Thomas PRIOR 1826-1899

Hotspur, "Stokesdale" Digby & Portland, S-W Victoria, Australia

Thomas PRIOR b. 1826, Ireland ?, son of John PRIOR & Bridget DONOHUE, bachelor, died in Portland in 1899, aged 72 years and was buried in the South Portland Cemetery. His sister Bridget PRIOR, b. ~1844 Co Cavan, Ireland was married to Charles DONOHUE and they lived at Digby from 1870 to 1921.

Thomas PRIOR appears to have been an early teacher at Hotspur Common School in the 1860s.

A T. PRIOR was listed as an early purchaser of land at Digby. He tendered for log fences to be erected in 1867 as follows....

"Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser" (Vic.) Thursday, 28th March 1867.
TENDERS are invited by the undersigned, for the erection of a substanttial log fence, along the North-West boundary of allotments 14, 15, 16, parish of Digby, area of Lewisham, within 65 chains of the township of Digby. The fence to be four feet at the base, 4 feet high, closely packed with sound timber. No saplings to be used. Plenty of timber on the line.
Also for 2,500 good RAILS, delivered on the ground. Can be got within one to five miles of allotments.
Separate tenders to be sent in for each.
Contractor can have the option of splitting the posts on the ground, and putting up the fence at the usual rate. Tenders to he sent in on or before the 16th April. Work to commence immediately.

Thomas PRIOR was stood as a candidate for the Portland Shire Council in 1874 and was duly elected....

"Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser" (Vic.) Friday 7 August 1874.
WEST RIDING ELECTION.- Mr. Thomas Prior has been nominated for the West Riding of the Shire of Portland, and in his address he rests his claim on the confidence of the rate-payers to a sixteen years residence. He promises, if returned, to honestly and impartially expend the revenue in the most useful, economical, and equitable manner.

Thomas PRIOR was a farmer and grazier of "Stokesdale" Digby from the 1860s until he sold out in 1887....

"Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 11th November 1887.
THIS ESTATE consists of about 801 acres of good AGRICULTURAL AND GRAZING LAND, situated aborut two miles from the township of Digby, and 2 miles from the Rifle Downs Home Station, on the Digby to Dartmoor main road.
There are 508 acres of beautiful rolling downs with plenty of land fit for cultivation. The remaining 294 acres are composed of tableland of medium quality, and fairly well grassed. TITLE DIRECT FROM THIE CROWN.
There are two good roads leading to and past the property. The Homestead is within eight miles of both the Merino and Grassdale Railway Stations, with first-class roads to both places.
The property is subdivided into 9 paddocks, seven of the smaller ones conveying to the Homestead yards. The conveniences for working the stock are perfect, and superior to most places. All the paddocks are permanently watered during the driest seasons, with creeks, springs, and the River Stokes. No dams required. The whole of the property is thoroughly healthy for all kinds of stock. No instance of liver rot, dropsy, fluke, or any other disease has been known on the premises during the term of the owner, now over 20 years. The wool grown on the property (being all combing quality) realises high prices. Last year's clip sold for 17d. per lb. all round, dabbled with creelch in cold water. There is a cultivation paddock enclosed with posts, rails and paling. A large Fruit and Vegetable Garden enclosed in same manner, and planted with choice trees in full bearing. A good Sheep Wash and First-Class Dip. In fact every requirement for the working of the stock efficiently.
The buildings consist of two cottages containing 8 rooms. One building 25 x 27 x 11 comprising Stable, Buggy Room, Harness Room, Two Store Rooms, with Hay Loft, holding ton of hay with plenty of room for chaff-cutting. Wool Shed and Wool Press, Closets, &c. All the buildings are erected of the best sawn materials, and roofed with iron. The stock consists of 825 very superior sheep, all bred on the estate, 22 head cattle, and five horses, all of which can be taken at a valuation, or declined at option of purchaser. The sheep can be seen in the wool up to the 21st instant.
The sole reason for the disposal of the property is the desire of the owner to retire from business in order to proceed to the Hot Springs in New Zealand and thence to Europe.
To any person having a moderate capital and requiring a comfortable home and a profitable, easy-worked property, the present offers a good opportunity.
A reasonably moderate price will be accepted, and terms very liberal if required.
Every information as to price and terms can be obtained on application to the owner, THOMAS PRIOR, who will be glad to show intending purchasers over the property, which will be open for sale up to the 10th December.
Stokes' Dale, near Digby, November 10, 1887.
"Portland Guardian" (Vic.) Friday, 30th December 1887. CHANGED HANDS. - The Stokesdale Estate, recently advertised in these columns for sale, has changed hands, the purchaser being Mr. R. J. Willing, of "Calstock." This is one of the best improved estates in the district, and is noted for the quality of its pastures and stock. The stock and plant are also taken at a valuation. Mr. R. Willing, junr., will reside on the property, so that our Digby friends will in their new neighbor find some one to worthily fill the void occasioned by the departure of their old friend, Mr. Thos. Prior.

Thomas PRIOR bachelor, died at Portland in 1899, aged 72 years and was buried in the South Portland Cemetery.

Daryl Povey

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