Elizabeth up a Deep Creek

View to the north from Donnybrook Road, Mickleham.  These fields are currently being developed for housing.  Photo:  Lenore Frost 2014.

















Elizabeth Rochester was a teenager of 18, in charge of a younger sister, when she stepped off the boat in Melbourne on 19 July 1853.   If they had hoped to stay together, that hope was dashed.  They were employed separately, Susan by Dr Hunter of Brighton and Elizabeth by Mr Livingston of Deep Creek.

Within five months of her arrival, Elizabeth married James Hitchman of Bristol, England, on 21 July 1853.  In a time and place where marriageable women were in short supply, Elizabeth might have chosen someone who had a greater claim to respectability, but realistically, out at Deep Creek her opportunities might have been as restricted as back home in Chipstead. The husband she chose was a time expired convict from Tasmania with an even larger age gap that that of Susan's choice.  Hitchman was aged about 35 to Elizabeth's 18.  It is interesting that both sisters chose much older men, but they presumably valued a more mature man in a strange place in a time of social turmoil.

The marriage record suggests they met at Deep Creek.  James was a labourer aged about 34 whose 'usual residence' was given as Deep Creek.  Elizabeth was a domestic servant, aged 23 (bit of a fib there) and her 'usual residence' Little Lonsdale Street in Melbourne. She had evidently left her employment at Deep Creek by then. Both James and Elizabeth signed with a mark, casting doubt on the passenger list in which it was suggested that Elizabeth could both read and write.  Most likely she could read a bible.  Writing was an accomplishment not widespread in the working classes in England at the time.

The witnesses also both signed with their mark, Thomas Caufield and Mary Mackay. Neither of those names appear on the passenger list of the Harpley.  Elizabeth and James were married by the Rites and Ceremonies of the Free Church of Scotland  at the Free Church Manse in Swanston Street, Melbourne. Although the minister at this time was William Miller, the ceremony was performed by the Rev Arch Simpson.

Photograph of a drawing of the John Knox Presbyterian Church manse, built for Rev. James Forbes in 1850. It was located in Swanston Street and was a building of eight to ten rooms that later housed some boarders from the John Knox School. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection, H6695.

It was an unusual choice of religion for their marriage.  Elizabeth had been brought up in the Church of England, and it seems likely that James was also C of E.   The term "Free" in the name of the church did not imply it was free of fees.  It was connected to a schism in the Presbyterian Church.  The purists formed the "Free Church of Scotland".   The John Knox Church, on the corner of Swanston St and Little Lonsdale Street was one of those.

Was it a co-incidence that the day following the wedding a notice appeared in the Argus Missing Friends columns  seeking James Hitchman?

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. 

One wonders how many times these messages got to the right quarter when the recipients were illiterate and lived out of town?  Whether James Hitchman had ever lived in Keilor is also a mystery.  But was it a co-incidence that ad was placed the day after the wedding?  Had the brother heard something on the grapevine?   All scenarios, both the message being transmitted to James, and the  brother possibly hearing of the marriage, rely on some fairly heavy duty gossiping going on.  Did James ever meet up with his brother in the Flagstaff Boarding House in King Street?


I was very interested in learning more about the Mr Livingston who had employed Elizabeth, and particularly where he lived.  It was was one of the first pieces of family history research I ever did, so perhaps 40 odd years ago I made a beginner's error, and was not able to correct it until fairly recently. That error was assuming that 'Deep Creek' was  the village of 'Bulla Bulla'.   Bulla had indeed been known as Deep Creek in the very early days of settlement. Living in the district, that was well known to me.   BUT (and you all know what I am going to say)  in the early days of settlement, Deep Creek could mean anywhere along the length of the creek (no matter how many miles), and I was not looking far enough afield to find Mr Livingston.  It was only with access to Trove and Ancestry, and a little more experience that I managed to correct that error.

So forty years ago I could not for the life of me locate a Mr Livingston.  He did not appear in directories, birth, death or marriage indexes, histories of the area, parish maps or any index that I cared to consult.  The lack of a known first name was a problem.  The Mr Livingston conundrum remained in the too hard basket until discussing it a year or so ago with a friend, Christine Laskowski.  Chris just happened to mention that there was a Deep Creek in the vicinity of Craigieburn where her ancestors had lived.  The penny dropped with rather a loud clang. It was in fact the same Deep Creek near Craigieburn.  I hadn't been looking far enough.

Now Trove has become a major resource for family historians, and I went there first.  It took some lengthy searching to locate three relevant items in the papers, which I will discuss in turn, firstly:


Missing since on or about the 25th ultimo Francis Palmer Livingstone, five feet five inches high dark complexion, dark whiskers, stout build, twenty years of age, wore a dark plaid jumper, dark tweed trousers, and white Manila hat. Was riding an iron gray mare, branded H on near shoulder, L on off shoulder, bushy tail, star in forehead Information to Mrs. Livingstone, Oatland's Farm, near the Deep Creek.
Monday 19 March 1855   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4805607
Was Francis Palmer Livingstone the mysterious 'Mr Livingston'?  I presumed 'Mrs Livingstone' to be his wife and went to the BDM indexes to discover her name, but in one of those confusing results one gets, Francis Palmer Livingstone married 'Mary Livingstone' in 1859, four years after the above advertisement.  So who was Mrs Livingstone?  His mother? Turning to Ancestry family trees,  I found she was probably his sister-in-law, and a good 15 years his senior.

Mary's first husband was Gilbert Livingston, but I could not locate a death record for him. Several Livingston trees said he had died in 1853, but that didn't help to find him in the indexes.   However, one researcher had very kindly put the marriage record of Mary Livingstone and Francis Palmer Livingstone (yes, she went on to marry her brother-in-law after his first wife died) on Ancestry as a supporting document, and in this it was stated that her husband had died in 1853, so presumably this was the source of his death date.  The death occurred at the time civil registration was starting in Victoria, and it was not recorded.  He also didn't turn up in cemetery records and the like.  He may have died outside the colony, but no newspaper notices marked the bereavement.

Secondly, with the help of Ancestry trees, I now knew the names of the children, so was able to recognise one of their daughters in a Trove search - Mary Anne Livingstone, born in Tasmania in 1845, but attending the Bulla Bulla National School in 1855.  


BULLA BULLA NATIONAL SCHOOL.
An examination of the pupils attending the Bulla Bulla National School was held on Thursday, the 13th current, when the following patrons were present :-Rawdon Greene, Esq. (chairman) ; Messrs. Cameron, Murray, Forsyth, Patullo, Brannagan, and Massie (secretary). The Rev. Mr. Chapman, of Broadmeadows, was also present, and assisted at the examination.
[The prizes] were awarded as follows : [among many other prizes]


SECOND CLASS.-READING, SPELLING, &c:
Boys.-1st prize, Arthur Pattison.
2nd [ditto], Andrew Pattison.
Girls.-1st [ditto], Juliet Mackintosh.
2nd [ditto], Mary Ann Livingstone.



WRITING.
Boys.-1st prize, Richard Brannagan.
2nd [ditto], John Fawkner.
Girls.-1st [ditto], Agnes Robertson.
2nd [ditto], Mary A. Livingstone.
3rd [ditto], Mary Massie.

BULLA BULLA NATIONAL SCHOOL. (1855, December 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved October 5, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4825881


Bulla Bulla National School at first glance seemed to take me back to the old village of Bulla, but looking at the three volume history of the Victorian Education Department, Vision and Realisation, a description of the location of the school placed it further north.

Plan of the Parish of Bulla Bulla, 1856.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/117418

According to Vision and Realisation the Bulla Bulla National school was on an acre of land on the south east corner of Section 11 – in the above parish plan - owned by Crown Grantee J Cameron.   Trustees of the school included Patullo, Young and Cameron, all Crown Grantees in the vicinity. Cameron's 640 acres includes 'Warlaby', an historic property at Oaklands Junction, between Oaklands Rd and St John's Rd.  See this parish map at the State Library to get a better idea of the distance from the Bulla village to the National School: http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/192312.  It was several kilometres north of the village.

Mary Anne Livingston's presence at the Bulla Bulla National School suggests the Livingstone family was within striking distance of the school buildings at the southeast corner of Section 11 in 1855.

Thirdly, Mary Livingstone remained farming in the area after her husband's death for a little while, which we know from evidence she gave at an inquest in 1854. (Thanks to Christine Laskowski for alerting me to this inquest.)
Mary Livingstone - deceased Robert Smith has been in my employ for last 18 months and he left Flemington yesterday morning driving in  a bullock dray belonging to my brother. I was following in a dray behind and there was another dray in front. I was about ¼ of a mile behind. I saw the two drays ahead til they came over the hill about ½ a mile from this place and on coming over the hill I saw two men looking at something lying in the road and when I got up I found it go be the body of the deceased. He was quite dead. He was lying on his face and there was a great deal of blood on the spot. He was much intoxicated when he left Flemington but during the time he had been in my employ he had not been addicted to the drink. I saw the mark of the wheel of the dray which passed over the shoulders and head. There was above 2 tons on the dray. Mary X Livingstone of the Deep Creek, taken at Travellers Hope, Deep Creek.
Inquest on SMITH Robert VPRS 24  1854/560  Inquest held at Travellers Hope, Deep Creek

The Travellers Hope Hotel would appear to be the Travellers' Home or the Travellers' Rest Hotel, which was along Bulla Rd, about halfway between Parer Rd and Sharp's Rd, Airport West. See Steele Creek and the Lady of the Lake by Christine Laskowski.

Detail from the Parish of Doutta Galla. The Travellers Home was on the 'Main Road' (Bulla Road) in the apex of the triangle of roads between Section 22 C and 22 D. Section 23 is the site of Essendon Airport. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/156280

This route along the Bulla or Deep Creek Road is the one Mary Livingston would take to return to a farm at Oaklands Junction.

Returning to 1853, it is possible that James Hitchman was also working on the Livingstone place, or nearby, at least.  We know in the latter part of 1853 they were both working at Deep Creek, so it seems likely.  In 1853 the farms in the Oaklands Junction area were several hundred acres. Employees at this time most likely lived in mud-brick huts or cottages on the farms.  Some settlers owned several sections, so the area was fairly sparsely settled.  Gilbert Livingston's death evidently occurred between his employing Elizabeth in July 1853 and the end of the year, leaving his wife Mary with five young children.

Looking west on Mickleham Road to the open park-like landscape of the old Shire of Bulla.  Photo:  Lenore Frost, 2014.
 The landscape was considered significant in the  City of Hume: Heritage Study of the Former Shire of Bulla District, 1998, but time will tell whether the landscape will resist the inroads of developers.  The fine farming land just a little north at Mickleham, as shown in the photo above, is already disappearing under concrete and asphalt roads.

"The landscape is significant at the State level as a rare surviving example - at least as pristine as survives anywhere - of Melbourne’s exceptional and much valued “park-like” natural landscape at the time of European settlement. Partly as a consequence of these natural values, the area also acquired some outstanding cultural associations, evidence of which also survives".

In that curious way that we often cross paths our ancestors trod without realising it, my parents leased a block of land for a time a little north of Bulla on Wildwood Rd, near Oaklands Junction.

The block on Wildwood Rd.  Photo:  Lenore Frost, circa 1966.
 In the next episode, we will look at how Susan and Elizabeth met up again on the goldfields.

PS   While researching this story a couple of years ago I followed what looked like a lead from Trove about a farm at Oakland, Mickleham in 1876.  It turned out to be not connected, but having spent so much time on it I decided to write it up for Wikinorthia with the view that it might help someone else. You can read it here: Fellows of Oakland Mickleham  It explains why I have photos of Mickleham on hand and not Oaklands Junction!

Update:   The following paragraph is from an unpublished small history, called "History of Bulla, 1966", by Mary Butler.  A copy is located at the State Library of Victoria. No 42 was the number given to the Bulla Bulla National School in later years. While not sourced, the information would have come from a contemporary government report at the State Library.

"The formation of an Education System, however, provided instruction with the erection of three more schools in the Bulla area [Besides the C of E near the creek] School No 42, consisting of two rooms, had at this time fourteen girl students and twenty-one boy students located on Oaklands Road near Warlaby Stud, or "Narbonne". (page 10)

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