John, son of William and Elizabeth (née Simpson) Herd was born on 1 November 1798 in Belfast, Ireland. He married Janet née Park about 1820. They had the following children all born at Belfast, Northern Ireland:
William — born about 1820, died on 31 March 1908
Mary — born about 1821, married Francis Bennett, died 24 May 1885 at Kewell aged 63
Eliza — born about 1823, died 12 April 1901 at Geelong West
Jane — born about 1826, died 4 February 1895 at Ararat
John — born about 1827, died before the family emigrated
Agnes — born about 1828, died 8 April 1899 at Stawell
Sarah — born about 1830, married John McGill on 9 January 1849 at Christ Church Geelong, died February 1877 at Belmont Victoria
John and Janet came to Australia with their family as assisted immigrants on the Manderin in 1838 arriving in Sydney. They travelled to Port Phillip on the Hope soon after.
John was a pioneer of the district in 1848 when he took up a pastoral run of 21,000 acres at Airey's Inlet and established the Loutitt Bay Cattle Station.
Early in 1850 he established a market garden in Thornhill Road, Highton.
He became a councillor of the South Barwon Shire, serving from 1859 until 1863. He was appointed as a magistrate ex officio. He was one of the first trustees for the 10½ acre Barrabool Hills (Highton) Cemetery when it was established in 1855. He was also a trustee for Queens Park. In 1864 he became a member of the Anglican School Committee. His son-in-law Francis Bennett was also on the committee.
John died on 1 February 1885 at Kewell North and was buried in un unmarked grave at Warracknabeal Cemetery. Janet died on 4 September 1876 at Highton.
The Bluestone Cottage at Marshall
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Torquay Museum Without Walls
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History