Biographies of Early Settlers


These biographies of some of the founding fathers of Morwell have come from “Victoria and its Metropolis”.  This work of three volumes was produced in 1887 to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne.  It contained particulars of forty Morwell and district men some of whose biographies appear here in abridged form with additional subsequent material.

Applegate, Paul - Born England 1827


Arrived in Victoria 1853 in ship “Elizebeth”, worked as a miller in Flinders Street Melbourne for one year.  Moved to Geelong, worked as carrier using bullock team for 3 years.  Farmed at Moorabool River, 1858 – 1875.  Selected land Morwell 1876.  Married 1857, Ellen Pratt of Co. Cavan, Ireland. They had four children.
Paul Applegate deceased 1900

Biles, Thomas - Born Wales 1857


Came to Victoria 1860 with parents who farmed at Geelong.  Selected 240 acres in Morwell 1877. 
Married Miss Wuttrich of Morwell.
They had four children.

Buckley, Benjamin Wager - Born Lancashire, England 1817


Landed Adelaide 1851 from ship “Carlton” Came to Victoria 1852.  Proceeded to gold diggings at Forest Creek, Bendigo and Castlemaine.  Spent two years in carrying business.  Bought land and farmed at Kyneton before selecting 240 acres at Morwell.   Married 1848, Betsy Smith
One son, Joseph Henry who selected 320 acres Morwell
Benjamin Wager Buckley deceased 1892 – Betsy Buckley deceased 1882

Corney, Charles E. - Born Casterton, Victoria 1865


Farmed with uncle in Western District for 18 years. Came to Morwell to work for McDougall.  Selected 320 acres for himself.  Bred trotting horses.  He gained second prize at the Melbourne Show 1886 with his trotter “Wildfire”.  Member of Morwell Football team.  He employed three men

Daly, William - Born Cork Ireland 1830


Arrived in Victoria on “Queen of the Seas” 1885  Farmed western district  Selected 265 acres, plus 160 acres later, at Morwell
Married 1858, Bridget Tait from Southern Ireland
Two children
William Daly deceased 1910  - Bridget Daly deceased 1879

Dunbar, Duncan - Born Scotland 1851


Arrived in Victoria with parents in ship “Hamilton” Selected 146 acres Morwell 1887
Married Ellen Watson of N.S.W. in 1880
Duncan Dunbar deceased 1925 - Ellen Dunbar deceased 1937

Flegg, John - Born Norfolk, England 1836, Apprentice wheelwright


Came to Victoria 1868 aboard “Essex” Conducted Wheelwright business in Brighton until 1885 when he selected 320m acres Morwell
Married 1856, Mary Wright
Nine children

Fleming, John - Born Essendon Victoria 1863


Farmed with parents Selected 196 acres Morwell Bridge 1883
John Fleming deceased 1931 - his wife Ellen deceased 1925

Flewin, John - Born Kent, England 1846


Arrived by ship ‘Glasburden” 1856 His father was first brick maker in Ballarat. Selected 82 acres Morwell, also conducted brick making business in the town
Married 1868, Margaret Watson of Queensland
Nine children
John Flewin deceased 1926 - Margaret Flewin deceased 1934

Godridge, Henry - Born Nottingham, England 1823


Learned brick making trade Arrived Victoria 1848 in “Pride of the Sea”. Worked Melbourne, Portland and Geelong, followed gold diggings Bathurst N.S.W., Forest Creek, Ballarat, Bendigo and other fields. Built and constructed hotel at Russel’s Creek, Gippsland 1861 for 14 years. Took over Morwell Bridge Hotel 1879. Later conducted a coffee palace and was postmaster at Morwell Bridge where he also selected his land.
He married Susan Marion Graham of Stirling
Six children
Henry Godridge deceased 1894 - Susan M. Godridge deceased 1915

Gooding, Thomas - Born Somersetshire, England 1842


Came to Victoria on ship “Sea Queen” .  Educated Presbyterian Free School, Geelong.  Spent eight years on father’s farm then 10 years droving before selecting 200 acres at Morwell.   Suffered property loss in 1800 bushfires.
Married Miss Blair of Geelong 1876
Five children

Kelleher, Edmond - Born Co. Kerry, Ireland 1850


Arrived Melbourne by S.S.”Great Britain”
Worked as farmer and overseer on north eastern Creswick and Gippsland railway lines.  With his brother John, opened a general store in Morwell 1876.  Bought 700 acres land and two allotments
Married 1882 to Bridget Winnie O’Shannessy of Victoria
One son
Edmond Kelleher deceased 1911 - his wife Winifred deceased 1916

Kelleher, Maurice


Brother of Edmond, Born 1854 and came to Victoria 1875 on the “Durham”.  Selected 250 acres Morwell 1880
Married Ellen Tobin of Co. Kilkenny, Ireland 1885

McKitterick, John - Born Ireland 1837


Arrived Victoria on “Port Phillip” 1884. Proceeded to Morwell, bought an acre allotment selected on Tarwin River
Married in 1868 to Miss Murthas of Ireland
Eight children

McNabb, William - Born Downpatrick, Ireland


Arrived Victoria on board “Carpentaria” Worked successively as a wood splitter, then for a brewer and in the carrying trade, finally as a farmer. Bought 1056 acres (at five pounds an acre) Morwell area
Married 1864, Miss Beattie of Tyrone, Ireland
Eleven children

Molloy, Laurence - Born Ireland 1838


Came to Victoria in 1859 by ship “James Baines”.
Spent one year on uncles farm at Kilmore, went to McIvor diggings then to New Zealand for 10 years and Queensland for 9 months.  Selected 240 acres Morwell area in 1879.
Married Miss Dowd of Ireland 1867
Five children
Laurence Molloy deceased 1908

Morrell, Robert - Born Devonshire, England 1828


Came to Melbourne on board the “Percy” 1853 Engaged in gardening and his trade of boot making. Selected 200 acres Morwell area in 1875
Married Miss E. Meddick
Eleven children
Robert Morrell deceased 1896 and his wife Elizabeth deceased 1910

Ryan, Jeremiah - Born Dublin, Ireland 1847


Went to America 1862 for five years, returned to Ireland, sailed to New Zealand 1871 on “Glen Huntley”.  He had an adventurous career on goldfields in Victoria, N.S.W. and Queensland and also did some tin mining.  He selected 320 acres Morwell area and bought 240 acres more, plus eight town allotments and two shops in Morwell.
Married Ellen Fleming of Essendon 1883
Three children
Jeremiah Ryan deceased 1910 - Ellen Ryan deceased 1944

Theobold, Thomas - Born Yorkshire, England


Came to Victoria 1853 by ship “Atlanta”. Worked in Melbourne for the Government before going to diggings ai Ararat, Ballarat, Bendigo, Forest Creek and Woods Point. Went to Heyfield 1870, built and constructed Commercial Hotel there until he came to Morwell in 1879. Built and ran a butcher shop until 1885 when he retired to his farm of 51 acres. He let a butcher’s and a baker’s shop and owned eight town allotments.
Married 1851 to Jane Gibson of Yorkshire, England
One son
Thomas Theobold deceased 1906 - Jane Theobold deceased 1906

Tonkyn, Howard Nicholls - Born Cornwall England


Arrived Melbourne by ship “Kent” 1873. Worked at his trade of bakery in Carlton, Traralgon then at Morwell for four years. Conducted Morwell Hotel for two years then went to Walhalla. For 1500 pounds he bought the twenty five year old Long Tunnel Hotel with its 22 rooms and 13 stall stable

Valentine, William - Born Wicklow, Ireland 1880


Arrived Victoria "SS Sorata” 1884 Managed a farm and orchard Pakenham for two years. After a two year visit to Ireland he bought 270 acres at Morwell in 1880.