The plan above shows the Duck Holes Hotel on the Lancefield Rd, to the right of the image. The "New school house" (written upside down on the plan) is on the other side of the Duck Holes Creek, to the left of the hotel. VPRS 61/P0/1848.Duck Holes was a tiny settlement on the Lancefield Rd in the Parish of Monegeetta in Victoria. The growing number of children needing an education prompted locals to set up a Church of England School. In 1861 they wrote to the Denominational Schools Board seeking a salary for the teacher. At this time the school was already being conducted in a private home, but a new school house would be completed within two to three weeks. The application included a list of students and a drawing of the school and surrounds (shown above), as required. The teacher salary was granted. Bob Mackay, a friend of mine, was doing a trawl through the Denominational Schools Board correspondence at PROV, and as was his usual practice, ran his eye over the list of pupils - and spotted a surname he recalled as being of interest to me - Hitchman.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
The above image has a logo on the lower right side for the Victorian Places website, but the photo is no longer on that website. It is now located on St Paul's Catholic Church Parish websiteFamily legend has it that the first of James Hitchman and Elizabeth Rochester's children were born at Donnybrook, which seems to have been beyond the reach of the Registrar General of Births Deaths and Marriages, so none of them were registered. However, it appears that the first three were baptised into the fold of St Paul's Catholic Church, Coburg. This was a real departure for them, because in most other respects they were members of the Anglican Church - though we do remember they were married in the Free Presbyterian Church in Melbourne in 1853. The question in my mind is whether they were actually active members of that parish, or whether a keen priest on horseback pursued little heathens with a baptismal register in his saddlebag? The fact that there were three baptisms over five years does suggest a bit more intent. All three of them were baptised by Father Charles O'Hea. My grandmother actually told me that her father, James Hitchman junior, had been baptised in a Catholic Church, which she explained away by virtue of the baby being born sickly so they took him to the nearest church, which happened to be Catholic, to have him baptised. However, that doesn't explain the other two baptisms, and now strikes me as more of a cover story to explain perhaps the discovery of a Catholic baptismal certificate in the house (though not by me!) Catholic baptisms don't include the "abode" of the family, but they do include the names of the sponsors, so this might be a means of working out where they were living. For young James, in 1855, the sponsors were James Slater and Mary Pender. For Catherine, in 1856, the sponsors were Michael Kennedy and Mary Ann Campbell. For Elizabeth the sponsors were Bryan Cumming and Alice Cumming.
Thus far I have determined that James Slater had a child born in Yan Yean in 1855, Michael Kennedy had a child born at Donnybrook in 1864 and Mary Ann Campbell lived at Campbellfield. The only thing I can conclude from that is that it doesn't seem as if they were living near Coburg. If they were the same people, which is not certain.
A section of the old Hume Highway showing a warning sign approaching Pretty Sally, from the Kilmore side. This long and dangerous hill was north of Donnybrook. Note the old post and rail fence to the left side of the image. Taken in 1929 by the Country Roads Board, part of the Public Records Office of Victoria Collection, VPRS 17684 P0003.It may be possible that the families travelled to St Paul's to have their children baptised, but I think the unmade road would tend to discourage people from heading towards Melbourne on a casual basis. A baptism might have been significant enough, though if the priest was willing to come to them, I suspect that would be the best option for them.
Thank you to Maureen Doyle who assisted me with information from the St Paul's Baptismal register.
UPDATE: A useful blog post from the State Library of Victoria reveals that Canvas Town existed from 1852 until a notice that it was to be closed by the end of March 1854. Whether it actually closed on that date is undisclosed for the moment, but certainly it would appear to have been shutdown before James Hitchman's baptism in 1855, so the story about where he was born is shown to be unreliable.
Monday, July 13, 2020
If this should meet the eye of James Hitchman of Keilor, his brother wishes to see him at the Flagstaff Boarding House, King st, Melbourne.The Argus 22 December 1853.
A young lady who wished to work for a respectable dressmaker resided at the boarding house in the same year:RESPECTABLE Board and Residence, 27s. per week,Flagstaff Boarding House, 126 Little Bourke streetwest, two doors from King street.Advertising (1855, April 17). The Age(Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 1.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154896617
There was a shop advertised with the house back in 1853, and in 1855 we find the shop is advertising roasted coffee (see, Coffee Culture well into Melbourne by 1855.)
Very likely D Walton sold anything he could buy at a good price at the docks. In the following case, Flour of Sulphur. Various explanations of the use of flour of sulphur do not inspire one with comfort in terms of its safety. In this instance it could have been used as an insecticide, and we hope not stored too closely to the coffee.
Whether the whole of 126 Little Bourke Street had been turned over for a domestic residence, or whether Mr Coughlin and wife were boarders at a still-operating Boarding House is not clear, but the next few notices were for domestic in nature.