All posts by 2b4armed

Lawn Bowler, Coach and Umpire, Victoria, Australia. Former Vic. State Rep. (Armed) 2013 & 2014. Vic. State Singles and Pairs Armed Champion 2019. Genealogist and Web Editor.

Deniliquin Pioneers

The Deniliquin Genealogy Society Inc. has put together a wonderful collection of stories detailing the life and times, the trials and tribulations, of its earliest ancestors (pre- 1900), as seen through the lens of history, writings and the telling of family folklore by their descendants.  It is a wonderful read and must have, if you see your family name in the list of contents below, or were at some time, a resident of Deniliquin.

This book is available for purchase through the Deniliquin Genealogy Soc. (at the time of writing the cost of the book is $30 plus postage, $12.95 Standard post or $17.50 Express post).  

For more information you can go to their FACEBOOK site or contact Val on 5881 3980

The First Family of Michael Halbert.

“The  Other  Family” “Albert Miller – Who?”

Michael Halbert

The descendants of Albert Miller Halbert (as Sergeant Shultz oft’ said to Colonel Klink), could rightly and honestly say “I  know nothing” when it comes to their forebear “Michael”. The earlier generations, if they did know anything, did not share it, but I do believe they were as much “in the dark” as I was.

I often pondered what his earlier life may have been like, did he have a loving home, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, brothers and sisters–in-law. 

To find out more I started down the usual genealogy pathways. I did a course or two, visited a few State Libraries, National Archives and localised Historical Society’s and Genealogy Groups.

I had 2 “certificated” clues, the first source, his own death certificate, called him Albert Michael and told me that his fathers name was “Halbert” and mother “unknown”. The second source came from his son Gordon’s birth certificate, it said he was born in “Kingower”. Not a lot to go on, I’ll admit, but in the end those two “finds” took me on a journey that would indefatigably prove that our satellite existence was actually just a part of the larger galaxy of Halberts.

Above the Birth Certificate of Michael Halbert, the Death Certificate of Albert Michael Halbert , the signature of Albert Miller Halbert and the Grave of Albert Halbert.

My investigations found that this Michael married a Rose on the 21st January 1884, but this was not “my” Rose (Keogh), this was Rose Fry, daughter of Thomas, a butcher, and Brigid Fry (nee Moore).

The Bride, Rose Fry was born in Kingower, and at age 19 or 22 (?) married Michael, aged 25, at St Mary’s, Kingower, 12 kms south-west of Inglewood and 45 km west of Bendigo.

(St Mary’s courtesy of photographer John Young and Vic. Places)

Rose had 8-13 siblings (?). The Bridegroom, Michael Halbert was the sixth of thirteen children that we know about, the first, a female Maud, was born in 1851 and died in 1851. So that made Michael the fifth of five brothers, with seven others of mixed gender to follow. 

Michael and Rose had  4 children, Harold James 1884-1967, Albert Gordon 1886-1967, Ivy Yatla 1887-1889, and  Miller Walter 1890-1974. The three male’s were all named in honour of Michael and Rose’s siblings. But where did the name Ivy Yatla come from? It was just too much of a coincidence that my Albert and Rose’s children also shared these names, including Ivy Yatala(!), and more, like Lindsay, Dudley, Jane and William (all siblings of Michael) as can be seen on pages further on.   How could he?

For me, that meant that all the children born by my grandmothers on both sides were…illegitimate!!!! Yeh, the McMillan’s and now the Halbert’s! (Kinda makes me proud, actually, as exceptional ladies they have proven to be.) 

That brought home the niggling conundrum, was he a bigamist?, did he actually marry my great grandmother Rose Keogh in Coolgardie in 1895, as he said he did? The answer is of course, NO! Many searches were done by the first and second families, to no avail. It could be that his “timeout” in New Zealand was necessary because, as a “Wife Deserter” (if he was, in respect of Rose Honor Fry), he could be arrested and jailed if he tried to return to Australia within three years of desertion. This Rose, it appears, never lodged papers for divorce, desertion, or maintenance.

According to Helen Harris (Researcher) “As there is no record of his first wife taking out a warrant for desertion, or inserting a Missing Friends notice, or attempting to divorce him, it is reasonable to say that either they came to a mutual understanding and parted, and that he agreed to send maintenance payments, or that she already had another male friend to provide for her and the children.  Rose would have needed financial support of some sort.”

Two things are certain, firstly, Michael’s last address before jumping onto a ship, was Pickles St, Port Melbourne, where he was surrounded by those that later became “Racing Identities”, (Jockeys, Owner’s, Trainer’s, Bookies etc.) and secondly, that he never returned to Victoria.

No record can be found of him as a registered Jockey in Victoria or Australia, an occupation he stated as fact, later.

(Above left, the Death Certificate of Rose Halbert, (nee Fry) (Above right the Melbourne “Sands and McDougall” of 1892) NOT AVAILABLE.

As the Sands and McDougall can be a year or two out, as off the date of publish and as Michael was already  a “Resident” of New Zealand in the 1893 Electoral Rolls (which can also be a year or two out), one could assume, that he left  Australia a few years before 1892.

Rose Halbert (nee Fry) also left Victoria about the same time as Michael as there is no record of her being there past 1890.  She died in Redfern, a suburb of Sydney, at her 92 Bourke St., home aged 63 (or 66). She died of carcinoma of the uterus and secondary cancers. She had seen a doctor the day before she was found deceased, by her first born son, Harold James Halbert. One must wonder why, as she neared death, she was alone, in her own home? Why not in the care of family or hospital medico’s?

The Obituary notice in the Sydney Morning Herald of Monday 30 January 1928 was abrupt and to the point, giving the scarcest detail.

“Halbert: January 29, 1928, at her residence, 92 Bourke Street, Redfern, Rose Halbert, aged 63 years.”

Rose, her son Harold, and daughter in-law Ruby share a grave at  South Head Cemetery, Vaucluse, N. S. W. The funeral notices for Rose read:

HALBERT.-The Relatives and Friends of the Late Mrs. ROSE HALBERT are kindly invited to attend her Funeral; to leave her late residence, 92 Bourke street. Redfern, THIS (Monday) AFTERNOON, at 2 o’clock, for the Church of England Cemetery, South Head.

HALBERT.-The Relatives and Friends of Messrs. H. J. JACK and GORDON HALBERT, are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of their late beloved MOTHER, Rose Halbert; to leave her late residence, 92 Bourke Street, Redfern, THIS MONDAY, at 2 p.m. for Church of England Cemetery, South Head. Motor funeral.

(Surely “Messrs. H. J. JACK and GORDON HALBERT” are Harold James , Miller Walter  (aka Jack) and Albert Gordon Halbert……but it’s not obvious from the notice?)

Rose and Michael’s 3 boys, Harold, Albert and  Miller grew up without a father figure throughout their formative years, as Michael would have absconded, by the time Harold had turned 5, maybe 6.

Nevertheless, Rose’s decision to move back to Sydney., N. S. W., would have provided plenty of male attention from her parent’s and in-laws, OR, maybe it was just male attention? We don’t know how the family was supported.

Not much is known about the Fry and Moore families (Rose’s parents) but we know that her father Thomas Fry, a butcher, died in Kingower in 1870 when his last child of 9, Emma, was just 3.

Bridget, his wife, who was 10 years his junior, lived on for another 29 years, possibly marrying William Innes in Inglewood, Victoria in about 1873 at age 40.  She died, however in Sydney N.S.W. officially as Bridget M. Fry in 1899, aged 66.

But let’s have a peek at the “Eastern States” children of my great grandfather and see how they fared in comparison to his “Western Australian” children.

(One could only explain the later as the “hard working poor”, fond of the occasional drink and a gamble, turning a quid where they could and keeping mainly to themselves. They never became rich or famous, nor did they seek the company of the rich or famous. There were definitely no grand abodes dwelt in, nor much desire to travel, for travels sake. They just made do with what their purse allowed, enjoying a simple life, with no extended family or relatives of any kind, to draw comfort from or cause angst.)

Indeed, Michael (namesake and great grandchild of Albert Miller/Michael from the East), states, on seeing a photograph of his Great Grandfather, “I just noticed that Michael didn’t have shoe laces. A bit ironic, knowing his son would have had a maid and  a chauffeur, to drive his Rolls Royce, both living in.”

You just have to look at this photo to see it is so.  But we are talking about Western Australia in the “Depression Years”, and a man, that it seems for now, didn’t like, need or want any contact with his Eastern States family, of any ilk.

Michael (AKA Albert Miller) Halbert and Rose (nee Keogh)

The Gammage’s and Bryant’s of Richmond.

Bill Graham

Two Richmond Families during and after the First World War.  One with a US Civil War connection.

Bill Graham, a friend of Richmond & Burnley Historical Society,  who has donated a number of items, has been working on a history of two families who lived in Richmond throughout the early years of the 20th century, of which two members were to become his maternal grandparents.  The Richmond timeline of this story is the period from around 1915 to 1923.  The families were the Gammage’s, who lived at 74 Gardner Street and the Bryant’s, who lived firstly at 64 Somerset Street and later at 54 Fraser Street.

The Gammage family originally came from in Oxfordshire.  Charles Gammage senior had emigrated to America with his family in 1845 at the age of 15.   He married in 1852 and fathered 4 children.  Charles served in the Union army during the American civil war.   He was wounded and captured at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff on October 21, 1861.  After being released from a Confederate prison camp in 1862, he was discharged from the army and soon after, deserted his family.   After several years his wife had him declared legally deceased, allowing her to re-marry.  However, far from being dead, Charles had departed New York in 1863 on a ship bound for Melbourne, a fact that was not uncovered until nearly a century later.

Charles married two more times in Australia and fathered 4 children here.   He lived in and around Beechworth from the 1860s until 1915 and spent the final year of his life in Wonthaggi.  Apart from vague rumours, Charles’ Australian family knew little of his American past until the 1980s when an American descendant in Rhode Island, where Charles had lived, discovered that he had moved to Victoria after abandoning his family.   After many years of research, she established contact with his Australian descendants.   Thus, the details of his lives in America and Australia finally came to be known to his many descendants.   A local historian with an interest in American Civil War veterans who came to Australia after that conflict, became active in Charles Gammage’s story.  It eventually resulted in a US army headstone being placed on his previously unmarked grave in Wonthaggi in 1990.

Charles’ fourth Australian son, Charles Edwin Gammage, was born in 1874 at Stoney Creek, near Beechworth.  He worked as a sawyer and then a boilermaker.   Charles’ work had taken him to places as varied as Thailand and Western Australia before the family settled in Richmond.  They were recorded as living at 74 Gardner Street in the 1915 Sands and McDougall.    Charles Edwin Gammage (pictured here) and his daughter, Irene (also pictured as she was in 1914) worked at the Vickers Ruwolt engineering works, which is now the site of Victoria Gardens.  

The Bryant family came to Australia in November 1912.   The father, Benjamin, was in the boot trade and their eldest son, William had been serving his apprenticeship as a bootmaker.  The family lived at 54 Gardner Street and William knew Irene from school in Richmond.  They used to attend dances in Bridge Road, but the Great War had changed everything.  In February 1917, William enlisted in the A. I. F., on the day of his 18th birthday.   He served as a signaller with the 2nd Division and was awarded the Military Medal for his deeds during an action at Morlancourt in the Somme region.  William Bryant and Irene Gammage had been close before his embarkation and he wrote many letters to her during his time away. They were married in 1923 and this photo dates from 1950.  The letters remained in the family and are currently being scanned.  It is hoped they will be made available to R. B. H. S. researchers in the near future.

William and Irene Bryant

(Bill also has records that show that the widow of Charles Edwin Gammage Senior, Annie Jane, had lived at 14 Murphy Street Richmond around 1925, Charles Edwin having died in 1922. Records show she spent some time at Bontharambo in Wangaratta, hence another connection of interest, this time to the famous Richmond pioneer, Rev Docker.)

The Rape of Catherine Jane Keogh

(Sincere thanks to my childhood friend Susan Downes for locating and photographing the Keogh plot at Lake Terrace Cemetery)

My Great Grandmothers 3rd sibling, Catherine Jane Keogh, had a sad and short life. She was raped in 1887, and committed suicide on 1st November 1890, just a year and a half after the death of her father, and nine months after the death of her youngest sister Rebecca at six months of age. She was buried on a Saturday at the Lake Terrace Cemetery, Mt Gambier, in plot 106, with her father and younger sister. The funeral departed at 2pm from her mother’s house, in Edward St, Claraville.

“Her end was peace.” was stated in the obituary.

She was raped two months after turning eleven and died a few weeks after turning fourteen.

The first report was swift in coming: “CRIMINAL ASSAULT ON A CHILD – Yesterday afternoon a young man named Robert Heaps, residing at O. B. Flat, was arrested by M. C. Singleton on a charge of having on the afternoon of Monday criminally assaulted a child aged 11 years, named Catherine Jane Keogh, daughter of Mr. James Keogh, a boundary rider on the Moorak Estate. Keogh resides in one of the Moorak paddocks about a mile south of the Blue Lake. On Monday afternoon the girl was walking through the paddock towards the Mount, when, it is alleged, she was accosted by the prisoner, who gave her a sixpence and asked her to assist him to lift up two sheep that were lying down some distance off.  She agreed and went with him to help him when he committed the offence. The girl was subjected to very rough treatment, and it is stated was seriously injured. Heaps will be brought before the Police Court today. (Border Watch, Wednesday 21 December 1887, page 2)

Robert Heaps was charged that day:

“Mount Gambier Police Court – Wednesday, December 21st Before Mr. J. P. Stow, S. M.

Robert Heaps, a lad of about 16 years of age, was charged, on the information of James Keogh, with

having, at near Mount Gambier on the 19th inst., criminally assaulted his daughter Catherine Jane

Keogh, a child under twelve years of age. Mr. Daniel appeared for the prisoner, Corporal Montagu,

who conducted the case, asked that the Court might be cleared of spectators, but the S.M. declined

to do so, saying, he did not see what good purpose would be served by it. The witnesses called for the Prosecution were Margaret (Martha) Keogh, the girl’s Mother; Catherine Jane Keogh herself; Dr. A.W. Powell, Assistant Colonial Surgeon, and Mounted Constable Singleton. James Keogh lives in one of the Moorak paddocks, about a mile south of the Blue Lake.

On Monday afternoon, at 4 o’clock, Mrs. Keogh sent her daughter Catherine Jane, who was 11 years old on the 9th of last October, to Mrs. Berkfeld’s, about a mile distant, for some butter. She went across the paddock and got the butter. Returning the same way, the little girl met the prisoner, whom she knew by sight and name very well, about half-way to her home.  He was dressed in

moleskin trousers, a grey coat, and black hat. He asked her to go and help him up with two sheep, which he said were lying on their backs in the paddock. He gave her sixpence to do so, and she agreed. He led her over a hill, and when on the other side of it, threw her down and criminally

assaulted her. He told her that if she did not lie quiet, he would hammer her. She resisted and cried out, but no one came to her assistance.  On the way, he asked her if she knew what his name was, and she said “no”, and explained in Court that she did so because she was afraid of him but could not say why. He then said his name was Lange, then Ruwoldt, and afterwards Johnston. When he had assaulted her, he let her go, and she ran home, and immediately told the story to her mother. It was a little after 5 o’clock when she returned home, and she appeared in an exhausted state and was crying. Her mother saw that her clothes were torn and much soiled.  There were also finger marks on both her wrists. The same afternoon her mother went to the residence of Mr. B. Henly, the stepfather of the prisoner, and saw the lad. He denied that he had seen the girl that day or committed any assault upon her. Mrs. Keogh, between half-past 4 and 6 o’clock, when her daughter was absent, saw a boy wearing light trousers, a grey coat, and a black hat cross the paddock in the direction her daughter would take to come home. Prisoner’s dress, when she saw him at Henly’s exactly corresponded, he having on faded white moleskin trousers, a grey coat, and a black hat.  She told the lad she would make him suffer for it, and he replied “Well, you can have your way and I’ll have my way.”

Mrs. Keogh took her child to Dr. Powell, at the Hospital, on Tuesday morning, and on examination the doctor found that she had been injured, and that the evidence indicated that the assault had been committed within 48 hours. The lad was arrested at OB Flat by Mounted Constable Singleton on Tuesday.  He said “I never seen the girl yesterday. They’re only doing this to try and get me into it.” The clothes the girl wore when the assault was committed were produced in Court and bore unmistakable traces of a violent assault. Corporal Montagu said that if the S. M. did not think a prima facie case had been presented, he would ask for a remand till Saturday. 

The S.M. said a prima facie case had been shown.

Mr. Daniel first proposed to get the prisoner to give evidence, and afterwards said he would call Mrs. Alexander Johnston, but on second thoughts, as the S.M. considered a prima facie case had been made out, decided to call no evidence that day. Mrs. Johnston, it was said in evidence, was with her son gathering wood in the paddock when it was crossed by the little girl. The girl saw them, and said the lad passed a little way from them before he approached her, but Mrs. Johnston said she saw neither the lad nor the girl, and was not therefore called, although summoned by the police. (The S.M., in answer to Mr. Daniel, said he would allow bail, two sureties of £40 each.) (Border Watch, Mount Gambier, Saturday 24 Dec 1887, page 2)

MOUNT GAMBIER CIRCUIT COURT., Wednesday, April 25. Before His Honor, the Chief Justice.

The sitting of the Court was, resumed at 10 o’clock. ASSAULT ON A GIRL. Robert Heaps, otherwise known as Robert Hugh Heaps, answered to his bail and was placed on his trial charged with having, on December 19, at Moorak, feloniously assaulted one Catherine Jane Keogh, a girl under the age of 12 years. He pleaded not guilty and was defended by Mr. Daniel.

The jury sworn were as follows: — Andrew Loutit (Foreman), Archibald MacGugan, James MacNamee, Duncan MacKenzie, Adolf Kieselbach, George Maroske, Thomas Morris, Carl Lindner, Dugald MacKenzie, Johannes F. Lange, Archibald MacKenzie, and Martin Malone.

The Crown Solicitor opened the case by a short address to the jury, and then called Mrs. Martha

Keogh, the mother, of the little girl; the prosecutrix herself (Catherine); Dr. Powell, who examined her, and Mounted Constable Singleton.

Catherine Jane Keogh, aged 11 1/2 years, is the daughter of James Keogh, a boundary rider on the Moorak estate, and lives with her parents in a paddock about a mile south of the Blue Lake.

On the afternoon of December 19, she was sent by her mother to Mrs. Berkfield’s, about a mile

distant, for some butter. Whilst returning across the paddock she met the prisoner about halfway to her house. He wore nearly white Moleskin trousers, a grey coat, and a black hat. He asked her to help him to lift up two sheep, which he said were lying on their backs in the paddock. He gave her

sixpence to do it, and she agreed. He led her over a hill, telling her on the way that his name was Lange, then Ruwoldt, and then Johnston, and when in a valley on the other side of it threw her down and committed an offence upon her. He told her that if she did not lie quiet he would beat her. She resisted, and cried out, but no one came to her assistance. When he had assaulted her he let her go, and she ran home immediately and told her mother.

She reached home a little after 5 o’clock, appeared in an exhausted state, and was crying. Her clothes were torn and soiled, and she had finger marks on both her wrists. Mrs. Keogh went over to the residence of Mr. R. Henly, who is stepfather of the prisoner, the same afternoon, and saw the lad, who stoutly denied having seen the girl that day or done anything to her. Mrs. Keogh, between 4.30 and 5 o’clock in the afternoon saw a boy wearing light trousers, a grey coat, and a black hat crossing the paddock in the direction her daughter would come home; and prisoner’s dress, when she saw him at Henly’s, exactly corresponded. Mrs. Keogh took her daughter to Dr. Powell, at the Hospital, next morning, and, on examination, the doctor found that she had been injured, apparently within 48 hours.

The lad was arrested by Mounted Constable Singleton on the day after the assault. He said “I never seen the girl yesterday. They’re only doing this to try and get me in for it.”

In answer to Mr. Daniel, Mrs. Keogh said her girl told her of the assault as soon as she came home, and said it was Robert Heaps who committed it. Her daughter was 11 years old on the 9th of last October. On her way to Mrs. Henly’s she (Mrs. Keogh) called at Mrs. Alexander Johnston’s, but did not tell Mrs. Johnston that her son had ruined her daughter, but that Robert Heaps had done so, and asked her if she had seen him interfere with her girl. She never offered to settle the matter with Henly nor asked him to pay the doctor’s expenses. In cross-examination’ the girl said that when the prisoner asked her if she knew his name, as they were going over the hill, she said ” No,” because she was frightened. He then told her his name was Lange, then Ruwoldt, and then Johnston. The boy had to pass Johnston’s cart which was in the paddock for wood before he came to her. She kept the

butter, which was in a tin pie-dish, rolled in a cloth, in her hand all the time he was assaulting her.

Mr. Daniel addressed the jury before calling evidence and said the main question would be as to the identity; of the prisoner as the one who committed the assault. Although legally, a girl of

prosecutrix’s age could not consent, yet the question would be one for consideration as affecting the credibility of her statement. The whole circumstances seem to point to the “fact that she knew

what she was going over the hill for”. The case would be that there was much doubt as to whether

it was the prisoner who committed the assault or someone else; and that there were surrounding

 circumstances which indicated that it was very improbable the prisoner was guilty.

He called Jane Johnston, wife of Alexander Johnston, OB Flat, who said Mrs. Keogh came to her place on the evening of the 19th of December last, at six o’clock, and said her boy had been in the paddock with her girl. Told her it could not be, as the boy was with her that afternoon. Was in the paddock that afternoon but did not see the girl nor the prisoner.

By Mr. Mann—Was in the paddock at 5 or a quarter past 5 (could not positively state) and returned home, about six o’clock.

Mrs. Keogh was very much excited. She said the boy had told her girl that his name was Johnston.

She said first that her daughter had been indecently, assaulted, and that the boy who did it said his

name was Johnston. Witness, was much put out about it, and asked her what clothes he wore. She said light clothes, faded moleskin, and witness said her boy was not dressed like that. Mrs. Keogh then asked if she had seen anyone pass, and a little boy of witness’s said he had seen Robert Heaps pass a short time before witness went home; that was six o’clock.

Welwood James Anderson, schoolmaster, OB Flat, said he saw prisoner on the road between

Johnston’s and Berkfield’s on Monday afternoon, December 19, as near as witness could judge about 4 o’clock. Knew the boy well, and always had a high opinion of him. By Mr. Mann-Noticed prisoner that afternoon had light trousers on; could not swear positively to the colour of his coat: and hat. It was somewhere about 4 o’clock.

Christina Henly, wife of Robert Henly, and mother of the prisoner, said her son, when he returned from town on December 20, had nothing peculiar in his manner, he had white moleskin trousers on, a grey coat, and a light drab hat. He brought a parcel, done up in a red and white handkerchief. He went to work at once carrying water from Coutt’s yard. – When Mrs. Keogh arrived, the boy was dressed the same, but had changed his hat for a black one. By Mr. Mann-It was a soft felt her son had been wearing, the black one he afterwards put on was a soft one. She could not tell when he came back, but it was pretty early.

By His Honor-would not swear to her son’s age, thought he was 15 years last Christmas. (A

certificate put in by the Crown Solicitor stated that he was born on Christmas Day, 1871, which would make his age four months over sixteen years.)

Robert Henly, stepfather of the prisoner, said Mrs. Keogh went to his place on Monday afternoon,

December 19, and said, “I don’t want to get any poor person’s child into trouble, and if we can

manage to square it, we’ll do it,” She said, ” I would not take less than £20 for what has happened to my little girl today.” By the Crown Solicitor-Witness’s wife was there at the time and heard it. Mrs. Keogh was a little bit flurried, his little girl, aged 13 years was there, but he would not swear she heard it. The prisoner was sitting on the sofa, and he believed heard the whole of it. The girl was close to the boy. Did not speak to the boy about it, as he did not believe it was the boy. Spoke to his wife about it. Could not say when the boy came home, but saw him when, he went for the water at five o’clock. He was dressed in a grey coat, moleskin trousers, and a white hat. Was quite sure Mrs. Keogh said she would not take £20 for it. Witness did not offer to square it. The boy only took part in the conversation when she tackled him about it, and wanted to hammer him, and so on. She knew better than “to do that”. Witness would have put her out at once. She said to the boy after that, “You nasty little wretch, you done it, and if ever I get you coming across that paddock again I will acquaint Mr. Williams, and he won’t let you go across again.” The boy denied it; and she said she would go into town that night and get a policeman and have him locked up before midnight.

Prisoner said, “I’ll have my way and you can have yours.”

Catherine Heaps, the girl referred to by Henly, was called. She said she heard Mrs. Keogh say to her

mother that if she paid the doctor’s bill she would not say anything more about it. She said she

would take £20 for it. By Mr. Mann-Her mother and brother and stepfather were present.   

Catherine Heaps, the girl referred to by Henly, was called. She said she heard Mrs. Keogh say to her mother that if she paid the doctor’s bill she would not say anything more about it. She said she would take £20 for it. By Mr. Mann-Her mother and brother and stepfather were present.          

Her father was round at the end of the house and did not enter the room. Her mother did not enter the house. Her brother was sitting on the sofa, and witness was at the table. Mrs. Keogh did not go into the house but went to see what the boy had on. He had on a pair of moleskin trousers, a grey coat, and a black hat. Mrs. Keogh said he was a scamp and had ruined her girl. He said he had never done it. She said she would prosecute him, and he said she could have her way and he would have his. Her father and mother were out at the end of the house. They entered the house in about 5 minutes. Mrs. Keogh asked her stepfather what he was going to do about the case, and he said he could do nothing. She said she would have him up at Court about it and went away immediately.

Mr. Daniel then called Joseph Harford, teacher, Yahl, whose school at OB Flat prisoner attended three years, and who never found any reason for fault in prisoner; Benjamin Davis, farmer, for whom prisoner had worked off and on for three years, and who found his character honest and truthful; James Paris, farmer, who had known him 7 years, and thought he always bore a good character, being quiet and truthful; and George Coutts, farmer, who had known prisoner 7 or 8 years, and had had him in his employ, and who said he bore a good moral character, like most other boys in the neighbourhood.

The Prisoner then made a short statement. He said he went round the road from Mount Gambier home on December 19 and met Mr. Anderson between Johnston’s and Berkfield’s. It would be 4 o’clock then, and he went straight home. After being at home an hour and three quarters he saw Mrs. Keogh coming down the road. She went and spoke to his stepfather in the garden, and he (prisoner) went inside.

Mr. Daniel, in his address for the prisoner, contended that a complete defence had been made out against the crime charged, for unless the jury believed the statements of Mrs. Keogh and her daughter against the other witnesses they must conclude there was no case against the prisoner. He argued that both the principal witnesses for the prosecution were uncertain who had assaulted the girl, and that Mrs. Keogh, having accused Robert Heaps of it and failed to get a monetary

settlement, had adhered to her accusation, not because she was sure it was he who was the

offender, but because having done so much she did not see her way clear to go back. The time at which Anderson met the prisoner made it clear he was not the offender.

The Crown Solicitor pointed out that consent was no element in the case, as by the law no child under the age of 12 years could consent. The jury, further, could have no doubt that the girl had been injured between the time she left her mother’s house and returned on December 19. He

contended that the device set up by the prisoner, an old device in such case that of an alibi had failed entirely, because none of the witnesses, either for the prosecution or defence, fixed the time certainly, and half an hour either way decided it. The witnesses Mrs. Johnston and the Henlys had been allowed to be called to throw discredit on the testimony of Mrs. Keogh and her daughter, but it had failed to do so. Mrs. Johnston did not contradict Mrs. Keogh, and the evidence of the

Henlys, so contradictory as it was, established nothing.

His Honor summed up very carefully and at great length. He pointed out that the only difficulty

the jury would find in the case would be as to the prisoner’s identity with the person who  

assaulted the child. Was she or was she not a witness of truth? The first answer to that was the evidence as to character of the boy. The discrepancy in the time given by the several witnesses that the little girl knew the reason why the prisoner was taking her over the hill that afternoon would was of small import, because, speaking merely from impression, there was nothing in respect of which a mistake could more easily be made, or contradiction more, likely, than time. The prisoner was seen in the neighbourhood that afternoon. The suggestion of the counsel for the defence that the little girl knew the reason why the prisoner was taking her over the hill that afternoon would scarcely commend itself to the minds of the jury. Referring to the interviews between Mrs. Keogh and Mrs, Johnston, he said it would be for the jury to say whether Mrs. Johnston did not mistake an interrogation for an accusation of her son; and they would have to say whether the testimony of the Henlys was not exaggerated with the purpose of getting a member of their family out of trouble. Even if Mrs. Keogh did offer to settle the case for £20 or any other amount it would not be an answer to the case. Having called attention to the salient features of the case it would be for the jury to say, on a careful review of the evidence, first, were they satisfied the girl was under 12 years of age; secondly, were they satisfied that she was violated; and lastly having regard to the evidence on both sides, were they satisfied beyond doubt that the prisoner was the offender.

The jury, after a quarter of an hour’s retirement, found the prisoner guilty, but strongly

recommended him to mercy on account of his youth and the good character given him by so many of his neighbours.

His Honor, addressing the jury, said the sentence he should have to pass was not the sentence he would like to pass, or such a sentence as the jury desired, but he would make a special

recommendation to His Excellency the Governor on the subject. He could not sentence the

prisoner to less than four years; and it was simply shocking that he should be compelled to

sentence a youth of prisoners age to so long a term, but there was no alternative.

The representation, however, he would make to His Excellency would have the result of giving effect to the jury’s recommendation. Of course, he should have passed a very different sentence if he had an option in the matter. The jury further recommended that the prisoner should be prevented from associating with other criminals.

His Honor, in sentencing the prisoner, commented on the enormity and cruelty of his offence. Conviction for it made him liable to be imprisoned for the term of his “natural life”, and the

lowest term he could give was four years, but he would make a representation to the Governor, which would have the effect of making it shorter by several years, The jury were anxious he should be prevented associating with other criminals, and the arrangements made by the Sheriff at the Adelaide Gaol to that end were complete and satisfactory. The sentence was that he be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for four years, and that he receives one whipping of 12 strokes; the term of the sentence to be served in the Adelaide Gaol.


The jury were then discharged. His Honor, in discharging them, remarked that although the last two cases were serious ones, the calendar was a light one for this large district. It was matter for wonder that throughout South Australia there had been a great falling off in offences since the bad times set in, perhaps the reason was that people had not so much money to spend in drink which was a very fruitful source of crime and that many of the floating population who generally produced the bulk of the cases on the criminal calendar had, under the influence of the bad times, drifted away to other places where money was more readily obtained. These were undoubtedly two of the causes conducive to the lightness of the calendars in the colony. It was also, a satisfaction, looking at the administration of the criminal law for a number of years, to know that in South Australia we had practically no permanent criminal class; he did not think there were many dozen people in the colony who made crime their means of livelihood. That was proved by the very small number of second convictions they had in the colony. He was sorry to hear the district was not so prosperous as it had been in the past, but he hoped South Australia was about to have a better time, and that when next he came to the District on Court duty he would be able to congratulate it on better times. (“Hear, hear” from one of the jurymen.) The Court then rose. (Border Mail, April 1887)

McMillan’s of Grey Abbey

A Tale of Two Brothers
The McMillan’s from Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland

(A fabulous story by Ian McMillan, former Chair of the Camberwell Art Show) 

It’s an eerie feeling wandering around a graveyard in an ancient abbey across the other side of the world. Tumble down and weathered grave stones lie everywhere with no apparent order to the overgrown jumble. Then after a long search in trying to decipher the faded inscriptions of generations long past and forgotten there comes a eureka moment when one of the stones finally yields the family name McMillan. But is it ours? Does it create the link from our forefathers in protestant Northern Ireland and the fleeing population to the new world in the mid 1800s.

More scraping of moss slowly reveals its secrets and the names appear. They match those on the piece of paper you hold which was
provided by a friend with a genealogical interest. There they lie those old bones of family members destined to remain in the old world. You wonder what they would think to have a Great Great Grandson with his daughter from a different world and time come to visit and pay respect and thanks for giving them life and opportunity.

Life in Grey Abbey
The Town of Grey Abbey named after its ancient abbey is located on
the shores of Strangford Lough 20 miles East of Belfast. King Charles 1st proclaimed it a port and by 1659 the population of the parish was only 117 people. When ancestor Hamilton McMillan was born in 1776, the parish population was 1550 with 97% Presbyterians. In 1834 the village consisted of one main street about 500 metres long leading from the shore and two short ones. There were 138 one-storey houses, all slate roofed & 27 two-storey houses. There was a row of new, stone, ground floor houses on either side of the street but even with back doors, the slops
and dirt were still flung into the road. There were 7 grocers, 25 spirit shops, 1 boot maker, 1 doctor, 2 woollen drapers. There was a school for males & females near the church and one policeman.
Most inhabitants were weavers of linen cloth which was made in large quantities. The village was neither lighted nor paved and was in a hollow and not visible until approached nearby. There was a
water mill & 2 windmills in the parish.
The 3 commonest surnames in this parish were Brown, Bailie and Hamilton showing Scottish heritage from the settlers led by Hugh Montgomery who arrived from 1606.
On to the New World
The protestant McMillan’s from lowlands Scottish heritage lived for at least a couple of generations in this confined rural environment. Then the potato famine, the lure of gold and a better life in the new world enticed them and millions like them to try their luck on the other side of the world.
The McMillan line can be traced back to Hamilton McMillan (b 1776; d 22 May 1828) who married Jane (b 1784; d 15 Mar 1826) in 1804. Both are buried in the family plot at Grey Abbey.
Hamilton and Jane had 5 children –
i. NATHANIEL MCMILLAN, b. 1807, Grey Abbey, Newtonards, Co Down, Ireland; d. 03 Oct 1843, Ballybrain, County Down, Ireland.
ii. SARAH MCMILLAN, b. 1822; d. Bef. 1828, County Down, Ireland.
iii. JOHN MCMILLAN, d. Bef. 1828, County Down, Ireland.
iv. JAMES MCMILLAN, d. Bef. 1828, County Down, Ireland.
v. ELIZABETH MCMILLAN, d. Bef. 1828, County Down, Ireland.
Our direct ancestor Nathaniel McMillan married Agnes McLeod in 1827 in County Down and had six sons. Agnes was born in 1809 and raised 11 children. She died in Chewton Victoria in 1896.

i. HAMILTON MCMILLAN, b. 1830, Newtonards Co. Down Ireland (nr Belfast); d. 28 Mar 1912, Chewton, Victoria.
ii. JOHN MCMILLAN, b. 1834, Ireland; d. 14 Mar 1913, Deniliquin, New South Wales.
iii. JAMES MCMILLAN, b. 1836, Ireland; d. 23 July 1877, Victoria.
iv. NATHANIEL MCMILLAN, b. 1838, Ireland d. 11 Feb 1882, Victoria.
v. THOMAS MCMILLAN, b. 1840, Ireland; d. 23 Mar 1895, North Deniliquin, New South Wales.
vi. ALEXANDER JAMES MCMILLAN, b. 1842, Ireland; d. 11 Jul 1924, Boulder, Western Australia.
Nathaniel died in October 1843 aged 36 under suspicious circumstances in BallyBrain. The family were evangelical Presbyterians and being an Orange Man it is believed he was murdered on his way home from a gathering.
Agnes then remarried to John McCance and together they had 4
children prior to migrating and then another child born in Victoria.
The extended McMillan and McCance family consisting of 15 adults
and children sailed from Liverpool as assisted passengers on two
ships in 1852.

On the first ship the Marion Moore sailed the two older McMillan
men, Hamilton 23 with wife Mary and baby and John 19 with wife
Mary. The Marian Moore was a new ship and birthed in Melbourne in February 1853 after a quick 92 day voyage.
John and Mary went into service with a farmer on the Saltwater River north of Melbourne for 6 months on a contract of 80 pounds. Hamilton had a contract with a squatter at King Parrot Creek on the Goulburn River.
The rest of the extended family of 10 members left Liverpool on the
Confiance and had a horror 125 day voyage. Of the 400 passengers
27 died of scurvy and whooping cough and on arrival in Geelong in April 1853, a quarter of the passengers were quarantined. On the Confiance with John McCance 33 and wife Agnes 44 were 4 of their children and 4 McMillan boys, James 17, Nathaniel 15, Thomas 13 and Alexander 11.
They initially worked in Geelong then moved to Barwon Heads for 2 years.
By 1856 the whole family reassembled in the Forest Creek Goldfields at Castlemaine / Chewton.
Oceans of Consolation.
We are able to gain an intimate insight into the family fortunes for a
decade after arrival in the goldfields. John McCance corresponded
with a trusted family acquaintance in Grey Abbey by the name of
William Orr who ran a business there. Luckily 9 of the McCance letters have survived and are published by Irish historian David Fitzpatrick in his book Oceans of Consolation, Personal Accounts of Irish Migration to Australia.

We learn from the letters that in 1856 John and Mary moved to Yankee Point (Taradale) and had a store there for a number of years. In 1858 Thomas aged 18 was living with his older brother John and wife Mary in Taradale. This close association continued in their later years with first Thomas and then John moving to Deniliquin.
The unsettled nature of the younger McMillan’s meant they treated Australia as a gateway to a wider world. From a sheltered village existence in Ireland their range of wandering was extensive in Australia and the NZ Otago goldfields. Younger brother Nathaniel when aged 22 even ventured across the Pacific to South America in 1860.
Since arriving in the colony the boys wandered wide and far seeking work in the bush or gold mining. They obviously needed high bushcraft skills and ability to turn their hands to making a living
in tough circumstances to prosper. In Oct 1860 Thomas is recorded as riding his horse from Chewton to Barwon Heads visiting the area where they first lived on arrival for two years.

Thomas and Alexander were working on bush stations in 1858. In 1860 they were in NSW and by 1862 Thomas was breaking horses at Wangaratta in North Eastern Victoria while Alexander was
share mining on the Lachlan River in Central NSW.
Gold mining was very much in the family’s blood with all 6 McMillan boys and their step father John McCance at various periods engaged in mining.
Thomas also tried his hand as a miner and “worked his hole” with John Regan who was John’s brother in law. The 1860 NZ gold rushes at Otago in the South Island saw all of the McMillan brothers except Thomas, head off to work claims. In April 1862 Hamilton and James were back from NZ. They sold off their horses and cart and almost everything and returned to NZ with John. In 1863 the brothers were still in NZ and applied for a sluice licence. Nathaniel was also in Otago together with Alexander who finished up staying for a few years and raising a family there.

The move to Deniliquin
John McMillan 1834 – 1913
Just before he departed Ireland for Australia, John aged 18 married the 17 year old Mary Regan on 04 Oct 1852 in Newtownards, County Down, Ireland. He died 14 Mar 1913 aged 81 in Deniliquin,
while his wife Mary died 03 Jan 1921 aged 89 at North Deniliquin.
John and Mary had 7 children all born in the goldfields at Chewton / Forest Creek and Taradale.
i. AGNES JANE MCMILLAN (Mrs A Venn), b. 25 Nov 1854, Chewton, Victoria; d. 23 May 1935, Richmond, Victoria,
ii. JAMES MCMILLAN, b. 1857, Taradale, Victoria, Australia; d. 1925, Bairnsdale, Victoria.
iii. MARY MCMILLAN (Mrs M McLaren), b. 1860, Forest Creek, Victoria, d. 1935, Deniliquin.
iv. ELIZABETH MCMILLAN (Mrs E Oyston), b. 1862, Chewton, Victoria, d. 23 Sep 1948, Western Australia.
v. JOHN MCMILLAN, b. 1865, Chewton, Victoria, d. 1867, Chewton, Victoria.
vi. ELLEN ANNE MCMILLAN (Mrs E McMillan), b. 1873, Chewton, Victoria, d. 26 Nov 1942, Deniliquin.
vii. ADA LOUISA MCMILLAN (Mrs A Walker), b. 1875, Chewton, Victoria, d. 08 May 1927, Deniliquin.
John had multiple trades in many locations including on arrival in Australia as station hand and as miner in Victoria and New Zealand. He relied on the extended family to assist wife Mary in their
Taradale store when frequently away from home on his mining pursuits. In 1867 he is recorded as a fruiterer in Chewton. At this stage his brother Thomas had moved to Deniliquin with John following and engaged in dam building on stations in the Riverina district.
Following this John and Mary moved the family to Deniliquin
where they had purchased “Pine Farm” on the Hay Road halfway
between Pretty Pine & Deniliquin.
John died at Pine Farm 14 March 1913.
The death was reported in the papers-
The death took place in the Deniliquin district on Friday last of Mr
John McMillan at the age of 81 years. He was an early resident of
the Chewton district and was brother of the late Mr Hamilton
McMillan and step brother to Mr E. McCance of Chewton. He
had followed the vocation of a farmer for many years and leaves
a widow and grown family. His remains were interred in the Deniliquin
Cemetery on Sunday last, there being 40 vehicles in the

Thomas McMillan 1840 – 1895
Thomas was aged 13 when he arrived in Geelong with his family in 1853. By age 18 he was working on bush stations in NSW and in 1862 breaking horses in Wangaratta. Two years later in 1864 aged 24 he moved to Deniliquin and married 26 year old Annie Mulligan originally from Ballinabrackey, County Meath, Ireland. Thomas and Annie went on to have 6 children over 11 years with the first 2 dying as infants. Five children were born in the Riverina at Deniliquin, Moulamein and Hay as the family moved around the region following work.
i. AGNES MCMILLAN, b. 01 Mar 1865, Chewton, Victoria; d. 26 Mar 1865, Chewton, Victoria.
ii. JOHN MCMILLAN, b. 1866, Deniliquin, NSW; d. 1866, Deniliquin, NSW.
iii. MARY ELLEN MCMILLAN (Steel), b. 11 Mar 1869, Deniliquin, NSW,
iv. TERESA MCMILLAN (Blake), b. 02 Aug 1871, Moulamein, NSW.
v. THOMAS MCMILLAN, b. 11 Aug 1873, Deniliquin, NSW; d. 08 Jul 1940, Deniliquin,
vi. LILIAS MCMILLAN (Welch), b. 02 Oct 1876, Hay NSW; d. 13 Jun 1959.
Thomas settled back in Deniliquin and was appointed as Town Herdsman on 6 May 1878 for North and South Deniliquin. Around this time Thomas started a second family with Mary Elizabeth
Keogh with whom he had 5 children. Mary was born 1857 in Castlemaine, Victoria and died 13 Oct 1912 in Deniliquin. The Informant was her daughter Aura Marie Constance Perrin.

Story by Ian Thomas McMillan – Melbourne May 2020