John and Martha (née Willcocks or Wilcocks) Johnston, who were married on 28 October 1839, came to Australia on the ship Hope arriving in 1855. With them were five children:
Eleanor — born 31 October 1841
Catherine — born 22 November 1843
John George — born 22 July 1847
Hannah — born December 1850
Alexander — born October 1852
Their daughter Margaret had died in England.
John took up dairy farming in the Connewarre area near Barwon Heads.
Their youngest son Thomas was born at St Albans, Geelong on 11 August 1857. He died on 23 February, 1872 after a farm accident and was buried in the Methodist section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery.
Daughter Hannah married Alexander Hogg. She died in childbirth aged 29 on 30 November 1879 and was buried with Thomas. Catherine Hogg, mother in law of Hannah is buried with them. Catherine's husband Alexander who died in July 1866 is buried in an unknown location at Mount Duneed Cemetery.
A clearing sale was held on 26 July 1888 comprising horse, dairy cattle and farming implements.
Christopher Underwood, born in 1855, was the son of William Underwood and Sarah Isabella (née Robinson). He married Eliza Jane, daughter of Jesse Holman and Sarah (née Carter) Middleton. Their children were:
Sarah Ethel — born 1881 at Mount Duneed, married David Armstrong, died 1961 at Lismore
Evelyn Kate — born 1882 at Port Campbell, died 7 July 1949, buried at Geelong Eastern Cemetery
William Underwood — born 1884 at Port Campbell, died 1968 at Timboon
Eliza Jane — born 1884 at Port Campbell, died 1969 at Belmont
James Thomas — born 1886 at Port Campbell, m Maria Dickinson, died 18 September 1939 at Cobden
Jessie Ellen — born 1888 at Port Campbell, married Isaac Davis
Christopher — born 1890 at Port Campbell
Charles Stewart — born 1898, died 24 July 1921 at Camperdown
On 17 September 1872 Christopher Underwood applied to the land board for land at Connewarre south of Barwon Heads Road.
Later the family settled at Newfield about 6 miles north of Port Campbell. Christopher served on the Heytesbury Shire for 37 years and was a president of the shire. He was elected when the shire was formed in 1895. He died at Cobden on 7 September 1941 and is buried in the Port Campbell cemetery. Eliza died on 14 March 1927.
William Underwood, brother of Christopher, was born in Connewarre in 1860. He was a resident of the district of Colac for about 50 years. He purchased a property at Larpent which he farmed until about a year before he died when he settled at Elliminyt. He owned racehorses which he raced at meetings throughout the Western District. Among his horses were Balintore, Lady Haut, Twinkle and Inquisitive. He was a member of the committee of the Colac Turf Club for many years. He had been a committee member of the Colac Pastoral and Agricultural Society. He was a familiar figure at Colac and Camperdown shows where he was very successful. He was an active member of the Hunt Club.
He married Marion Hose who predeceased him. They had two sons and Three daughters. He died on 24 August 1937 and was buried at the Colac Cemetery. He left an estate valued at £15,879.
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 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 Bluestone Cottage at Marshall
Together They Served
Torquay Museum Without Walls
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History