John Southwood Melhuish (1817 - 9 December 1901), arrived at Point Henry on the Agincourt in February 1854 at the age of 34 with his wife, Elizabeth Fry (née Mitchell) (1820-1891). Elizabeth was the daughter of George and Amelia (née Fry) Mitchell. They came with four children who were born in Devon:
George Mitchell — born 23 January 1842, married Margaret Pattie on 16 October 1879 at the residence of Mr A Stokes of Foundry Lane in Geelong, died 1904 aged 62, buried in the Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
John Southwood — born 15 December 1844, married Charlotte Fivash in 1874, died 1 April 1828 at his residence Balmoral in South Geelong on 1 April 1928, buried in the Methodist section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Mary Ann — born 15 August 1846, married Archibald Samuel Silk in 1876, died 7 October 1931 at Bell Street Coburg, buried in the old Methodist section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Elizabeth Amelia — born 16 October 1848, married Frederick Challis in 1874 at the Wesleyan church at Barwon Heads, died 14 May 1908 aged 59 years at Barwon Heads, buried in the Methodist section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Another son William Thomas, born 15 April 1852, died 4 May 1853
John was a farmer, living in Mount Colite (Barwon Heads) Road in East Connewarre. Early in 1872 John was appointed to the local committee of Common School No. 138, Connewarre. The following year he was elected to the Board of Advice for the Connewarre School District. John was a wood-worker by trade and before migrating to Australia he is said to have worked at Buckingham Palace to put a new floor under the throne for Queen Victoria.
John's great granddaughter owns a very sturdy child's chair made by John which has been used by many of his descendants. This chair was made from timber from the Sussex, a ship which came to grief on New Year's Eve in 1871, between Barwon Heads and Bream Creek (Breamlea). The story has been passed down through his family that in the early hours of the morning there was a knock on the door. When asked who was there, the men said that they were shipwrecked sailors from the Sussex. This story differs in its details from newspaper reports at the time. The Geelong Advertiser reported that a Mr Anguish had seen four rockets and went down to the beach where he saw a full-rigged ship rocking to and fro. The sea was too rough to enable a boat to land. The Argus gave a report of passengers being transferred to a steamer which took them to Melbourne. Six lives were lost. The third officer and six crew took off in a boat during the night in an attempt to reach Queenscliff. The boat capsized and only one man was saved.
On 4 November 1891 John's farm in East Connewarre was up for sale.
Elizabeth's sister, Amelia Toogood Mitchell married John Land who died in 1867 and is buried in an unknown location at Mount Duneed Cemetery.
John died at his daughter, Mary Ann Silk's home at 34 Little Myers Street in Geelong at the age of 84 years on 9 December 1901. Elizabeth died at the age of 71 at her son's residence in Printers Lane off Corio Street in Geelong on 21 October 1891. They were buried in the front row of the Church of England section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery with Elizabeth's sister, Amelia Toogood Land who died in 1891.
John left an estate of £526 which was mainly divided between three of his surviving children.
Elizabeth Fry (née Mitchell) and John Southwood Melhuish were buried on the left of this double plot. Elizabeth's sister Amelia Toogood Land (née Mitchell) was buried on the right. There is a memorial for John Land who was buried in an unknown location of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Together They Served
Torquay Museum Without Walls
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History