Land in the parish of Barrabool was surveyed in 1839, just two years after the survey of Geelong. The first land sales were held in February 1840. Several allotments were of 600-1000 acres, effectively excluding small farmers. Most were purchased by speculators.
Section 4, originally bought by Benjamin Baxter, was sold to Hon Richard Gilbert Talbot of Ballinclea in 1841. He established a farm close to Waurn Ponds Creek at Raven's Springs (where John Raven had first squatted).
Section 4 was subsequently subdivided and sold in small farms. John Heard purchased 262 acres in the late 1850s. It is assumed that the call for tenders for a sandstone dwelling in the Geelong Advertiser in 1860 was for the Ballinclea homestead. He sold a small area at the north west corner of his land (near the corner of Polleys and Ballanclea Roads) to the Bible Christian church for £5. The foundation stone for the church was laid on 17 November 1856. About 150 people attended and partook of the tea in Heard’s large barn. An evening service followed. The occasion raised £89-90. In 1858 the chapel was the scene of a meeting of the Barrabool Hills Temperance Society. The building was believed to be the site of the first school in the area.
John, son of Devon farmers John Cockram and Elizabeth Banbury (née Cory) Heard, was born in 1813. He emigrated with his brothers, Thomas and Samuel, sister Elizabeth Crouch and her husband John. They sailed on the William Bentick, arriving in Victoria in August 1844. John was a pioneer of efficient farming and improved tools. He married Elizabeth Heard on 18 April 1844. They had the following children:
John Thomas Cory — born in 1846 at Melbourne, married Sarah Ann Carpenter Bromell on 2 April 1874 at the home of her father, Hensley Park near Hamilton, died on 4 September 1895 aged 49 years at Horsham
Francis Richard — born in 1849 in Melbourne, married Margaret Anderson on 13 November 1878 at Merrawarp in Echuca, the home of her brother
Samuel Arscott — born in February 1854, married Regina Tryphena Grills on 14 November 1901 at the Wesleyan Church at Coghills Creek, died on 30 April 1905 aged 51 years at Barrabool Hills, buried in the Methodist section of the Highton Cemetery
Louisa Ann — born in 1857 in Geelong, died on 29 April 1873 aged 16 at Ballinclea
Emily Jane — born in 1858 at Barrabool Hills, died on 27 May 1873 aged 14 at Ballinclea
William Henry — born on 24 April 1860 at Barrabool Hills
Henrietta Catherine — born on 3 February 1862 at Barrabool Hills, married Joseph Grills in 1895, died 12 April 1936 aged 73 at Ballarat, buried at Coghills Creek Cemetery
Albert Nathaniel — born in 1865 at Barrabool Hills, married Emily McKim in 1897, died in 1927 at Geelong
Sarah Elizabeth — married John Sundercombe on 13 October 1874 at Ballinclea
In March 1870 a sale of stock and farming implements was held as John was intending to lease part of his farm and use the remainder for grazing purposes. In 1875 John sold 259 acres on the north east corner of Hendy Main and Colac Roads and stretching north to Waurn Ponds Creek. This farm had been leased by John Argus. In 1878 he bought Roslyn in Highton.
John and Elizabeth celebrated their golden wedding anniversary a few months before Elizabeth, aged 72, died on 13 October 1894. John died on 23 June 1899 at Ballinclea and was buried in the Methodist section of the Highton Cemetery with Elizabeth. After John died the farm was run by sons, Samuel Arscott and Albert Nathaniel, until Samuel's death in 1905 and 1911 when Albert retired. On 29 March 1911 Albert auctioned horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and farm plant as he had leased Ballinclea.
Ambrose Willcox Walter was born in Devonshire, England on 22 April 1833. He came to the colony on the Marchioness of Londonderry in 1853 with his uncle. His parents followed a few years later. At first he worked in the Barrabool Hills near Geelong. At the time of the gold rush he tried his luck, but not being successful he returned to Geelong. He started a butchering business with his youngest brother in the Barrabool Hills. This was very successful and in 1862 he sold his interest in the business to his brother and started farming, a farm he worked for eleven years. He married Mary Ann, daughter of Thomas Smale of the Barrabool Hills. They had the following children:
Albert William — born 2 January 1864 at Barrabool Hills, married Sarah Janet Lawson on 18 September 1888 at Noradjuha, married Marian Anna Neale on 22 April 1903 at Bullumwaal, died on 23 July 1940 aged 76 years at the Mercy Hospital in East Melbourne
Thomas Ernest — born on 18 February 1866 at Barrabool Hill, married Elizabeth Cook in 1887, died on 5 December 1940 at Church Street, Camperdown
Ellis Vincent — born on 13 May 1868 at Barrabool Hills, married Janet Hayes in 1896 at Ballarat, married Annie Ada Middleton in 1906 at Stawell, died on 14 January 1930 aged 61 at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne
Ambrose Edward — born on 15 June 1870 at Barrabool Hills, married Sarah Janet Lawson on 18 September 1888 at Noradjuha, died on 29 February 1948 near Goroke aged 77 years
Frederick Joseph — born on 1 August 1872 at Barrabool Hills, died on 26 February 1925 at Casterton Memorial Hospital aged 52
Bertha Alinda — born on 26 August 1874 at Noradjuha, married Rev Henry Michael Clarke Fowler in 1911 at Noradjuha, died on 17 August 1949 aged 74 at Geelong
Henrietta Evalina — born on 31 December 1876 at Noradjuha, died on 2 November 1944 aged 67 years at Noradjuha
Lily Gertrude — born on 15 December 1878 at Noradjuha, died on 7 February 1879 at Noradjuha
Sidney Arthur — born on 1 March 1881 at Noradjuha, died on 11 October 1949 aged 68 years at Wimmera Base Hospital at Horsham
Phenie Gertrude — born on 3 February 1883 at Natimuk, died on 23 February 1936 aged 53 years at Sturt Street in Ballarat
Norman Edgar — born on 26 May 1885 at Noradjuha, died on 25 August 1973 aged 88 years at Noradjuha
During the time he was farming in the Barrabool Hills he became a Barrabool Shire councillor. When the land in the Wimmera came up for selection he was keen to secure more land for his growing family. He selected land and shifted his wife and five sons to the Wimmera at the beginning of 1874. Not long after arriving he was elected to the Wimmera Shire as a councillor and later an Arapiles Shire as a councillor and president. He took an active part in community life. He was the president of the Natimuk Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and also a trustee of the Western Wimmera Irrigation and Water Supply Trust. He lived in the Casterton district, where he had purchased a property, for about four years, returning to the Wimmera. About seven years before he died he decided to retire from active life, and came back to Geelong. He had leased his property to two of his sons, but regularly visited Noradjuha.
He was an ardent supporter of the Methodist Church, and held the position of trustee of the Bible Christian Church at Horsham before the union of the churches took place. He was a trustee of the church at Noradjuha and at the annual conference often represented the Noradjuha circuit. Church services were held in his house until later when the school was used.
Ambrose died at his property "Oakleigh Park" at Noradjuha on 14 July 1915 and was buried at the Noradjuha Cemetery. Mary Ann died on 29 October 1918 at 44 Buckland Avenue, Newtown when she contracted pneumonia while visiting Geelong. She was buried with Ambrose of the Noradjuha Cemetery.
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