The postings on this blog on August 28 included photos from Jesse and Rhoda Mewett’s photo album showing the wedding party of Martha (Matty) Mewett and Jonathan Dover at the Jesse Mewett farmhouse. What I had forgotten then and later remembered on a prompt from Sue Stevens (nee Trestrail) that the scene of the photos was the property known as “Trevale”. There is quite a connection between the Mewett and Trestrail families and includes Trevale.
For me, the story begins with the marriage of Jesse’s daughter Sarah Ann (born 1859 at Park Farm) to Albert Edwin Trestrail in 1881 at the Wesleyan Church, Williamstown S.A. Jesse’s son David and Sarah Giddings, Rhoda’s youngest sister, signed the marriage certificate as witnesses.
In 1883 Jesse purchased from James Trestrail, storeman of Gawler, and Albert Edwin Trestrail, farmer of Williamstown, the 163-acre property known as “Trevale”. It comprised Sections 1529 and 1535 and was located to the left of the road on the way from Kersbrook before crossing the South Para river to Williamstown. Jesse paid 500 pounds cash and mortgaged the balance of 396.5 pounds with interest of 7.5%, paying 5.5 pounds per acre. When the writer visited the site about 35 years ago (circa 1980) the ruins of the house were situated in a pine forest in the vicinity of the South Para Dam.
In 1888 Jesse’s eldest son, David William, married Eva Emma Louisa Trestrail at the Wesleyan Parsonage at Gawler S.A. Albert Edwin Trestrail, beefarmer, and Martha (Matty) Mewett, clerk, were witnesses. There were six daughters and four sons born to David and Eva.
Sadly, Sarah Ann Trestrail died of tuberculosis at Wangolere in 1885. Her daughter Annie Mabel Trestrail was born in 1883.
From dates of birth certificates it would appear that Jesse and his family worked and lived on Wangolere up until the purchase of Trevale. It would also appear that the Trestrail family worked and lived on Wangolere after their sale of Trevale to Jesse.
In Jesse and Rhoda’s photo album there is only one photo identified as a Trestrail, that of “Effie”. I do not know her relationship to the Trestrails described above but she was obviously a close friend or relative of the Mewetts to be included in the album. The photo is included in this post.
The labour force at Wangolere photographed along with three dogs, a horse, large barrels, and not forgetting the young lady at your left! Jesse Mewett is said to be the man at the viewer’s left in the front row, still wearing his wide-awake hat, waistcoat and jacket. I had thought for years that the tall man at centre front was a Mewett, but …..? A boy at the viewer’s right, at the back, could be a Mewett. I believe that members of the Trestrail family could be present in this photo. The Trestrails were residing at Wangolere later than the Mewetts. Lucy Trestrail was born here in 1890, Adeline in 1894. More about the Trestrails and their farm Trevale in another posting. Wangolere was situated on the South Para River and was flooded when the South Para Reservoir was built 1949 – 1958.
This photo was not taken from the Jesse Mewett album but was obtained separately. It was taken on the wine-growing property known as Wongalere, owned by Joseph Gilbert. It was here that Gilbert married Anna Browne in 1848. Gilbert also owned the Pewsey Vale property which lent its name to a brand well known to wine lovers. It has been pointed out to me that Jesse Mewett is at the back of the group, wearing a wide-awake hat, that is, with upturned front brim; he is the only adult wearing a waistcoat and jacket and growing a grey beard. The appearance of the boy at the front centre wearing a cap and shoulder pads prompts me to suggest he could be a Mewett. It seems that the property name was spelled Wangolere when Jesse and Rhoda resided there. Birth certificates of Anne Marie (1868), Rhoda Ann (1874), Catherine May (1877), and death certificate of Anne Marie (1873), list Wangolere as the usual residence.
This photo which follows on from the previous posting appears to have been taken as the bride, Martha Mewett, and the groom, Jonathan Dover, prepare to depart the scene: the bride wears a hat, Jesse and Rhoda and some of the guests have donned their hats. Kneeling in front of Jesse is a woman I now think might be another sister of the bride, Catherine May. The setting of the photo in 1902 was the Jesse Mewett farm near Williamstown, South Australia. I visited this site about 35 years ago and found the ruins of the farmhouse in what was at the time a pine plantation near the South Para Dam. A close study of the guests reveals rural fashions of the day.
It shows the wedding party comprising Martha (Matty) Mewett as bride, Jonathan Dover as groom, parents Rhoda and Jesse seated, Rhoda Ann Mewett at Jesse’s shoulder, and possibly Catherine May Mewett to the viewer’s right. Unknown lady possibly groom’s mother. Taken at Mewett farmhouse near Williamstown, South Australia – 1902. Witnesses who signed the Marriage Certificate were Rhoda Ann and D.H.Parker; we cannot be sure that the best man shown in the photo was D.H.Parker. And the dog; we might suppose that he was called Spot?
Top: Upright/vertical timbers at Brooklands, probably those from the old Meadowbank farmhouse.
Third photo: It is thought that the farmhouse was once located to the left in the photo on patch of dry grass behind row of pines/callitris, near road entrance.
Fourth photo: Eastern boundary of the farm was located along road in cutting seen to the left of the photo
Fifth photo: Overall view includes Pollock Avenue off Maroondah Highway, giving access to properties. Brankeet Creek in foreground.
Sixth photo: Western boundary easily identified as fence line going uphill from middle right-hand of the photo.
Above are recent photos of the subdivided blocks, now hobby farms, that make up what was once Meadowbank, the Pollocks’ farm at Bonnie Doon, Victoria. The proliferation of mature trees planted during the past 40 years or more now give an appearance of good fertile soils and caring development of the area. These south-facing photos were taken last year (2014) from across the Brankeet Creek, also known as the Bonnie Doon backwater of Lake Eildon, after I had made my way past grazing cattle through well-maintained gates but having to climb gingerly and carefully the last, a locked gate not intended to allow 85-year-old trespassers to gain advantage points for better pictures.
Meadowbank was sold by the Pollocks after the death of my grandfather, William Pollock, in 1928 to the Anderson family who moved a nearby house in the town to the property to replace the old farmhouse. Verticle timbers of the old place were then relocated for sheds on the farm Brooklands on the Ancona Road at Woodfield where my aunt Lilian with her husband Robert Stanley Black raised my cousins: Bob, Marjorie, Betty, Gwen and Bill (twins), Rae and Neil. After Uncle Bob (R.S.Black) died, Neil took over management of the farm until his recent death.
Meadowbank was sold to the Mitchell family and it was subdivided in the 1970s.
For readers new to this blog I have prepared a list of posts which might have escaped their notice.
June 22 Introduction – Family History
June 23 Aunty Ruby.
June 23 Ruby and Will Weaver – photo
June 24 The Pollocks of Bonnie Doon
June 27 Uncle Jack
June 27 The Inquest
June 27 Simmons Reef to Gobur to Bonnie Doon
June 28 William McGuigan of Kanumbra
June 28 My Grandfather Mewett
June 29 South Australian Origins
June 29 The Giddings of Gumeracha
June 30 Derivation of the Name Mewett
July 5 English Origins: Mewetts in the 17th Century
July 5 Mewetts in the 18th Century
July 16 Mewetts in the 16th Century
July 24 Willingdon and Emigration to South Australia
Aug 13 A Ladder for the Family Tree
Sept 26 Samuel and Martha in South Australia
Dec 14 Mystery of Identity Solved
May 28 Mrs Mewett in fiction!
Sept 28 Walking McGuigan Country – text
Sept 28 Walking McGuigan Country – photos
Sept 28 Walking McGuigan Country – maps
Oct 7 Woodfield – Brankeet – Doon
Nov 22 Meadowbank Farm
Mar 28 Longevity of My Mewett Ancestors
Mar 30 Maggie Pollock
Mar 30 Maggie Pollock – Photos
Mar 31 Uncle Will Weaver
Mar 31 Uncle Will Weaver – Photos
Apl 2 Pollock Family Photos
Apl 29 Mewetts and the 1st A.I.F. in World War I
May 2 Mewetts: A.I.F. Servicemen of the Second World War
Nov 29 Robert Brace – Martha Pollock Wedding 1917
Jan 4 Robert Brace – Martha Pollock Wedding 1917 – photo
Jan 4 Mewett Road, Kersbrook, listed in Adelaide Hills fires.
Jan 24 Charlotte
Jan 24 Contents – Mewett Family History blog – Who Were They
Two months ago my second great-granddaughter was born in Perth, W.A., and she was given the names of Charlotte Rose. Before her birth I was asked by her mother for a list of given names from our family tree; but I did not include names of siblings of my forebears. But the name Charlotte rang a bell when I first heard the new baby’s name.
Delving through my family history files, I found it : Charlotte – the name of the elder sister of Jesse Mewett, my great-grandfather. She was born in Willingdon, Sussex, in 1833, third child of Samuel Mewett and his wife Martha Balcombe and she sailed on the Platina with them arriving at Port Adelaide in February 1839.
At age 18 Charlotte was married to Thomas Barber at Gumeracha, S.A. She gave birth to eight sons and six daughters from 1852 through to 1879. Thomas and Charlotte Barber moved from the Kersbrook/Gumeracha district of South Australia in 1873 and settled on a farm at Wail, north of Horsham in Victoria. Two of their children were born there, Samuel in 1875 and David in 1879.
Martha aged 8, died of diphtheria at the Horsham hospital in February 1878; Selina aged 9, and Alice aged 5, died at Wail in March of that year, also of diphtheria. Names of the surviving children were Ann, John, William, Elizabeth, Robert, Richard, Susanna, Thomas, Samuel and David.
Charlotte died at Pomona, Victoria, aged 71, and was buried at the Horsham cemetery.
Wail has a Barber Road running east through farmland from the Wail-Polkemmet Road to the Western Highway between Horsham and Dimboola. There are still residents today at Wail by the name of Barber.
By today’s travel standards Wail would be on the same map as Noradjuha where the late Bob Mewett and his family lived; Murtoa where Ted Mewett married Emma Lloyd and where my father Percy was born; Horsham where Wm Lloyd my great-grandfather was buried, and an area where some of the Giddings migrated to in the 19th century.
Pomona is a town south-west of Stawell and north-west of Ararat and close by Lake Bellfield in the Grampians National Park. Pomona would be on the same map as Stawell where my grandmother Emma Lloyd was born; two of my Mewett aunts were born at Maroona, a railway town south of Ararat and Pomona. Quite some family history in this Wimmera district of western Victoria.
We have noted that fires currently burning in the Adelaide Hills in the Sampson Flat and Humbug Scrub areas have threatened towns and districts where our Mewett and Giddings forebears settled 160 years ago, namely, Kersbrook, Gumeracha, Williamstown, Chain of Ponds, Forreston (once known as North Gumeracha), and Kenton Valley. The ABC online news service gives the Country Fire Service listing today (4 January 2015) – including among others: grass fire at Checker Hill Road, Kersbrook; tree fire at Retreat Valley Road, Gumeracha; tree fire at Rake Road, Kersbrook; grass fire at Redgum Lane, Kersbrook; grass fire at Mewett Road, Kersbrook; grass fire in Kenton Valley, Gumeracha. I commented in a post on this blog some years ago that the Mewetts and other emigrants in the 19th Century had given up the hellish economic conditions experienced by agricultural workers in southern England for the Australian hell of drought, bushfire, flood, pests, etc. but I did not imagine then how close to the truth this would become in the areas settled by our great-great-grandfathers. May the outcome of these current fires in the Adelaide Hills not include any loss of life and minimal loss of livestock and property.