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)
June is a descendant of two of the early families settling in Grovedale — the Hartwichs and the Winters. She is also a descendant of the Burvilles and Radfords that settled in Mount Duneed. She has a great story to tell about the evolution of the community and the effects of World War 1 on a settlement once called Germantown. Through marriage her family tree extends to a wide number of names that are well known to history buffs in the area. Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting and stay for a cuppa afterwards.
James Palmer was born about 1856. He married Eva, daughter of Frederick and Evangaline Withers, and had the following children:
Henry Wallace — born about 1884 at Port Augusta SA, died 1972 at North Geelong
Elsie May — born 1885 at Richmond
Minnie — born 1887, died 1888 at Newtown
Albert Roy — born 1889
Arthur Stanley (Stan) — born 1890 at Geelong, husband of Dorothy Irene (Dot) née Twitt, killed in action in France on 25 January 1917 (one daughter Dorothy (Bonnie) Jean born 1915 at Geelong)
James Reginald (Reg) — born 1893 at Geelong West, died 1977 at Coburg
Horace Leslie — born 1895 at Geelong, died 1978 at Ferntree Gully
Ivy Myrtle (Myrtle) — born 1898 at Geelong
Norman Clifford — born 1901 in Geelong
James died on 1 February 1922 at the age of 66 at his residence at Grovedale and was buried in the Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. Eva died in September 1929 at St Kilda at the age of 72 and was buried with him.
The VFL consisted of six teams (Geelong, Richmond, South Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood and Fitzroy) each playing the other three times. Teams had 18 players and no reserves. Collingwood were premiers and the leading goalkicker was Dick Lee of Collingwood. Richmond took the "wooden spoon". Players were amateurs with players paying their own expenses. Geelong donated profits to war funds.
100 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
King George V was monarch, Billy Hughes was prime minister, Gough Whitlam, 21st prime minister of Australia was born and three year old Sasanof won the Melbourne Cup.
The first plebiscite on the issue of military conscription was held; it was defeated. 25 April was officially named and widely observed as Anzac Day.
The Victorian Football League was feeling the strain of World War 1. Attendances were affected, only four clubs competed (Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond) and teams were missing players. Geelong among many other teams, refused to play on "patriotic grounds". Fitzroy won the wooden spoon and the premiership in the same year, finishing fourth out of four and also winning the grand final.
Melbourne receives its highest annual rainfall.
The old Connewarre Presbyterian Church, at 1411 Barwon Heads Road, Connewarre is now used by the Geelong Aero Club. It has skillion roofed extentions at the front and back and a doorway near the rear of the body of the church which has been closed off. Originally the door probably looked like the one at St Cuthbert's Church of England at Marshall which was built 5 years earlier and in a similar style.
Connewarre Presbyterian Church was erected in 1916 on a block given by Mr D Polley on the corner of Staceys (then Lake) and Barwon Heads Roads, as it was decided that the old building was beyond repair. The architects, Laird & Buchan called for tenders in May and the successful applicant was Mr H Rose. The church was weatherboard on the outside with Californian redwood and beaverwood on the interior built in the Federation Carpenter Gothic style. It had a gable roof with skillion-roofed extentions each end and leadlight windows in the gothic style. The pulpit for the church had come from St Andrew's in Geelong. It would seat 100 people.
The church was crowded for two services held on 8 October to commemorate the opening of the church. At the morning service Mr RC Blyth, chairman of the Board of Management, gave a short address, then handed a silver key to Mr R Fuller sen., the oldest church member, who opened the church. The celebrations continued the following Tuesday with a tea meeting and concert. There was a large attendance and the sum of £22 was obtained. The total expenses of building the church amounted to £350 of which over £200 had been paid off.
In 1977 the church became the Connewarre Uniting Church, and about a year later it closed and was sold to the Geelong Aero Club.
150 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
The Grovedale station which was on the west side of Torquay Road had a platform on the south side of the tracks. This station was originally on the east side of Torquay Road but was shifted in 1913 to the west side of the crossing. It was named Germantown when it opened but was changed to Grovedale in 1916 when the suburb of the same name was changed during World War I. The station opened on 25 November 1876 and closed on 1 January 1954. The railway gates were closed at midnight and it was necessary to get the station master out of bed to get them opened.
The station also served as the local post office. When the station closed the post office shifted to a private house. Mrs Parrott operated the post office in the 1960s when it shifted to 291 Torquay Road. It was open in the mornings only and operated from a window which was opened when customers arrived. The first mail deliveries were made in the 1960s in a car. The post office then shifted to a shop in Peter Street and was operated by Des Coughlin.
The first post office at Grovedale was the Germantown Post Office situated at the store attached to Benari's Germantown Hotel on the east side of Torquay Road. Albert Benari was the postmaster from the time it opened on 20 January 1860 until his death on 27 May 1886.
A railway station in Boundary Road, east of Ghazepore Road, called Duneed was in the vicinity of the new Waurn Ponds station. This station opened on 25th November, 1876 and closed on 1st January, 1921.
Cobbin farm is a group of buildings in Grovedale owned by Geelong council. The house, originally named Pine Grove, was built in 1847 by Alexander Pennell, who purchased 508 acres of Crown land. This land stretched from Waurn Ponds Creek to Boundary Road. It was later purchased by August Hartwich in the 1880s. It is now used as a community house. The chapel was originally St Cuthbert's Church of England and was shifted from its site at Marshall. It often used for weddings.
He was also engineer at the Borough of Newtown and Chilwell for 25 years and while there he designed the Newtown Fire Station in Pakington Street. The station, which had a bell tower 40 feet high, was opened on 27 September 1884. To celebrate the opening of the new station, a dinner was held. He also designed the Prince Albert Bridge which crossed the Barwon River at the end of Shannon Avenue. The bridge was opened on 31 May 1889 at a final cost of £2,600 to which the government contributed £1,000. It had a span of 240 feet and piles 64 feet in length were driven deep into the river bed. At the opening the contractor, JW Tait of Western Australia, stated "The bridge is of sound timber and will last fully half a century." The bridge lasted until 1959 when repairs became necessary to prolong its life. In 1965 the road was re routed to less flood prone land and a new bridge was built 220 yards upstream. The Country Roads Board bore 80% of the cost and the two councils 10% each.
He was a committee member of the Geelong Permanent Investment and Benefit Building Society which began in 1867.
He died on 27 July 1890 at the age of 62 and is buried in the Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. At the time of his death he owned two small farms at Germantown. These were sold in 1902. One of nearly 41 acres, was sold to Mr Andressen for £19/5/- per acre. The second, which comprised 18 acres, was purchased by Mr O Renzow for £21/15/- per acre.
On 6 September 1865 his son Robert Johnston Tuffs drowned at the age of 16.
Another son, John Robert Tuffs, born in 1866 at Grovedale, was the second engineer of the Shire of South Barwon from September 1890 to 1915 and the engineer of the Borough of Newtown and Chilwell from 1900 to 1921. He had wide experience at other shires. Living at Leigh Creek he became secretary and engineer of the Bungaree Shire Council about four years prior to his death on 12 August 1942.
He died while driving his car to Melbourne when he was overcome by a heart attack. He lost control of the car, which crashed through a fence and fell over a 20 foot embankment. The mishap occurred within three of four miles of Bacchus Marsh on the Ballarat side, in the vicinity of the Pentland hills. He left a widow and two daughters. He was buried at the Ballarat Cemetery.
An early map dated 1855 shows a park and reserve of 36 acres. In the north east corner of the reserve a block is reserved for a cemetery. In April 1863 the South Barwon Council wrote to the president of the Board of Land and Works to oppose the establishment of a cemetery in this location. The area had a Lutheran cemetery and most of the residents were of this faith.
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Barwon Heads History