Meadowbank Farm

POLLOCK FAMILY circa 1906IMG_0654
The photo of the second Pollock family would have been taken at the farm about 1905 or 1906. Standing: Mary Ann, David, and unknown girl, probably Avis.
Seated: Margaret (Mag), Alice, Mrs M.A.Pollock, Mr W.H.Pollock, Lily Florence.
Ground: Marion, Martha.

(This post effectively replaces The Pollocks of Bonnie Doon which was posted on my blog Who Were They in June 2011. My older posts appear to have glided away into limbo and a new follower/reader might not be aware of their existence. Look for “June 2011” under Archives in the right-hand column.)

Meadowbank Farm was the name given to the farming land which John Campbell Pollock selected in 1875, being Lot 31 of 32.55 hectares (80 acres) in the Parish of Brankeet, County of Anglesey, Mansfield shire. In 1880 he added the adjoining Lot 30 of 36.54 hectares (90 acres) giving the farm a frontage of one kilometre on the main road to Mansfield (now Maroondah Highway). In 1883 a further 42.69 hectares (105 acres) was acquired on Lot 38 which adjoined the original Lot 31 to the south; and a further 25.82 hectares (64 acres) on Lots 38A and 38B brought the total holding to 137.6 hectares (342 acres) when John Pollock died there in 1897. The land was valued for Probate at 2 pounds 10 shillings an acre, a total of 855 pounds.

John Pollock, ploughman, together with his wife Margaret (nee Hendry) and son William aged 7, arrived in Launceston on board the Commodore Perry from Liverpool in 1855 as assisted immigrants under the bounty system on the application of Alexander Learmouth. Margaret had been born at Govan, near Glascow, Scotland and it was there that they had married and William had been born.

William was aged about 27 when the family moved to the land that was to become Meadowbank Farm. One can only assume that he had been working alongside his father before their move and that he continued to work with him on the farm. Next year, 1876, William married Georgina Stewart Wilson on her father’s property Pagewood Farm, Spring Creek, Alexandra. She was just 19, born at Harden, North Wales. (I cannot help thinking that the Pollocks might have worked for Robert Wilson, her father, on Pagewood Farm before selecting the land at Doon.)

After their marriage William and Georgina lived at Meadowbank. Their first child John Camble (sic) was born in 1877 and named after his grandfather. Next year a second son was born and named Robert Wilson (Bob) after his maternal grandfather. A daughter Agnes Wilhimena (sic) was born in 1881 but died five months later from acute dysentry. Another son, William Hendry, named after his father, was born in 1882 but died two months later of tuberculosis. Georgina died in 1884 also of tuberculosis, aged 27; her surviving sons were aged 6 and 4.

(At this point in telling the story I experienced writers’ block; I was affected by what I had written and could not continue without giving the situation at Meadowbank more thought.)

The homestead would not have been much more than a glorified pioneer’s hut, probably with an earthen floor tamped down hard, few windows, and vertical slab walls, with additions to cope with an increasing family. (My cousin, the late Neil Black, once pointed out to me that the vertical slab walls of the cowshed/dairy on his farm “Brooklands” on the Ancona Road were from the old Pollock farmhouse on “Meadowbank”.) The family remaining after Georgina’s death would have comprised grandfather John, aged 56, grandmother Mag or Maggie (57), father Will (36), and the boys Jack (7) and Bob (5 or 6). Having been mother to an only child, it was likely that Mag/Maggie did not cope well with the care of her two young grandsons.

It is not surprising that Will (38) was remarried in 1887 at St Pauls, Yarck, to Mary Anne (28), daughter of William and Margaret McGuigan from Kanumbra. (You’ve not heard of the McGuigans of Kanumbra? You’ve not been reading my recent posts on Who Were They.) Their first child, Lily Florence (Mrs R.S.Black), was born at Bonnie Doon in April 1888. Will Pollock and his wife proved to be more fecund than his parents had been; in quick succession other children arrived: Margaret (Mag/Maggie, Mrs Percy Mewett) in 1889, Alice (Mrs Angus Boyd) 1891, Mary Ann (Mrs George Maclean) 1892, David Hendry 1894, Marion 1895, and Martha (Mrs Robert Brace) 1897.

John Pollock died in May 1897, aged 69, of asthma and heart disease, when there were 12 or 13 occupants in the farmhouse at Meadowbank: two grandparents (counting John), two parents, sons Jack and Bob, five or six daughters and three-year-old Dave. And the threat of killer-disease tuberculosis had been kept at bay!

Six years later, Jack was married to Dorothea Mary Prowd, aged 20, who also had been born in Bonnie Doon; it is not clear in my records if Jack took his bride back to Meadowbank to live. Sadly, Dorothea died in 1905 from heart disease, she was just 22 years old. Jack never married again. But I have told Jack’s story in another post.

After grandfather Pollock’s death in 1897, Will the son accumulated more land: Lot 37A of 67.94 hectares (168 acres) in 1904, Lots 36C and 37C of 78.93 hectares combined (195 acres) in 1905. In 1904 Lot 18A of 265 acres was selected at Dry Creek in Mrs Mary Anne Pollock’s name with the intention of passing it on to her son, David. It is still in the extended family
at the date of writing this post (2013) but I’ll leave that story for another post.

It is now thought that the total acreage at Meadowbank at the time of Will’s death in 1928 was about 284 hectares (702 acres). Within a few years the land had been sold and Jack Pollock, calling himself a retired grazier, was gambling the proceeds away before his untimely death at the Doutta Galla Hotel in Flemington. But that also is another story as told in my blog “Family History – Uncle Jack” posted in June 2011 (see Archives in right-hand column).

Published in: on November 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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