the hall. He had donated the land for the hall and £50 towards its erection. The donation was conditional of the residents raising £200. This was accomplished by bazaars and other efforts and also a government grant of £50. The grant was obtained because the project included a free library. 100 books were purchased with the expectation of 150 more within the following 12 months.
The final cost of the building was £650 and over £700 with the inclusion of furniture.
At the inaugural meeting the following trustees were appointed:
R Polley (chairman)
Lately I have noticed a small block on the corner of Cochranes Road and Waurn Ponds Drive, so decided to have a closer look. It is the Waurn Ponds Memorial Reserve, a park dedicated to soldiers who served all world wars.
In July 1919 the people of Waurn Ponds planted the avenue of trees honouring the fifteen men from the community who served in the First World War. A bronze plaque unveiled by BC Ruxton AM OBE, president of the Victorian branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia on 4 July 1999 bears the following names:
The Victoria Inn was situated north of Waurn Ponds Creek almost opposite Lemins Road. Charles Rowand (abt 1825-1908) arrived in Geelong on the Travancore in 1849. He bought 9 acres in Waurn Ponds and 27 acres in Mount Duneed where he planted 4 acres of vines. He served one term on the Barrabool Road Board in 1861. He became Government Engineer of the Ballarat and Western District. At the time of his death he was the oldest road engineer living in Victoria. Frederick Imer (1836-1907) established a vineyard on 10 acres to the west of Charles Rowand.
Waurn Ponds grew around a pub. In March 1840, 968 acres on the Barrabool side of Waurn Ponds Creek was sold to Captain John Eddington, who had arrived in Australia with his family the previous year. Initially they settled near the Loddon River where the town of Eddington is today. The following year he established the Ballangeich run between Warrnambool and Mortlake.
This land, which has access from Colac Road, was sold to Henry "Money" Miller who built a small stone house on it in 1846 which was let to Martin Priest. Priest was granted the first license for the inn in April 1846. He also ran the Shamrock Inn on the corner of Malop and Yarra Streets, then called North Geelong. In July 1848, on leaving the Shamrock Inn, he took over the license of Mr O'Hara's house at Batesford. He advertised this business as Marrabool Inn. He also announced he had a new and secure yard on his premises which could contain upwards of three hundred head of cattle.
In 1847 Harry Hooton took over the inn. In April 1849 Hooton was granted a license conditional on the erection of extra accommodation. If not completed in two months the license would lapse.
Early maps show a road to Colac following the creek to Mount Moriac. This gave the Victoria Inn, situated on the northern bank a good position to catch the passing traffic. The Inn took its name from Hon Henry Miller's Victoria Estate. During the short time the Victoria Inn was operating it was the district meeting place on many occasions for discussing the roads, bridges and tolls, among other local concerns. In 1855 blocks of land on the south side of the creek in Waurn Ponds were auctioned.
In November 1849 Robert Tweedy opened the inn in a new stone building. He had previously held the license for the Hibernian Hotel in South Geelong. On 10th August 1852 Tweedy, aged 38 years, died after "a long and distressing affliction." His funeral took place at the Bridge Inn, South Geelong. The following year his widow, Ann Jane née Irwin, applied for the license. Robert (from Northumberland) and Ann (from Armagh) came to Australia separately in 1841 as bounty emigrants on the George Fyfe. They married the same year. After Robert's death she married Thomas Fitzgibbon and they kept the inn going until 1858, the year they both died.
Esther, widow of Martin Priest applied for the license in 1859.
In 1860 George Marsh applied for a license to run the inn, but failed to obtain it, probably because he failed to appear in court. He was insolvent and his hotel and household goods were sold.
After this the inn became a private residence. In 1861 the farm was leased to Bankin brothers.
It became known as Victoria Heights when it was occupied by the family of Robert Shaw Hunt and his wife Harriet nee Bone from the 1890s until his death in 1845. In 1902 their two year old daughter Vera drowned in Waurn Ponds Creek.
In 1874 Louis Mermod had his colonial wine licence transferred from his Pettavel store to Waurn Ponds where he held a rural store license. His land was near the corner of Cochranes Road and Colac Road, now named Waurn Ponds Drive. This venture was probably not successful as he was trying to sell his rural store site by late 1875. He subsequently appears to have moved to Korong Vale. The block on the corner marked "camping" is now Waurn Ponds Memorial Reserve. The reserve is maintained by a local committee to commemorate local residents who served in World War 1.
In 1853 the Act for Making and Improving Roads initiated the beginning of road boards. One of the earliest road boards was the Barrabool Road District which began in 1853. These organisations were the earliest form of local government. Tolls were collected to maintain and build roads and bridges at gates set up at well used sites.
Toll gates were:
Duneed Toll Gate, Main Colac Road
Duneed Toll Gate, Loutit Bay Road
Duneed Toll Gate, Duneed Creek Road
Modewarre Toll Gate, Main Colac Road
Kardinia Toll Gate, Barrabool Hill Road
East Duneed Toll Gate, Germantown Road
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