article contributed by John Stewart
James Stewart was born in Parramatta in 1845, the youngest son of John and Lillie Stewart. He came to Geelong with his family in 1852; thence to Mt Duneed in 1856, where his father farmed and later owned the Connewarre flour mill. James assisted his father and one brother on the farm and with the flour mill.
James became a member of the Connewarre Road Board. The earliest reference confirming this was found in the Geelong Advertiser of 10 September, 1868. Since, from other information, member elections seem to have taken place each August, it is likely that he was elected in August, 1868. He would have been aged 23, rather young to be on the Board.
The earliest reference to James being Chairman of the Board is in the Geelong Advertiser of 31st July, 1874. In July 1873, Andrew White was known to be chairman. As the Chairman was elected at the AGM and the 1873 AGM was on 19th November, it is assumed that this was when he became chairman. He was then 28.
In 1874 the government legislated to amalgamate the Borough of South Barwon with the Connewarre Road Board. The first meeting of the newly constituted Shire of South Barwon took place on Wednesday, 20th January, 1875, and James was recorded as Chairman of the Connewarre Road Board. Thus, he must have been re-elected as Chairman at the Road Board AGM in November, 1874. So that is how he became to be an inaugural councillor of the Shire of South Barwon. He would not have been eligible for re-election in 1875 as, by that time, he was resident at Hillside which is in the Parish of Duneed and thus outside the South Barwon boundary.
At some stage James qualified as a surveyor and in the off season for the flour mill travelled around Victoria surveying. It is assumed that this is how he met and married, in 1875, Jessie Wilson at Boradomamin, her father’s large pastoral lease between Benalla and Alexandra. It is possible the families knew each other earlier through the Scotch Free Church in Geelong.
After their marriage they lived back at Mt Duneed at Hillside, on the south west corner of what is now Whites and Williams roads. Hillside was leased by the Stewart family from James Henty. After the expiry of the Hillside lease James and his then young family went to NSW where he managed, and later became partner, in a property owned by his father-in-law. He died in 1899 and is buried in the West Wyalong cemetery.
When Ewing Blyth was 21 in 1853, he left Norwich England to come to Australia on the Earl of Charlemont. His name on the passenger list was Ewing Bligh. He had been accused of shooting the squire's bullock and was in fear of being deported as a convict. He had allowed his name to be incorrectly used so his whereabouts could not be easily traced. After the ship was wrecked, he repeated this event by shooting a bullock to feed the survivors off the ship. This beast belonged to James Tait who had settled at Tait's Point on Lake Connewarre and who later became his father-in-law.
Ewing Blyth gained work in the district and two years later married Agnes, the 16 year old daughter of James Tait at Connewarre. They spent all their lives living in Lake Road on the banks of the Barwon River. Their family of five boys and six girls were:
James Tait Blyth — born 20 September 1860 in Connewarre, died 26 Jun 1943 in Preston aged 83, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Frances Blyth — born 31 July 1862, married William Spencer 1888, died 19 March 1940 Geelong
Ellen Blyth — born 29 October 1864 in Connewarre, married John Elijah Kempton 1888, died 19 May 1953 Geelong
Benjamin Blyth — born 1 April 1867, married Ann Ford 1895, died 24 November 1918
Ewing John Blyth — born 1869 at Connewarre, married Emma Isabella Taylor 1905, died 26 October 1951 at Flinders
Robert Ewing Blyth — born 1872, married Elisabeth Ann Martin Cameron 1896, died 1949
Mary Ann Blyth — born on 5 November 1874, married John Ford 1897, died 1945 in Geelong
Elizabeth Blyth (Bessie) — born 1877 at Mount Duneed, died 1898
Agnes Blyth — born 1879 at Mount Duneed, married Charles Marriott Burt, died 24 November 1952
Annie Blyth — born 1882 at Mount Duneed, died 22 May 1914 at Geelong
Alexander Tait Blyth — born 1884 in Mount Duneed, married Esther Hannah Challis in 1910, died 1970 in Connewarre
Ewing was a South Barwon Shire councillor serving from 1874 until 1875.
Agnes died on 25 February 1920 and is buried in the Church of England section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery. Ewing died on 1 June 1925 and is buried with her. Their daughter Annie who died on 22 May 1914 is buried with them. Ewing Blyth Drive, a road which runs south from the Barwon Heads Hotel, is named after him. Many of their descendants still live in the district.
Looking from the east, this photo has Kardinia Farm, on the corner of Larcombe Street and Roslyn Road, highlighted and corresponds with the map below. It shows Kardinia Creek running through the allotment, then crossing Roslyn Road and running to the east of where the Highton shopping village is now — photo Charles Pratt
Francis and Mary must have been really inspired by the beautiful rolling hills and the creek where they lived as they used this name when they christened their second daughter Kardinia Park. The name Park was Mary's maiden name. She was the first of a number of girls who bore this name. Two of Kardinia's brothers, George and Francis, used the name for their daughters. George's daughter Kardinia also used this name for her daughter, born in 1901. George's first daughter Lydia Ellen Bennett married Frederick William Hart and included the name when naming their daughter in 1898. Kardinia's sister, Eliza and her husband Thomas Yates, also used the name. The name certainly did not come from Geelong Football Club's home ground as the park was known as Chilwell Flat until 1872 and Geelong used other grounds before World War 2.
Blog Created by:
Together They Served
Torquay Museum Without Walls
Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History