James RAPKINS c.1812-1907
Bridget TANGNEY c.1818-1858

"Glenlivet" Station, Merino - Digby, S-W Victoria, Australia

James RAPKINS c. 1812-1907, b. East Meon, Hampshire, England, son of John RAPKINS and Mary COLEMORE was married in ___ to Bridget TANGNEY c.1818-1858, b. Tralee, Co Kerry, IRL, daughter of John TANGNEY and Mary SULLIVAN.

Julie Hopper writes:

My great great grandfather was named James Rapkins, and his wife was Bridget nee Tangney. They came to Melbourne aboard the "Ward Chipman," arriving in January 1841. A child William was born in Melbourne in 1842. Their next child, a girl named Mary, was born in 1844, but I'm not sure if she was born in Melbourne. However, she died at 11 months in March 1845, and her place of death is given on the certificate as "The Travellers Rest" Inn, near Grange Burn, district of Portland. I know that Grange Burn, or the Grange area, is the former name for Hamilton, but I am not sure where the "Travellers' Rest" Inn may have been. The only one I can find listed is at a place called Batesford, but I don't know if that can be considered 'near' Portland district as it is just outside Geelong. Do you have an idea as to whether there was an establishment of this name in the Hamilton region at the time?

The next two children born to James and Bridget Rapkins were Lucy (1846) and James junior (1848). Their baptismal certificate gives their place of birth as "Glenlevit," which I believe was the name of a pastoral run held by Duncan McRae at the time. They were baptised by a minister named Kavanaugh or Cavanaugh, who apparently was quite an identity in the district. It seems likely, then, that James and Bridget may have been in the area, with James working perhaps as a shepherd or general labourer for Duncan McRae, for about three years between 1845 and 1848. Do you have any details about the "Glenlevit" run that may give me some information about what James was doing at that time?

There was another baby born to them, a boy named John, and his baptism is recorded at Portland in 1851. I believe that what may have happened is that James left the employ of Duncan McRae and went to Portland to work for one of the Hentys after 1848. From the early 1850's, after gold was discovered at Elmhurst, James took supplies by dray from Portland up to the gold fields area on behalf of the Hentys. James and Bridget eventually went to Elmhurst to live, and James set up supply stores and small refreshment stations throughout the area, including one at Ararat and one between the Nowhere Creek field and Elmhurst.

James RAPKINS and Bridget TANGNEY had the following family:
  1. Mary Ann RAPKINS b. ca 1840, d. 1841 at sea 'Ward Chipman', Port Phillip
  2. William RAPKINS b. 1842, Melbourne, Vic, m1. Mary BEGGS, m2. Sarah WALKER
  3. Mary RAPKINS b. 1844, Vic, d. Mar 1845 'Travellers Rest Inn', Branxholme, Vic
  4. Lucy RAPKINS b. 1846, 'Glenlivet' Station, Digby, Vic, m. Joseph HILLARY
  5. James RAPKINS b. 1848, 'Glenlivet' Station, Digby, Vic, & Eliza PEARCE (15 chn)
  6. John RAPKINS b. 1850, Portland, Vic, m. ___
  7. Herbert RAPKINS b. 1852, Portland, Vic, m. ___
  8. Henry RAPKINS b. 1855, Elmhurst, Vic, m. ___

James RAPKINS first wife Bridget died at Elmhurst in 1858 and James remarried in 1865 to Harriett COLLINS (nee HOLMES) and they had the following family:

  1. Benjamin RAPKINS b. 1866, Glenpatrick, Vic, m. Mary Ann MORRISH
  2. Emily Matilda RAPKINS b. 1868, Crowlands, Vic, m1. Francis JOHNSON, m2. ___ BOOTH
  3. Walter Charles RAPKINS b. 1870, Crowlands, Vic, m. Emma Jane COLLINS
  4. Alfred Septimus RAPKINS b. ca 1874, ___, Vic, m. ___
  5. Fanny Elizabeth RAPKINS b. 1878, Crowlands, Vic, m. William Horden WILTSHIRE


This call for help relates to the "Glenlivet" pastoral lease which was in the hands of Duncan McRAE during the 1840’s. It is possible that my great great grandparents, Bridget (nee TANGNEY) and James RAPKINS lived on the “Glenlivet” run for some time between 1844 and 1850. I am trying to trace their movements during this period.

This is what I have been able to piece together so far:

Two of Duncan McRAE’s children, according to information elsewhere on the BG site, have their birthplace listed as "Glenlivet" for births in 1844 and 1845, so the run was established by at least 1844, even though it was not gazetted until 1849.

James and Bridget RAPKINS had left Melbourne and were on their way to an unknown destination in the Port Phillip District in 1845 – they lost a baby girl at “Travellers’ Rest” Inn (Branxholme) in March 1845. Officiating minister was James Yelverton WILSON. (C of E)

My great grandmother, Lucy HILLARY nee RAPKINS was born in 1846 and she was baptized at “Glenlivet” in 1848. Her brother James RAPKINS junior was born in 1848 and also baptized at “Glenlivet”, on the same day as Lucy – May 28th, 1848. The officiating minister was John KAVANAGH (RC). The certificate actually has the two children reversed, but the correct order of births is Lucy 1846 and James 1848.

So – these are my questions:

  • First, were James and Bridget RAPKINS en route to “Glenlivet” as employees of Duncan Mc RAE when their baby died at Branxholme in 1845? (i.e. is this why they left Melbourne in the first place?)
  • Second, was their daughter Lucy born at “Glenlivet” in 1846 as well as being baptized there in 1848?
  • Third, can I assume that as James RAPKINS junior was only a few months old in 1848 when he was baptized, he was born at “Glenlivet”?
  • Fourth, is it possible that one or more of the McRAE children could have been baptized on the same day as Lucy and James junior?
If any connections of the McRAE family, or anyone else who can help sort out some of this, would care to contact me, I would be most grateful.

Julie M Hopper

Links to Glenelg & Wannon Pioneer Names at..

Carapook & Muntham : Casterton : Chetwynd : Dartmoor : Digby : Harrow & Balmoral : Hotspur :

Merino & Henty : Sandford : Strathdownie : Wando Vale

Daryl Povey