A post office which operated at the Pettavel store at the 8 mile post on the Colac Road opened on 12 January 1865 under the charge of François Louis Mermod. It closed on 1 November 1894.
It is difficult to be precise about the location but when it was sold it was advertised as being 144 acres on allotment A portion V. The old parish map on the right indicates that this block of 585 acres marked David L Pettavel, stretched from Reservoir Road to Waurn Ponds Creek with Colac Road running through it. It therefore could have been either side of Colac Road. It stretched from Draytons Road to Pettavel Road.
The property was later described as an old weatherboard cottage which contained a bedroom at each end and two sitting rooms in the centre facing the Colac Road. The sitting room door opened onto Colac Road and there was a large gate at the east end of the house abutting on the road. The kitchen door of the house opened onto the yard leading to the gate. The post office was a detached building at the west end. The business transacted was very small.
In 1872 Louis Mermod was granted a wine license at the store. He was cautioned that he must keep the store and post office separate from the drinking part of the establishment. There had been complaints of horse racing being carried out on Sundays at his place.
In 1874 he had his colonial wine licence transferred from the Pettavel store to Waurn Ponds where he held a rural store license. His land was near the corner of Cochranes Road and Colac Road, now named Waurn Ponds Drive. This venture was probably not successful as he was trying to sell his rural store site by late 1875. He subsequently appears to have moved to Korong Vale.
In 1875 Louis was accused of dummy bidding when Harriett Patterson who owned the three acre allotment next door applied to purchase her allotment held under a rural store license. An objection was heard as she had not erected a store on her land accusing her of being a dummy for Louis. She had lived with him for five weeks. I do not know what her relationship with Louis was. Louis' stepson, Armand Le Court, had owned the block of about 2½ acres to the north of hers since March that year.
Louis had several children with Marie Louise Le Court (née Matthy) who had arrived in the colony in 1854. She was a native of Neuchatel, Switzerland. She did not seem to be related to other Swiss in the district who came from Neuchatel. Louis was born at Geneva. He was described as a watchmaker. Is it possible he was related to the Swiss watchmakers of the same name who were renowned for making music boxes? Louis and Louisa's children were:
Louis Frederick — born in 1862 at Paraparap, died in 1932 at Ballarat
John Alfred — born in 1864 at Paraparap, died 1920 at Sunbury
Rosaline — born in 1865 at Barrabool, married Robert Irving in 1892, died on 5 August 1943 aged 77 at Inglewood
Emelie Caroline — born in 1867 at Geelong, married Andrew Hamilton in 1892, died in 1937 aged 70 at Inglewood
Henry Charles — born in 1868 at Geelong, died in 1873 at Duneed aged 4 years, buried at Mount Moriac Cemetery
Eva Elizabeth — born in 1870 at Geelong, died on 30 December 1952 aged 81 at Wendouree
Louis and Marie Louise married in 1876 just a few years before Louis died on 18 April 1880 at Fernihurst. He was buried at Mysia Cemetery. Marie Louise died on 16 February 1911 at the age of 79 years at Kilpaniel.
Marie Louise had been married previously to Armand August le Court de Billott. They married at St Peter's at Eastern Hill on 12 January 1855. They had 3 children together before Armand's death in December 1859 from heart disease. Marie Louisa was born the following June:
Armand August Leon — born in 1856 at Raglan, died young
Armand August Henri — born in 1857, died in 1942 aged 85 at Salisbury West
Ernest Auguste Gustave — born in 1859, died in 1935 aged 76 at Korong Vale
Marie Louisa (registered as Elizabeth) — born on 12 June 1860 at Inglewood, married William Hamilton, died in 1939 aged 79 at Korong Vale
Armand and Ernest Le Court ran a sheep farm, selling sheep at the Bendigo Live Stock Market on a regular basis. In April 1808 they expanded their farm by purchasing 240 acres from the estate of William Eyres for £7 per acre. They then started successfully breeding quality draft horses and cattle.
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