contributed by Leanne Fagg
David Dee was born around 1820 in Waterford, Ireland. In 1841 he arrived in Melbourne aboard the "Diamond", then 2 years later married fellow passenger Ellen Shea at St Marys Catholic Church Geelong.
Over the following 6 years they had 3 children (Michael, Mary and Hannah) while living at Irishtown (between Pakington and Belfast Sts, Newtown).
By 1851 they were living in Germantown (now Grovedale) as farmers, in a 2 room home on 4 acres near the current Peter Street. Further children (Thomas, Martin and Bridget) were born in Germantown.
In 1856 David was granted Crown land Lot 14 and 15 (101 acres each) in Puebla Parish (on what is now Blackgate Rd) and built a 4 room home there.
However, a year later David was knocked off his horse by a tree branch, causing his death at age 33. Before the accident he had enjoyed 2 nobblers of wine at the German Town Inn (since demolished) then rode off towards home in the dark.
The Inquest into his death determined "he was not a habitual drunkard ... he was advised by a witness not to drink that evening as he had a very bad road to travel over. He was in the habit of riding fast."
David was buried in the Catholic section of Geelong's Eastern Cemetery on 3 November 1857.
David's death left his wife Ellen with 6 children between the ages of 2 yrs and 13 yrs to support.
Ellen continued to farm their Puebla land (together with 7 acres of land in Germantown) with the help of her eldest son Michael.
In 1870 Ellen's misfortune continued when her daughter Mary died at home, aged only 22 yrs.
The Geelong Advertiser reported "The funeral procession was a very long one, and reached from the top to the bottom of Moorabool St". Mary was buried with her father David.
Ellen's children Michael, Hannah, Thomas and Martin took advantage of new land made available near Pyramid Hill from 1874 and took up Crown leases there, but three years later Michael died from cancer, aged 33.
Ellen was still farming her Puebla land with only her youngest daughter Bridget to help, so she put her Germantown land up for sale.
Her remaining three children at Pyramid Hill married shortly after: Thomas to Margaret Buckley, Hannah to John Ervin, and Martin to Bridget Stritch. Margaret and John were also Irish Catholics who had travelled north from farms near Geelong.
In 1893 Ellen died aged 71 and was buried with her husband, daughter Mary and son Michael. Her daughter Bridget married James Fowler two years later and lived in Geelong. They were also buried in the family plot.
The Dee family of Germantown & Thompsons Ck (now Grovedale & Freshwater Ck)
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