Benjamin Axford, son of Thomas and Jane (née Axford) Allin was born on 22 January 1827. He married Elizabeth Ann née Walter on 25 March 1850 at Bradworthy in Devon. He left Devon with his wife arriving in the colony on 28 October 1850
aboard the Gypsy Queen. Elizabeth died of Typhus on 28 May 1853 at "Hill Park" in the Barrabool Hills.
On 9 July 1857 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (née Cottle) Jewell. They had the following children:
Thomas — born on 11 April 1858 at Mount Moriac, married Elizabeth Ann Turnbull on 23 May 1887 at the home of her parents, died on 10 October 1946 at Geelong
William Richard — born on 28 April 1860 at Mount Moriac, married Alinda Jane Walter on 3 December 1890 at the bride's home, died in October 1941 aged 81 years at Drysdale
Mary Jane — born on 18 July 1862 at Barrabool, died in 1942 aged 79 years at Geelong
Benjamin Axford — born on 12 May 1865 at Ceres, married Regina Tryphena Grills on 15 September 1909 aged 84 years at 7 High Street, Ballarat
John Henry — born in 1867 at Mount Moriac, died in January 1938 aged 71 years at Mount Moriac
Louisa — born in 1870 at Mount Moriac, died in September 1940 aged 70 years at Geelong
Elizabeth Emma — born in 1871 at Melbourne, died in 1872 at Barrabool
Albert Edward — born in 1874 at Ceres, died in September 1956 at Geelong
Sophia Ann — born in 1876 at Ceres, married Robert John Rogers in 1902, died on 20 April 1964 aged 88 years at Geelong
Alfred Charles — born in 1878 at Ceres, died in December 1946 aged 68 years at Geelong
On 21 October 1885 when the "Strathlachlan" estate, in the Barrabool Hills, was for sale Benjamin Allin, who had been a tenant for many years bought a total of 368 acres.
He was named a justice of the peace in February 1891.
He was a farmer at Mount Moriac. His property "Waterland Farm" was in Mill (now Hendy Main) Road. He was a Barrabool Shire councillor from 1873 to 1881 and from 1885 to 1897 and was president in 1878, 1890 and 1891.
On 15 October 1915 it was reported in the Geelong Advertiser that Mr B A Allin was the oldest resident in the district of Moriac.
He died on 24 December 1920 at Mount Moriac at the age of 93 and was buried at the Highton Cemetery. Elizabeth died on 3 April 1920 at Barrabool Hills and was buried at the Highton Cemetery.
Their sons ran the farm until 1946.
This map has portion 2, 16 and 17 marked. When Benjamin Allin died he owned land in parts of these blocks:
160 acres — part of portion 17 with residence and various outbuildings
111 acres 34 perches — part of portions 2 and 16 fenced only
255 acres 1 rood and 14 perches — part of portions 2 and 16 with weatherboard house and various outbuildings
193 acres 1 rood and 10 perches — part of portion 17 fenced only
In 1875 the families moved to the Shepparton area. John took up a selection at Tallygaroopna and Matilda took up the allotment next to it. John and Mary retired from farming in 1890 and moved into a small cottage in Shepparton where John died on 8 May 1998. Mary died on 29 August 1904 at the home of her daughter at Tallygaroopna. They were both buried in a family grave at Shepparton Cemetery.
A book written by Bob Argus traces the Argus family back to villages in Devon and Cornwall, where the family name was Hargest. The difficulties of his ancestors are described in interesting detail. They were very early settlers of this district where three of John Argus' children married three of Lawrence Trewin's. In the mid 1870s the families shifted to the Shepparton area to gain more land and a better future. Although the book is written as a story it includes maps, documents and family trees.
The Bible Christian Ebenezer Chapel, Sandlands Road (now Hendy Main Road), Mount Moriac was opened with a service on Christmas Day 1856. This was followed by a tea provided by the ladies at 5pm. The cost of the 24 x 18 feet building was £190 of which £120 had already been raised. The tea raised an extra £30. It was built on the west side of Hendy Main Road, north of Colac Road.
On 24 August 1869 church services were disrupted by six lads between the age of twelve and fifteen years who threw rotten eggs and stones at worshippers and into the church. John Argus, who was attending the meeting was struck by a rotten egg.
In 1952 working bees were held to clear away the stone from the original church that had been erected in 1860. As the old church was unsafe after the recent storm damage it was decided to rebuild the new church on the foundations of the old church. Built of Mount Gambier limestone, the cost was £5000. The old steeple was incorporated into the new design. It was hoped to find records of the laying of the foundation-stone (31 October 1858) in a bottle inserted into one of the stones, but this did not happen.
The new church was not as large as the old one which had beautifully carved doors and windows. When it was erected in the early 1860s there was also a presbytery and school. It had been built to serve a much larger population. The Mount Moriac country was once thickly populated. Evidence of this could be seen from the number of deserted and decaying houses fifty years ago. The blocks were relatively small and as families grew the settlers found they could not make ends meet. These farmers often shifted to remote areas where blocks were larger such as in the Wimmera.
A large proportion of the earliest settlers in Mount Moriac were Catholic and as this was the only Catholic church between Geelong and Colac parishoners flocked to it. It was reported that the stone used in the construction of the first church was faulty, and on many occasions the church had to be repaired. In 1869 the walls, erected at a cost of £4,500, were cracking and needed a large amount of money to make them secure. This damage was caused by the loose manner in which the foundation was put in. Alterations were again carried out in 1887. Damage to the church in that year included broken slates, and the destruction of the large stained glass western window which was shattered by a furious hailstorm. In 1929 leadlight windows were broken by someone throwing stones.
In February 2017 more than 200 people watched at the auction when the property was sold for $605,000 to a local buyer.
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