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Biographies of Early Settlers

A Journey in Time – A Resource for Local History

Biographies of Early Settlers

These biographies of some of the founding fathers of Morwell have come from “Victoria and its Metropolis”1.  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 SmithOne 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 WrightNine 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 Russell’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 allotmentsMarried 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.

  1. Sutherland, Alexander, 1852-1902 ↩︎