James MALLETT 1834-1901
&
Eliza Sarah SEABORNE 1838-1932

VDL ; "Muntham" Station (1840s) & Merino, South-West Victoria, Australia

James MALLETT b. 1834, Derwent, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), son of William MALLETT and Jane BRICKHILL was married in 1856 at Portland, Victoria to Eliza Sarah SEABORNE, b. 1838 Adelaide, South Australia, daughter of Robert SEABORNE and Mary CHAMBERS.

"Mr. Jas. MALLETT - In 1834 Jas. MALLETT was born at Derwent, Tasmania, and came to Portland in the ship Minerva. At the age of eleven he went direct to Muntham. After a few years he went to Portland to learn the boot trade. After serving his apprenticeship, he returned to Muntham for a few years. In 1856 at St. Stephen's Portland he married Eliza SEABORN. This was the first marriage celebrated in that church, His wife was born in Adelaide in 1838, her parents having come from Devonshire, England in 1836, in the ship Tam-O'Shanter (Captain GILLIES in charge). In 18__ he moved to Portland. Mr & Mrs MALLETT lived at Mt Clay, near Narrawong, for a few years, finally settling at Merino in 1865, where he started boot making. He continued till the time of his death in 1901. He reached the age of 67 years, and his wife lived to the age of 94 years and passed away in Portland in 1932."

James MALLETT & Eliza Sarah SEABORNE had the following known family:

  1. Mary Jane MALLETT b. 1857, Portland, S-W Vic, d. 1907, Merino, S-W Vic., m. Edward Edwin INGRAM 1855-1941
  2. Annie MALLETT b. 1859, Mount Clay, S-W Vic, d. 1940 Mount Gambier, SA, m. John FRASER 1860-1944
  3. Lucy MALLETT b. 1861, Portland, Vic, d. 1887, Casterton, S-W Vic, m. William Cornelius HURST 1859-1932
  4. William Thomas MALLETT 1864-1896, b. Heywood, S-W Victoria, d. Merino, S-W Victoria, m. 1890 Merion, Victoria to Ida Maria Tremain WHITE (aka TREMAIN) c.1862-1948, b. Adelide, South Australia to Thomas TREMAIN (aka WHITE) and Ellen Maria BRENNAN, sister of Thomas Tremain WHITE 1856-1931, Mary Tremain WHITE c.1861-1931.
    William MALLETT and Ida WHITE had the following family...
    1. Albert William MALLETT, 1893-1917, b. Digby, S-W Victoria, d. Somme, France
    2. Lucy Ada MALLETT, 1895-1979, b. 1895, Merino, S-W Victoria, d. Merino, S-W Victoria, m. Roy LANE 1895-1949.

  5. George Seaborne MALLETT b. 1866, Merino, Vic, d. 1956, Coleraine, S-W Vic., m. Elizabeth Sophia BEECHAM 1868-1919 and they had the following family...
    1. Amy Victoria Amelia MALLETT, b. 1891, Condah, Vic, m. William John James RUNDELL
    2. Ernest James MALLETT, b. 1893, Condah, Vic, m. Mary Catherine McGUIRE
      • enlisted WW1, 25 Oct 1916
      • served as Pte 3198, 59th Battalion, AIF
      • RTA, 24 Aug 1918

  6. Ernest MALLETT b. 1870, d. 1876, Merino, S-W Vic.
  7. Ada Eliza MALLETT b. 1872, Merino, Vic, d. 1964, Bairnsdale, Vic., m. John BAILEY c. 1860-1933
  8. James Henry MALLETT b. 1875, Merino, Vic, d. 1955, Bairnsdale, Vic.
    • enlisted in WW1, 9 Jul 1915
    • Served as Pte 4467, 21st Battalion, Aust Vet Hospital, AIF
    • WIA France 5-11-1916, 15-11-1916
    • RTA 10-01-1918
    • Named on Merino War Memorial

  9. Herbert Robert MALLETT b. 1877, Merino, Vic, d. 1957, Merino, S-W Vic., m. Mary Ann SEYMOUR 1884-1967
  10. Martha Amy MALLETT b. 1880, Merino, S-W Vic, d. 1942, Portland, S-W Vic, m. William STUTCHBERRY 1883-1968

REMINISCENCES BY THE LATE JAS. MALLETT

"The Casterton News," April 20th, 1896

"Pioneers of the West" By BLUNT

Whilst wandering along the Coleraine Road, about a mile from Merino, I came to a small bootmaker's shop kept by Mr. Jas: MALLETT. With him I got into conversation, and soon found that he was one of the oldest residents in the district. My ear, therefore, was opened to the reminiscences he had to tell, and knowing that these even at the cost of reiteration are always of value when they relate to the far off days of the Colony's history, I here append the story In Mr. MALLETT's own words:-

"I landed in Portland in January, 1845, having come over from Tasmania in the ship Minerva, owned by HENTY Bros.; Captain FORTHORPE in charge. Portland at that time was only a small place, but the scenery was much nicer than it is today, with a beautiful slope down to the bay covered with native trees and shrubs. After spending a few hours in Portland, I left for Muntham by one of the wool teams. Our first camp was the Double corner about 2 miles out from Portland. We had not camped long when a great gathering of blacks arrived. The next day we reached the second river, now called Heywood, and I think at that time Mr. David EDGAR kept the hotel there. There were no made roads or bridges then, the crossings being formed by a few spars in the bottom of the rivers. Our next day's stage was to the Smoky River (Hotspur), where there was another large gathering of blacks. They made a careful examination of what was on the drays. The loading consisted of tea, sugar, flour, and broad palings, and I must not forget to mention, a piano for Mrs. Edward HENTY, which I think was the first that came to the Wannon. We used to take long stages, the bullocks being in good condition, as there was an abundance of grass wherever we camped. There were eight very large bullocks in each team, and their weight would average 8 to 10 cwts. each. and the loading would be from 25 to 30 cwts. on each dray. The first place we came to on the third day's stage was Emu Creek (Digby), where we camped for dinner. The hotel was kept by Mr. Richard LEWIS, who I think built it. Leaving there, we came on to The Paddy Waterholes (Merino), the only place there being an eating house kept by Paddy CURTAIN. We camped where Mr. FULTON's flour mill now stands. What is the creek now was at that time a chain of waterholes, with reeds and rushes, covered with wild fowl.

"On the fourth day we arrived at Merino Downs. The road then from the waterholes to the Downs crossed the creek between where the cemetery now is and McINTYRE Bros.' land; we then followed the creek up to the station, where we stayed for dinner. After leaving there we crossed the Wannon at the sheep wash crossing, now known as the Boiling Down, following the river along the Big Hut Flat, so called because there was a shepherd's hut there, belonging to Mr. E. HENTY. I think hut was near where Mr. ROULSTON's house now stands. Wild turkeys were there in great numbers, with plenty of other wild fowl. We called at the Bluff Hut, where Mr. WALSH has his residence now, and being very hungry we greatly enjoyed the shepherd's fare, which consisted of damper and mutton and iron-pot tea.

"Pushing on we arrived at Muntham in the evening. I was rather disappointed when I saw the station, as I expected to see a much larger place, but soon found that it was the largest station there about, and there were several out stations belonging to it, Together about 12, which employed three men each - two shepherds and a hut-keeper. I could not say for certain what wages were paid, but I think they were from 14 to 18 per year. The hut-keeper had to cook for the shepherds and shift the yards, the hurdles being put up on transoms. He also had to sleep close to the yard in a small watch-box to protect the sheep from wild dogs. At the homestead there were from 40 to 50 hands employed - three overseers, Mr. Thos. BRENNAN, with his assistant, Mr. W. SISSORS, over the sheep, and Mr. DEMOLAN over the horses and cattle; Mr. NOLAN was storekeeper; and a carpenter, blacksmith, and wheelwright (the wheelwright was Mr. PITCHER, senr., of Coleraine), and a great many stock-riders, as there were no fences in those days. All that was required for station use was made on the station, such as ploughs, harrows, carts, drays, etc.

"The HENTY Brothers were all clever men. There were four brothers when I first came - Edward at Muntham, Frank at Merino Downs, John at Sandford, and Stephen at Portland. The neighhouring squatters were Arthur PILLUE at Hillgay, William ROBERTSON (better known as poor man ROBERSTSON) at Struan, WINTER Bros. at Tahara and Murndal, Mr. ROBERTSON at Wando Vale, WHITE Bros. at Konongwootong, and J. and G. COLDHAM at Grassdale. I remember once Mr. John COLDHAM coming to Muntham to borrow a candle mould, when it became very wet and the floods arose so he had to stay three or four days before he could cross the river to get home. There were no kerosene lamps in those days. and very few lucifers. People had to carry tinder boxes, flint and steel.

"The only store was one at Muntham kept by Mr. HENTY for the convenience of the men, whose requirements consisted chiefly of blueshirts, Tam o' Shanters. souwesters, cabbage tree hats, moleskin trousers, shepherd's coats, boots and tobacco, etc. There were then no churches or ministers, but I remember on one occasion the Rev. J. G. WILSON, of Portland, coming to Muntham for a few days and holding service, and another time Bishop PERRY. There was a Doctor BYASS living on the Wannon, and a shoemaker named ROGERS, who had two daughters. One married Mr. LACKMAN and the other Mr. Frank EGAN.

"Now about stock; there was a grand stud of horses, the Little John and Wanderer breed, imported by Mr. HENTY's father. The cattle were very large, and the sheep were Merinos. The price of stock was very low. I remember a buyer (Mr. MOONEY) wanting a draft of 100 head of fat cattle, and Mr. HENTY offered him the pick of the run at 3 per head. The highest beast in the mob would weigh 1000. They were very large cattle and 6 to 7 years old. The buyer would only offer 2/10/-, and Mr. HENTY declined the offer. The cattle were very wild and hard to yard, being yarded only once a year at mustering time. The stockmen with their long whips, 10 to 15 feet long, would bring a mob in sight of the yards and there would be other men waiting there with fresh horses for them. There were no gates to the stockyards, but sliprails. When the men got the cattle in the yards, a couple would jump off their horses to put up the rails. They might get up one or two, but before they could get up the rest they would be rushed at, and then perhaps all the cattle would get out again and re-yarding them would be more trouble than the first time. At every mustering there used to be a great number of fat calves killed. There being no sale for fat cattle or sheep, Mr. HENTY erected a boiling down apparatus at the place known as the Boiling Down crossing near Henty, and many a mob of fat cattle I have helped to drive there. As pigs became a nuisance, Mr. Henty had them mustered, and what could not be brought into the yard were shot or killed by the dogs.

"And now for the squatters' amusements. Mr. Frank HENTY kept a pack of hounds, and occasionally he would bring them over to Muntham with his huntsman (BURADALE), who broke in Mr. F. HENTY's great racehorse (Merino), and then the neighbouring squatters would meet at Muntham and they would all go wild dog hunting. They all wore hunting costume - red coat, etc., and great sport they would have. As there were no fences or creeks to cross they could keep up with the hounds, as they all had the best of horses. I knew them on one occasion to run a dingo 14 miles before they caught it.

"There used to be great fires every summer, owing to the carelessness of the blacks, and very often they would light fires maliciously, which would burn for miles, the grass being so thick and long and no roads to stop them, and only the station hands to put them out, they having no fire - beaters, but using green boughs for the purpose. Once when the men were away at a fire and it swept down by the station garden, Mrs. HENTY, her sister (Miss GALLEY) and I managed to keep it from getting into the garden.

"It used to be very difficult to travel in winter, when the rivers were up. You would have to swim your horse over them. Mr. HENTY kept a punt on the Wannon between Muntham and Merino Downs. It was a very small one. and would only carry two men. I remember three men once got in and the punt upset, and one of them was drowned. A stockman named Wm. DAVIS, but better known as 'Twicer.' was also drowned about this time in the Gum Creek. His horse came to the station with the saddle and bridle on, and the station hands went to search for him. They found his dog sitting on the bank of the creek. discovered his body in the creek, and later buried it at the station.

"Shearing time used to cause a great stir. The sheep were all washed. The first sheepwash at Muntham was on the Gum Creek, in what is now called 'the cattle paddock.' They did not start to shear so early as they do now. It would be after Christmas before they finished. The blacks would gather in great numbers at the sheepwashing, helping the first day, and when they got a chance would drown a sheep, knowing that they would get the carcase for a feast. After the first day the darkies would work no more, but simply say 'Merry jig mutton.'

"And now I will tell you what I had to do when I first went to Muntham. Being only a boy my duties were rather light. I had to wait at table and help Mr. HENTY pick the fruit. There was a very large garden, and he made his own wine and cider, and at Christmas and haymaking time he always gave it to his men. I used to look after his saddle and gig horses, and when he went riding or driving I went with him. My first journey back to Portland was when I rode down with Mr. HENTY. Between Digby and Hotspur his horse fall with him and broke one of his ribs, besides bruising him severely. It thus took us a day longer to go down, as Mr. HENTY had to ride slowly owing to his injuries. The next time I went to Portland, Mr. and Mrs. HENTY drove and I rode. They went down to the races, afterwards going over to the Port Fairy races. I remember the morning we set off.. Mr. HENTY said: 'Jimmy, we are going to Port Fairy to-day; you get all the things in the gig for travelling.' There was a tomahawk, small screw wrench, bolts, spare reins and traces, with plenty of lashing in case of breakages. There were the three conveyances going - Messrs. Stephen's, Frank's and Edward's - and we left Portland about 9 o clock, getting on well till we reached the first river, where we had to stop at the mouth to find a crossing. After a time we crossed safely, and then drove along the hummocks, which was very heavy travelling owing to the sand. When we arrived at the second river, we thought to cross on the beach, but there was a heavy surf coming in, and they were all afraid to venture. Mr. Stephen, having an old horse named Boxer, that was used to the surf, was the first to venture across. He had almost to gallop the horse over, and close behind was Mr. Frank, with his carriage and two horses, who also managed to get across. Then Mr. Edward started to cross higher up, as his horses would not face the surf. He got half way across when his horses went into a hole, and getting frightened would not pull. I had to go in on horseback and take the out-rigger horse away, and get Mr. Stephen's old horse Boxer in its place before we could get the gig out. At last all being safely over, we camped for lunch. We stayed there for about two hours, then made another start. There being no road, only a cattle track, we soon lost our way. Seeing a high hill, called the Bald Hill, I was sent on to see if I could see any tracks. On reaching the top I met a lady riding a splendid horse and following her were three or four dogs, while she carried a brace of horse pistols and a big dingo's tall an her saddle. She asked who I was and where I came from, and I told her the Messrs. HENTY had lost their way. She came back with me, and directed them on their way, and told them where to cross the third river. The lady was a Mrs. BAXTER, who had been out hunting with her dogs, and had caught the dingo. We started on again, and had not gone far when Mr. Edward capsized his gig, Mrs. Henty and he being thrown out. Getting righted once more, we made another start, but when we got to the river the crossing was so bad that we had to get the tomahawks and cut ti-tree and spars to make a temporary crossing. We continued our way till we came to a small cattle elation known as Dr. Hickey's. As it was dark we stayed there for the night. The next morning we went on to Port Fairy. That is a short account of our first trip to the Port Fairy races.

"I remember once I was sent down to Portland with two horses and harness to bring up a ration cart. As Mr. GALLEY was coming up to Muntham, he drove. We left Portland about 9 o'clock in the morning, driving a horse of Mr. Stephen HENTY's, and his groom, John COLE, was sent on ahead of us with our two horses as far as the first river, and feed them. We reached the Glue Pot with great difficulty. Getting our own horses in, we managed to get to Heywood that night. We made a start the next morning for the Smoky River, and had not gone far when we got bogged, and had to take the out-rigger horse off. We got another start and going on to Major's Heath, on the old road we capsized. We got the out-rigger horse free; while the shaft horse was lying with his head in a great mud hole. We had to lay a spar across the hole to keep his head up, as he was almost smothering. He had one leg over the shaft and could not get up. Then we put the other horse on to the back of the cart and pulled it back, when we got the horse up; having then to wash harness and horses, we were delayed three hours. Making another start we drove about four miles when we had another capsize, which threw us both out, breaking the side and shaft, so we were compelled to leave the conveyance. Having a saddle and bridle, Mr. GALLEY rode one horse and I, the other, bareback. When we came to the Smoky, Mr. McDONALD, the hotelkeeper, sent a man with a dray and four bullocks to bring the cart on. Leaving it there we rode on to Merino Downs, and the fourth day brought us to Muntham.

"What I have told you happened during my first stay at Muntham, which extended a little over three years. at the expiration of which, I returned to Portland to learn my trade."

Source : "Historic Souvenir of the Back to Merino and Henty Centenary Celebrations",
November, 11th to 15th, 1937

Links to Pioneer Names at...

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

Merino & Henty : Sandford : Strathdownie : Wando Vale


Daryl Povey

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