Taits Point was named after an early settler in the area, James Tait, who arrived in Melbourne on the Palmyra on 25 November in 1839 with his wife Helen (née Easton), his son Alexander (aged 2) and daughter Agnes who was born as the Palmyra was coming into port. Agnes married Ewing Blyth on 26 October 1859 at Connewarre. An older daughter, Ann (aged 4), died during the voyage. James was the son of Alexander and Margaret (née Younger) Tait. On arrival they were employed by Charles Williamson. In 1840 James Tait was employed by John McVean on a run at Connewarre. On 5 November 1855 they selected 126 acres at what is now Taits Point at the end of what is now Staceys Road. They called their land Connewarre from an aboriginal name meaning black swan. They cleared the land and planted a market garden. Their children born in the Geelong district were:
Alexander — born in 1842 in Geelong, died on 18 June 1917 aged 75 at Connewarre, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
George — born in 1844 in Geelong, married Jane Gill in 1872, married Mary Jane Blair in 1887, died on 3 June 1923 at Mount Duneed, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Ann — born in 1846 in Geelong, died on 9 April 1940 aged 93½, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
James Easton — born in 1851, died 16 December 1894
Robert — born 1851, died 15 March 1933 aged 46 at Mount Duneed, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Helen Younger — born 1854 at Geelong, married Robert Henry Blair in 1875, died in 1926 aged 72 at Port Campbell
Margaret Janet — born 1856, died 17 November 1935 aged 79 at Geelong, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
Elizabeth — born 1859, married William Scott, died 8 July 1926 aged 66, buried in the Church of England section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery
James was a member of the Connewarre Road Board for five years.
Connewarre had been a tribal area for members of the Wathaurong tribe for hundreds of years. Convict William Buckley who had escaped from the first penal settlement at Port Phillip in 1803 lived with the tribe in this area for many years.
Between Geelong and Barwon Heads the Barwon River flows through a series of shallow tide-affected lakes and swamps. These are Lake Connewarre, Reedy Lake, Hospital and Salt Swamps. Taits Point was formed by a basalt flow from Mount Duneed damming the river to form Reedy Lake. The lakes were subsequently connected when the river channel finally eroded through the basalt. Prior to European settlement the river was salty upstream of Geelong. Two breakwaters were built to provide fresh water for the early settlement and industry in Geelong.
The number of Wathawurrung people who occupied this area had declined rapidly after 1830.
James Tait died on 12 October 1883 and is buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery. His wife, Helen who died on 3 November 1899 is buried with him. Many of their descendants are still living in the Connewarre and Mount Duneed area today.
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