175 years ago – Boundaries of County of Grant

Gazetteer map of VictoriaFrom the Geelong Advertiser Saturday 17 July 1841 [175 years ago] …

BOUNDARIES OF THE COUNTY OF GRANT

The Province of Port Phillip was formerly divided into two districts Western Port and Portland Bay each having a Commissioner of Crown Lands.  These districts were also called the Counties of Bourke and Grant in all matters relating to the sale and registration of lands.  The boundaries of the counties were not then fixed upon; but left to be determined when the progress of the surveys – the opening of new townships – the increase of the population – and the alienation of land from the Crown – should render it expedient to subdivide the districts, and to increase the number of the counties.  When the township of Portland was opened, at a distance of 150 miles from the capital of the county of Grant, it was considered expedient to define the limits of that county, and to make the township of Portland the nucleus of another county to be named Normanby, the boundaries of which will remain undefined until some intervening township shall be opened.  At the commencement of this year, Lieutenant Addis was appointed Commissioner, of Crown Lands for the County of Grant, Captain Fyans still holding the appointment of Crown Commissioner for the District of Portland Bay.  A considerable degree of uncertainty has since existed with respect to the boundaries of the respective districts under the jurisdiction of these two commissioners, many supposing (our selves among the number) that their limits were not distinct and independent, and that they might clash with each other in the performance of their duties; no notification of any change in the boundaries having been published in the Government Gazette, and the Proclamation of the first of July 1840 still remaining uncontradicted.  It is with considerable gratification therefore, that we publish the following description of the boundary of the County of Grant, now for the first time made public.

“The Coast Line from the mouth of the Werriby, Port Phillip, round to a point bearing south of the sources of the Barwon.  An imaginary line from that point to the sources of the Barwon. The Barwon from its sources to its junction with the Native Hut Creek.  The Native Hut Creek from that junction to the Buninyong and Melbourne road. The line of that road to the Werriby, and The Werriby River to its mouth.”

Lest the above description should not be quite intelligible to the general reader, we shall subjoin a few explanatory particulars. The county is bounded on the east by the waters of Port Phillip, from the Werriby to Point Lonsdale; and on the south by the ocean, from Point Lonsdale to a point near Cape Otway.  The River Barwon rises in the high land near Cape Otway, and runs nearly 30 miles N.N.E., forming part of the western boundary of the county.  It is then joined by the River Lee and the Native Hut Creek, and turns to the eastward, running through the centre of the county. The remainder of the western boundary is formed by tracing up the Native Hut Creek, to the point where it is crossed by the road from Buninyong to Melbourne then along that road, on the northwestern side of Station Peak to the crossing place on the Werriby near Greeves’s Inn [see note below], the remainder of the boundary being the River Werriby.

It is difficult to give an idea of the extent of the county from its exceedingly irregular outline.  In size, it is smaller than the average of the nineteen counties of the Middle District.  Its extreme length from the Werriby to Cape Otway, is about 70 miles.  Its extreme breadth from the Native Hut Creek to Indented Head is about 40 miles; but its average breadth is little more than half that number.  The area of the county may be about 1500 square miles.  It is somewhat strange, that although the boundary has been thus definitely fixed, the land in the neighbourhood of Lake Colac which has been advertised for sale, is described as being in the county of Grant, although twenty miles beyond its boundary.  When the land comes to be registered in the Supreme Court, this will be found to be a rather awkward misnomer.  A new inland county will no doubt soon be named, which will include these lands and the whole district of Geelong will eventually become divided into six or seven counties.  Of the land which has been advertised as open for selection, only two of the parishes (Murghebolac and Carrungemurnong) are properly within the limits of this county, the remaining three (Parwan, Elliminyt, and Nalangil) are in counties not yet named.  In the account of the Census which appears in to-day’s paper, it must be borne in mind that the comparatively small number of inhabitants in the county of Grant as compared to the population of Normanby, is owing to the circumstance of the latter not having any fixed boundary, and spreading over the space of nine or ten counties, so that in one place it comes within fifteen miles of Corio, and at another within twenty miles of Melbourne.

The boundaries of the county of Bourke have also been defined, but no secondary county has yet been named.  A change in the Commissionership, similar to that which has taken place here, has also been made, Mr. Airey having been appointed Commissioner for the County of Bourke, while Mr. Powlett continues to hold his situation as Commissioner for the district of Western Port.

The map above is from the State Library of Victoria and titled Gazetteer map of Victoria, March 31, 1865 and shows ‘towns, counties, railways, telegraphs, gold mining areas and some pastoral stations. Relief shown by hachures and spot heights’.

Greeves Inn: according to Les Blake’s Tales from Old Geelong

La Trobe had special interests in other parts of this district.  He and Fenwick delighted in camping and fishing by the mouth of the Barwon River where, in company with Major Mercer and Mr Learmonth, the Superintendent caught and cooked his first snapper over a campfire.  To expedite his journey from East Melbourne to Geelong he sent a relay horse in advance to Greeves Inn by the Werribee River; next morning he would ride twenty miles from home to have breakfast at the Inn, change horses there and reach Geelong by 11 o’clock; on more than one occasion he made the entire return journey in one day.

Another great article from 175 years ago.

150 Years – thank you Peter BEGG

Geelong First 150 YearsOn behalf of all local and family history researchers in our region I’d like to say a huge Thank You to Peter BEGG who has retired as a full time journalist at the Geelong Advertiser.  Peter was responsible for the magnificent publication Geelong~The First 150 Years.  The book was the culmination of Peter’s daily column celebrating 150 years of the Geelong Advertiser.

This publication is fully indexed in the Geelong & District database and covers a fantastic range of topics.

There was a great article in today’s Addy by Danny Lannen titled ‘Home is where a journo’s heart is’. [Geelong Advertiser. Saturday 20 February 2016, p. 37.]

There was also a tweet from his peers – fare-welling and thanking Peter for his time at the Addy.

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Now that Peter has so much spare time on his hands, I just hope he can remember and find the source of the photo of Anne Drysdale which appeared in the May 11 column – relating back to 1853.  The Bellarine Historical Society would love to find a copy of that photo for their Coriyule / Anne Drysdale / Caroline Newcomb display later this year!

Thank you Peter and all the best for the future.

175 years ago – Geelong Harbour and Corio Bay

Hotel at Point HenryFrom the Geelong Advertiser Saturday 26 June 1841 [175 years ago] …

About 15 miles up the bay [Port Phillip], the high shores of Indented Head bend towards the westward, and the arm of Port Phillip which stretches inland nearly 20 miles, is deep, capacious, and well sheltered.  The whole of this extent is available as a shipping port, and between Indented Head and Point Henry bears the name of

GEELONG HARBOUR

The anchorage at present frequented by merchantmen is near Point Henry, about 4 miles from the town of Corio.  It is there that the wool ships take in their cargoes.  Point Henry is a peninsula about two miles long and half a mile broad, which separates Outer Geelong Harbour from the Inner, or

CORIO BAY,

across the entrance to which a bar exists, which cannot be passed by any vessel drawing more than eleven feet; the mud and shells, however, which choak [sic] up the channel could be very easily cleared away; the mud, in fact, can be sounded to the depth of eighteen feet: if the channel were deepened for about a hundred yards, the largest class of merchantmen could enter the compact basin of Corio Bay, and anchor within a ship’s length of the Jetty at the township.  The bay is nearly land-locked from the outer harbour, and is about 3 miles in diameter, the area of the anchorage (the depth varying from 3 to 6 fathoms) is about four square miles.  At present, the largest of the Van Diemen’s Land traders can cross the bar, discharge their cargoes of timber at the township, and return with a cargo of fat wethers for the Launceston and Hobart Town markets.  The rise and fall of the tide is less than in any other part of Port Phillip.

Of course history shows us that for some decades the Geelong Town Council had the channel dredged however each episode took so long that by the time the dredging was “completed” the overseas ships had doubled or trebled in size and could not fit through the newly deepened channel!  Back to the drawing board!  It was 1893 before the Hopetoun Channel was completed and opened – more than 50 years after this article!  More can be read about the history of Point Henry.

This article in the Geelong Advertiser is even more interesting as it is a LONG article titled “Descriptive remarks on the harbours of Australia Felix” and in addition to Geelong Harbour and Corio Bay it includes:

  • Moruya Bay
  • Twofold Bay
  • Corner Inlet, Port Albert and Shallow Inlet
  • Sealers’ Cove
  • Western Port
  • Port Phillip
  • Port King
  • Hobson’s Bay
  • Melbourne
  • Port Fairy
  • Portland Bay

… a truly wonderful group of descriptions of the harbours around Victoria.

The sketch above is from The Building and Engineering Journal, December 27, 1890 and shows ‘Sketches at the new summer resort: Bellarine Gardens, Point Henry’.

Another great article from 175 years ago.

175 years ago – Retreat Inn

Retreat InnThe Retreat Inn was opened in 1840 in the “first” Geelong which is now South Geelong on the Barwon River.  Newspaper reports then referred to North Geelong which is NOT today’s North Geelong but today’s Geelong!  Confused?  Just think this through logically – most new towns were located on a river providing a source of fresh water.  So Geelong was initially created on the Barwon River.  It’s port was actually on the bay which was to the north of Geelong [now South Geelong] and hence was referred to as North Geelong.  North Geelong grew to become the centre of the thriving city, hence it was then called Geelong and not North Geelong.  So if you find a reference to North Geelong in newspapers and local records, be aware that it could mean Geelong and not the North Geelong we know today.  Some important buildings have been referred to in the Geelong Advertiser as being in North Geelong, and the SAME building has been referred to as being in Geelong.  An example of this is the Immigration Depot.  It was always in Geelong and not North Geelong (now, not then!).  But, I digress, albeit with interesting snippets – be prepared for more of these digressions in this 175 years ago series.

The Retreat Inn was located on the south west corner of Fyans Street and Bellerine Street in South Geelong … errrr … Geelong but now South Geelong … understand?

As with many hotels in Geelong / South Geelong / North Geelong [understand?] it had more than one name.  The name change sometimes coincided with a new licensee.  The Retreat Inn / Hotel was also known as the Valley Inn and the Factory Inn / Hotel.

On 30 December 1840 a preliminary meeting was held at the Retreat Inn to form a Cricket Club – this was formed in 1841.  There was no official oval – any large open space would do.  And these were “exhibition” matches held during the 1840s – such as one between the bricklayers and the carpenters of the district.

The photo above is a recent one of the Retreat Inn.  Over the years the Retreat Inn has been extended, renovated, rebuilt and everything in between, however it has continually operated on the same site since 1840 when the first licensee was Joseph GRIFFIN.  Other early licensees included Patrick McKEEVER, William PERREN, James Henry KNIGHT, Francis BALFOUR, James McINNIS, William McGUINNESS and Robert McPHERSON.  The latter had an interesting notation in Geelong Hotels and their Licensees – in 1855 Robert McPHERSON was granted a license with caution to abstain from fiddling and dancing!  How outrageous!

Another digression – the book Geelong Hotels and their Licensees by Bill Morrow and Ian Wynd is just one of hundreds of local books indexed in the Geelong & District database – why not search for your names or places?  It’s free and there are more than 1.89 million entries!

Enough digressing – from the Geelong Advertiser, Saturday 30 January 1841, page 3 …

J GRIFFIN, Geelong Retreat Inn, Is happy to have it in his power to inform the Settlers of this district, that he has secured the services of one of the best FARRIERS in the Colony, so that he can now undertake orders of every description, either in Farriery or general Smith Work ; and he is confident of giving complete satisfaction to all who may honor him with their commands.

Don’t you just love the words and phrases used?

175 years ago!

Old Geelong Advertiser buildingAnyone researching in our Geelong & District region who doesn’t know that the Geelong Advertiser is THE paper to use must have been hiding under a rock!

You can read some of the history of this wonderful newspaper or visit the paper’s current web site.  This newspaper has been published continuously since 1840 and still going strong today.  In the earlier years the Geelong Advertiser was the newspaper for ALL areas of Western Victoria and south east South Australia.  It carried important news and VERY personal news – some that they wouldn’t be allowed to publish today for fear of being sued!

It’s full of wonderful articles and snippets for local and family history researchers so it’s a wonderful candidate for “On This Day”.  BUT it wasn’t published every day in the early years and I’m certainly not up to doing a daily blog.  Instead I’ve decided to do a semi-regular blog with entries from the newspaper 175 years ago.  Not on a specific date but sometime during the year 175 years ago – so this year that means 1841.

And of course you can do your own research as the Geelong Advertiser is searchable on TROVE – currently up to 1926.

So this is the beginning of a series of blogs for “175 years ago!”