By Norm Darwin

This history covers the settlement of the Shire of Hepburn and surrounds by Henry Munro, William Yaldwyn, Charles Ebden, Jas Orr, Alexander Mollison, Captain Hepburn, Captain Dugold McLachlan, and the Clowes brothers.

This brief history of the first white settlers in the Shire of Hepburn was originally written as part of as history of Daylesford and District. It is published on these pages rather than languish in my bottom drawer.


  • SQUATTERS 1840-1850.
  • Holecombe Smeaton Hill

    Wombat Park Bough yards


    Corinella Glen Lyon Coliban Downs Estate

    Lyon Banks


    The term Squatter has been used to describe "persons who placed themselves upon public lands without license."-Australian Encyclopaedia, but in this instance, and this is generally accepted, the squatter is one who occupied crown lands under a lease or license.

    The British Government had difficulties controlling the settlement of land. In 1836 a Land Act was passed to "make unauthorised occupation of crown lands beyond boundaries, punishable by fine" and included provision for payment of an annual license fee. Those overlanders who moved into southern NSW and Victoria were soon at odds with this legislation.

    Charles Ebden and Charles Bonney set up a sheep station, Mungaboreena, on the Murray, near Albury, in mid 1835. This site was to launch Ebden and others south to the lush pastures across central Victoria, as described by Sir Thomas Mitchell.

    Before Major Mitchell had returned to NSW with glowing reports of the "Australian Felix", several colonists were trekking south.

    Charles Edben reached Goulburn in 1835 and established Bonegilla. Captain Hepburn, Joseph Hawdon and John Gardiner overlanded cattle to Port Phillip in October 1836. Passing through the Heathcote area, Hepburn carved his initials in a tree. The carving was later found by Colonel Browne when he settled at Baynton. In September 1836, Hepburn climbed Mt Macedon, and noting the fine pasture country, made the decision to return and settle. When Hepburn arrived back in the district in 1838, he found a great deal of land already settled.

    The man recognised as the first settler in the Loddon area was Alexander Fullerton Mollison (1805 - 1885). Mollison settled on the Coliban river in January 1838. Within two years he had a run extending from the Coliban to the Jim Crow creek.

    Settlement was permitted under the Governments Land Sales Act (1825). The act allowed sale by auction with an upset price of 5/- per acre. The price increased to 12/- an acre in 1839.

    The initial effort to control squatting failed. In 1836, squatters were given grazing rights for a 10 pound a year license.

    Speculating squatters sat on large tracts of land and waited. As the demand for land increased these speculators were able to "come to an arrangement" with the new arrivals.

    Alexander Mollison's Coliban run was whittled to half its original size by the early 1840's, this was prior to the Government making sales on his run.

    As demand for land grew, Governor Gipps enacted the Imperial Wastelands Act ( 1842). This saw an upset price increase to one pound per acre, with squatters having the option to purchase a mile square plot around their homestead. The balance of their run was leased until the Government considered it "ripe" for auction. Those choosing to take up the option, did so under a Pre-emptive right.

    The rich squatters were able to take advantage of the sales by outbidding on the choicest blocks, leaving the rough country for others. The poorer land would not support a farm and would be deserted, leaving the powerful squatter in control by default. The Government, under pressure from the new arrivals in the Colony, abandoned Gipps policy in 1847 and then permitted long leases, but specified the total acreage.

    This gave the squatter up to 640 acres in unsettled areas. In 1860 new legislation was enacted in Victoria, (1861 in NSW) as Free Selection before Survey, it heralded the era of the selector. The initial Gold rush fever had subsided and hundreds of miners were now seeking the stability of a farm.

    In the area bounded by Carlsruhe, Lauriston, Glenlyon and Edgecombe, 131,064 acre's were gazetted as farmers commons. The land went up for auction at a reserve of a pound per acre with lot sizes between 40 and 320 acres. Overnight the larger runs of Mollison, Ebden, Bowman and Yaldwyn were cut up.

    The selector was able to pay a deposit of one quarter, if he lasted three years, made an improvement of a pound per acre, was able to repay the balance, plus nominal interest at his convenience and the land was his. The selectors showed no mercy in their quest for tillable land. An item in the Kyneton Guardian on September 30th 1868, recorded the "reckless destruction of timber between the Loddon and Coliban rivers, south of Glenlyon". One selector had ringed every tree on his 300 plus acre farm, some were dead straight to the first bough at 80 feet. The timber was reported to be worth 50,000 pounds but was made worthless for sawing or fuel, it had been "ruthlessly destroyed" said the report.

     SQUATTERS 1837-1840.

    The area bounded by Mt Macedon, Mt Alexander, Joyce's creek (Newstead) and the Great Dividing Ridge was settled by eight men by 1838.

    Henry Monro, William Yaldwyn and Charles Ebden on the Campaspe, Jas Orr and Alexander Mollison on the Coliban, Captain Hepburn and Captain Dugold McLachlan on Deep creek and Henry Howey on Jackson's creek, Gisborne.

    While Mollison was to first in the Loddon valley, he was not the first in central highlands. Charles Hotson Ebden (1811 - 1867) established a sheep run at Carlsruhe in May 1837. Chas Ebden was by this time an established Pastrolist. He was the first overlander into northern central Victoria to run sheep. Ebden was beaten to prime land at Gisborne by Henry Howey who had settled at Jackson's creek in the same month.

    North of Ebden was the Rev Yaldwyn. William H Yaldwyn arrived in Sydney in 1836. He moved south and settled on a site which be-came known as Barfold. The run was established by Yaldwyn's manager, John Coppock, a few weeks after Ebden settled.

    Downstream from the Barfold run was Henry Monro. Monro settled almost on the Majors line, just east of the Campaspe river, near Redesdale.

    Closer to the Loddon were the Mollison's. Their initial site was in the Kyneton area and shelter consisted of reed Mia Mias. The Mollison's established their run with 5000 sheep, 634 cattle, 28 bullocks and 22 horses. Two overseers and 49 servants were employed.

    Alexander Mollison left NSW for the Coliban district on the 11th April 1837. By the close of 1938 the Mollisons had a huge run comprising seven stations streaching from the Mt. Macedon foothills to Mt Alexander. The Mollison brothers, Alexander and William, had arrived from London and quickly established the firm Alexander Mollison & Co. in partnership with two others. The firm established a staging run called Uriar, south of Yass in NSW.

    It was not all "beer and skittles" for the squatters, their home comforts were forgotten in the Australian bush. Governor Sir George Gipps toured the Western Port area in October 1840 and wrote back to London. "A race of Englishmen are living in bark huts in a state of semi-barbarism because the conditions of their leases do not make it worthwhile to build permanent dwellings." Obviously conditions improved, we have only to look at the homesteads on Smeaton Hill, Corinella, Wombat and Holecombe to see money was not a big issue when it came to constructing a suitable residence.

    On the 10th January 1840 two additional hands arrived at the Mollison's station. Hired as casual labour, they were Richard Babbington and Henry Jackson. Later that year, in April, Alexander Mollison had found that he was short of grass and dispatched two men to look west for suitable grazing land. On the 9th April the men returned and reported that good pasture's lay over the Mollison's western boundary, a north south ridge. Alexander Mollison dispatched Babbington and Jackson with materials to construct huts and bough yards. Two outstations were established by the pair. The first was on the Jim Crow creek and later became the station site of the Mt Franklin Aboriginal settlement. The second was further north, on the Loddon, near the present site of Guildford.

    The first outstation was settled by shepherds on May 1st 1840, it consisted of two huts and rough bough yards. Alexander Mollison named his new run Jumcra. Thought to be an Aboriginal name, Mollison,s two shepherds, MacLeod and MacFadden, corrupted to name to Jim Crow. Alexander Mollison, in a letter to his sister Jane on April 30th 1840 tells of the naming.

    "One of my finest sheep runs is nicknamed 'Jim Crow' and a young settler, not very refined in his ideas, and who stutters painfully, amuses me when I chance to meet him, he pertinaciously reporting 'Ah it was m-m-m-m-me that called it J-J-J-Jim Crow'. I have Australianised it into Jumcra but with little effect."

    Mollison had also named his first run Cobaw after Major Mitchell's name for the river, but changed it to Coliban "so that it could not be easily be corrupted or nicknamed."

    The second outstation established by Babbington and Jackson was to become the Borough Yards run, later taken over by Alex Kennedy.

    By this time the Mollison's had established a headstation near Malmsbury, outstations were also built near Tylden and Trentham. The Mollison's neighbour to the north, was Jas Orr. Orr settled on the Coliban, on land which was first settled without license by William Bowman. Jas Orr arrived in Victoria in 1837 with seven sons and one daughter. He had been a landed proprietor in Wicklow, Ireland, and held positions of Deputy Lieutenant and was also a Magistrate.

    Orr purchased Mollison's Coliban run, or what was left of it, in May 1848 and renamed the station Pemberley.

    A F Mollison then moved the operations onto the Pylong Station, Pylong had been established 30 miles to the east, the same time as the Coliban run was set up.

    On the far western boundary of the Loddon Valley were two scots. Captain Hepburn and Captain McLauchlan.

    Captain Dugald McLachlan (1801 - 1855) arrived in the Loddon district in 1838 with Donald Cameron. Mr Cameron moved further west to settle at Clunes in 1839. McLauchlan investigated land between Smeaton and Newstead, finally settling just south of Campbelltown on a spot which had been briefly occupied by Mr W Kirk.

    Captain McLauchlan was a determined scot, who was described as a half pay military type, hard, grasping and a ruthless exploiter of land, stock and men. He ran foul of the Aborigines and a number were slaughtered by the Captain and his men. The Glengower run was taken over by Donald Campbell.

    South of McLauchlan was Captain John Hepburn (1803 - 1860). Often mistakenly described as the districts first settler, Hepburn did not arrive at Smeaton until April 15th 1838. Hepburn's name was pronounced Hep-burn.

    Descended from the Smeaton (East Lothian) Hepburn's, John Hepburn took to the sea. His earliest log is dated 1828, he was then aboard the Diadem as Chief mate.

    By 1835 Hepburn was the master of a 226 ton brig, The Alice. In 1835 the Alice sailed for Hobart, aboard was John Gardiner, an ex banker, who quickly talked Hepburn into joining him in a Pastoral business.

    Ill fortune struck Hepburn's new ship The Ceres, whilst Hepburn was ill. A steam ship, it was grounded of off the NSW coast and sunk. Hepburn then joined Gardiner and Joseph Hawdon in the venture to overland cattle to Port Phillip.

    Following the successful Port Phillip overlanding trip, Hepburn met up with Captain John Coghill and his brother William. The brothers were settled at Kirkham and Stathellen near Braidwood NSW. In mid 1837 Hepburn and William Coghill became partners in a plan to overland 1400 ewes, 50 rams and 200 wethers to central Victoria.

    Captain Hepburn had no money so Coghill agreed to underwrite his share, with a five year interest free loan. In the same year Hepburn's wife, Alice, arrived in Australia with the couples children.

    On the 15th January 1838 the party left Strathallen for Smeaton Victoria. Shortly after leaving Gundagai, they met William Bowman and the three parties travelled southward, crossing the Murray near Albury, not Howlong, as the Major had done. The Majors tracks were picked up near Wangaratta and followed to Mt Alexander. It was here they set up a lambing camp in April. Bowman stayed, establishing the Sutton Grange run, but leaving it for Jas Orr when he moved on to Stratford near Heathcote.

    On the 12th April 1838 Hepburn and Coghill camped at what is now the site of the Castlemaine Church of England grounds.

    Hepburn had hoped to settle on the country he had passed through in 1836 but found it all taken, particularly the site at Barfold.

    From Mt Alexander, Hepburn sited Mt Kooroocheang, and the Major's Mammaloid Hills. The party moved on to Smeaton. William Coghill travelled further west, crossing Bullarook creek and establishing Glendaruel and then Glendonald.

     SQUATTERS 1840-1850.


    The 1840's was to see an increased influx of settlers. News was about Sydney of the rich grazing lands in central Victoria. Squatters arrived and began settling on existing runs.

    The Mollison's foreman discovered James David Lyon Campbell (1809 - 1844) grazing sheep on the Jumcra run near Mt Franklin in late 1839. A F Mollison wrote to Commissioner Powlett about Campbell poaching land. Arbitrator, William Ryne met Mollison and Campbell and decided that Campbell could have the land west of the Loddon and Mollison the land east of the Loddon.

    Campbell came to prominence on December 31st 1840 when he wrote to Governor Latrobe protesting about the proposed Aboriginal station at Franklinford.

    J D Lyon Campbell JP was considered by some to be a playboy who dabbled in pastoral enterprises. He was a native of the Lyon District, Scotland. Campbell is given the credit of naming Glenlyon. The Lyon river flowed through his native Grampian ranges in West Scotland. Campbellís stay in the area was however short-lived, when the Protectorate was established in Mid July 1841 Campbell was displaced. He moved to Broadmeadows, establishing a Hotel in the area. Later the Melbourne suburb of Campbelfield was named after him.

    No sooner had Alexander Mollison solved the dispute with Campbell than he had another. Laurance Rostron had arrived on the Loddon in early 1844, establishing a small run north of Glenlyon, on the edge of Mollison's Jumcra run. He named his run Holecombe. The land was however covered with scrub and in an effort to secure better grazing country, moved his sheep further to the north, near Kangaroo Hill. (George Robertson described the Holecombe land as "Great part stringy bark scrub with timbered pastures and open ranges")

    His flock, described by Mollison's Manager as "scabby", was spotted on October 21st 1844, Rostron was fined 5 pounds with 2 pound 10/- costs.

    Laurance Rostron was the son of a wealthy cotton merchant, he arrived in Australia in October 1842. In 1846 he left the Holecombe run and moved to Tottington, near St Arnald.

    Rostron left the run to his neighbours, the Clowes brothers. Henry (1810 - 1888), Thomas (1815 - 1887) and Robert Clowes (1817 - 1868) left London in June 1840. They arrived in Melbourne with George Joyce on October 19th 1840.

    Joyce opened a Taylor's shop in Bourke street and the Clowes brothers rented rooms from him.

    Thomas took a job with Mollison in November 1840, he arrived with 7 other shearers and harvesters. Almost immediately Joyce and the other brothers followed. In January 1841 the three brothers inspected Mollison's southern portion of the Coliban run, known as the 10 mile or Third Arm station, with the view to purchase. They first believed the area unsuitable and looked around Geelong. They returned however and purchased a run of 33,600 acres. They called the run Woodside, it cost them 20 pound on the 5th March 1841. The run included a flock of 750 lambing ewes at 1 pound a head. George Joyce had also joined the three brothers as a partner .

    In December 1843 a fourth brother, Alfred, joined the group at one of the Woodside outstations. Here Joyce had 1500 sheep assembled and was ready to move on to his own run at Newstead, which he did in April 1841, calling it Plaistow.

    On 12 January 1847, the brothers acquired Holecombe and its 48,000 acres. In April the following year they applied to the Superintendent of Port Phillip for the lease on "Waste lands generally located in the Westernport Area and on the branch of the Loddon river, Mt Macedon. This application was cancelled but reactivated the following month. The run was described as being West to the Jim Crow creek, East to their Woodside run, North to Kennedy's Bough Yards run, South to the Black Forest, except for a centre portion which was the Glenlyon run.

    Holecombe covered some of Victoria's richest country, Volcanic soil and Gold. The Clowes however never found either. The partnership was broken in December 1851, Thomas took Woodside, and

    Holecombe was divided between Henry and Robert. Robert named his portion Wombat.

    In 1839 a Mr Thompson arrived in the Kyneton district with five sons. Mr Thompson snr became Mollison's overseer, and is credited with having cut the first plough furrows in the district in 1841. In 1852 the eldest brother Jack, purchased his own farm and brother William established a produce store.

    Meanwhile Richard Babbington had tired of working for a boss and had joined with another Mollison employee, John Carpenter to set up a run they named Glenlyon, in 1844.

    Separately, further south, at Korweinguboora, 33 year old Scotsman, George Meikle from Stirlingshire, set up his run. Meikle arrived in 1844 and he too selected the name Glenlyon for his run. Glenlyon No. 2 covered 12,800 acres and supported 4000 sheep. Meikleís lease ran from Leondardís Hill south to Bunding between the Moorabool and Werribee rivers.

    STATIONS - Smeaton Hill

    Captain Hepburn named Smeaton Hill station after a small hamlet which lay near his birth place, Kenningham Huntingdonshire. The homestead was constructed in 1849-50 and is occupied today.

    Hepburn ran sheep, cattle and horses. In 1853 he told Governor Latrobe, "On my run there is much good land to appearence, but the crop is below average of my neighbours, which I can only attribute to the want of proper drainage, the land being very wet in winter." Hepburn was attempting to grow wheat on land which was later found ideal for potatoes. Captain Hepburn did achieve 20 bushels of wheat to the acre this is compared with an average of 30 bushels to the acre at Dowling Forest (near Ballarat).

    When Hepburn died on the 7th August 1860, aged 57, Smeaton Hill was 24,000 acres. The estate was then managed by the Captain's son George Hepburn until 1887 when it was auctioned off in smaller lots.

    In 1904 the Homestead on surrounding land was purchased by Battista Righetti, a Swiss Italian decendant who had farmed at Yandoit. Battista's decendants are on Smeaton Hill today.

     STATIONS Holecombe Station

    The Clowes brothers erected a Homestead at Holecombe in 1848 however the original Woodside homestead at Tylden was preferred by the brothers. After the brothers split the partnership the runs of Wombat and Holecombe were little used. The Holecombe run was expanded when the Aboriginal Protectorate station was abandoned in 1850, taking a piece of land in a triangle between the source of Middleton's creek, Breakneck Gorge and the intersection of Middleton's creek and the Old Melbourne road. When the brothers moved away from Holecombe and Wombat in 1854 Parker took over the Holecombe lease. Parker however let the lease go in August 1855 it was then jointly held by Powell Merry Clowes and Cooper. In April 1856 W Hull took over the lease.

    John Fred Barnett took the Holecombe run in January 1859, now known as Holecombe Farm. On the 21st. June 1859 he applied for a pre-emptive right of 640 acres and was granted the land at the end of Holecombe road Glenlyon on the 21st June 1859.

    Following Barnett was J F Barnell and F H K Buscombe, who took over from December 1861 until 1865, then the lease was cancelled. Subsequent owners have been Mr Head who sold in March 1868, and Mr J Brown who was recorded as having a fire on the farm in 1870. The fire destroyed a wheat stack and Mr Pratt's Threashing machine. The Holecomb homestead has been used as holiday farm accomadation since the 1980ís

    STATIONS - Wombat Park.

    Robert Clowes retained the Wombat run until September 1852, he then sold out to William Standbridge.

    William E Standbridge (1816 - 18--) built the Wombat Park homestead under pre-emptive right in 1854. Standbridge was able to have his 320 acres under the right surveyed at the same time as the Government Surveyor did the Township of Wombat (Daylesford).

    Mr Standbridge attempted to purchase two further holdings adjacent to Wombat Park, one 640 acres and the second 320 acres, but it was disallowed as the sale was not in accordance with the act.

    In May 1860, Wombat was described as having 6 horses, 18 cattle, 1420 sheep, 50 acres cultivated, 11800 uncultivated and 3000 Crown Land. Wombat took in all the land to Sailors creek, Shepherds flat, Musk and Wheatsheaf. In the 1880ís Wombat was divided into two parts, Wombat and Astley, the division was caused by the annexing of a main road easement. Astley was Standbridge's home town in England. By December 1862 Wombat Park and Astley had been considerably reduced through Commonage and land sales.

    In later years Standbridge became a Councillor and Member of the Legislative Assembly. Descendants of Standbridge still own the Wombat and Astley Homestead sites.


    STATIONS - Glen Lyon.

    The name Glen Lyon is shown on original leases, but has been joined into one name in later years. Richard Babbington and John Carpenter made application for the Glen Lyon lease on 27th march 1848. The application was in accordance with the act in that they had occupied one year prior. A lease for 10240 acres was granted. Babbington held the Glenlyon lease with John Carpenter until October 1850, from then until August 1853 it was in his name only.

    Babbington and Carpenter also built a Hotel, the Glenlyon Inn, in 1844. It was the first in the area, midway between Mt Franklin and the Loddon. The venture was not successful as it was too far off the main road to Castlemaine.

    Richard Babbington was born to Edward and Mary Babbington of Lincolnshire. Edward had been sent to Tasmania as a convict. Richard followed his fathers footsteps and ended up in Sydney in 1830, also a convict. He managed to work his term off and return to Melbourne where he found employment with Mollison.

    On the 6th April 1853 Richard was killed when thrown from a horse. He was survived by his wife Mary, whom he had married in 1845, and three children.

    Following Richards death the run was managed by his brother, James who had also been born in Van Diemens' land. The lease was held in trust in Richards name until February 1855, it was then transferred into James Babbington's name. Jame's applied for a Pre-emptive right of 640 acres immediately north of the existing Glenlyon store. James also purchased property immediately south of the Glenlyon township.

    The only reminder of Richard Babbington is a hill, north of Lyonville, which is named after him.


    STATIONS - Corinella.

    John Egan (1811 - 1896) was a relatively late arrival in the area. Landing in Melbourne on New Years eve 1840, with his cousins, Woodlock and O'Brien. The trio had left Borriesleigh, County of Tipperary, Ireland in 1839 as free immigrants.

    John Egan commenced his days in the Colony making wheel barrows. Keen to acquire his own run Egan set about to gain experience. He took a position of stockman with J T (big) Clark at Station Park near Werribee. Clark later took Dowling Forest (near Ballarat).

    Egan was impressed with the country and had spotted a small unoccupied run near Baccus Marsh. John Egan wrote to his sisters husbands, John Larkin and Philip Cantwell to come to Victoria and join him. The three settled at Baccus Marsh around 1844 on a run they named Underbank (still so named today). John Egan then used this run as a base while he searched for a larger run. After discussions with an Aborigine, who told Egan where land lay vacant, he moved into the Wombat Forest were he found unsettled waste land comprising 16,000 acres between Deep creek and Wombat creek. It was heavily timbered but Egan secured the lease and established a homestead on Deep creek in May 1848.

    The run had been occupied previously by Jas Roach and George Wharton from May 1846 but neither developed it and let the lease lapse thru non-payment. Prior to this J W Berry and Co had taken the lease and Berry settled in 1840.

    James Roach turns up as licensee of the Carlsruhe Inn in 1851. He was at the time fined and lost his Publican's licence for illegally selling spirits. Roach is also reported to have run the lively "Werribee Hut" hotel at Ballan.

    John Egan took the name Corinella from the Aboriginal place name Koorinella, which means place where Kangaroo drinks. Corinella's first station was built near Musk Vale as the Deep creek was too far from the main road. Egan moved to Deep creek in 1848 erecting a slab hut, but this was replaced with a brick dwelling in 1862. The bricks were made from local clay found on the property. The newer homestead is still in use today by a direct descendant. In 1854 a pre-emptive right of 640 acres was applied for but the right was not granted until 17th December 1857. The Land was then valued at #1.1.0 per acre.

    In 1851 John Egan visited the Clunes Goldfields and noted the similarity to the gullies on his own run. He returned home and enlisted the assistance of inlaws Patrick and Richard Cantwell and almost immediately found gold. The discovery was made on Wombat Flat in August 1851. There has been speculation that Egan was on the east bank of Wombat creek, this would have put him on Clowes brothers Holecombe run.

    Egan was paid 600 pounds for his find in 1856. The discovery of gold at Blanket Flat, just south of his homestead, led to the establishment of Eganstown.

    Egan also discovered gold in Kidd's gully and at Spring creek. The last site being generally known as the Jim Crow diggings. Initially John Egan was partnered by his son, Michael Egan and John Leahy, but after April 1851 his partner was listed as Francis Egan. John Egan had Married Mary Austin in 1848.

    Corinella was largely absorbed into Gold commons, the state Forest and the township of Eganstown.

    STATIONS - Coliban Downs Estate

    This run was established on the Coliban river, south of Shepherds creek, in the late 1850's. George Walker Johnson settled on the site, which had been part of Mollison's Coliban run. George Johnson (1810 - 1901) arrived in Adelaide in 1839 aboard the "Lady Lilford". Johnson commenced business as a timber merchant, having been given a land grant in return for paying the expenses for two families to emigrate.

    In 1852 the Johnson family and 17 others overlanded to the Forest Creek diggings. Later the family relocated to Kyneton, where George Johnson began contracting for road construction. He built most of the road between Castlemaine and Woodend.

    In 1856 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly.

    George Johnson then took over 'Ellison' on the Coliban and established a homestead under a pre-emptive right. Johnson's run ran west to Tylden adjoining the Clowes Woodside run. In 1860 Johnson purchased a 12,000 acre lease for the Woodside property from Clowes, but forfeited in 1864 when the rent payments were allowed to lapse.

    George Walker Johnson became a Lauriston Councillor, the first President of the Kyneton Agricultural Society, a member of the Prince of Wales Light Horse at Castlemaine and the districts first mason in the Kyneton Zetland lodge.

    In later years the Johnson's moved to a brick two story house on the Campaspe which had been built for a Captain Armstrong. The Coliban Downs pre-emptive block now lies mostly under the Upper Coliban Reservoir.


    STATIONS - Lyon Banks

    Located on the Kangaroo creek, near Glenlyon, Lyon Banks was settled around 1852, possibly Robert Campbell came to an arrangement with Henry Clowes and purchased a piece of Holecombe, or simply walked onto land Henry had vacated. A portion of Lyon Banks had also formed part of the Protectorate station.

    Robert Campbell , an emigrant from Argleshire Scotland, arrived in Hobson's bay aboard The Duke of Rothsday" in November 1841. Campbell's wife gave birth to a son not long after the ship docked. He was the first of 11 Campbell children.

    They family moved inland almost immediately, Robert taking a position with the Bradshaw brothers at Ballan. The Bradshaw's had established Bolwarrah station and Campbell took over as manager. In early 1850 the Bradshaws decided to sell their run and gave Campbell the option of buying. Campbell declined, possibly because he had already made plans to move north.

    The Campbell's left Bolwarrah as the gold rush in the area was just getting started, they passed through the Wombat diggings, finding a clutch of tents gathered around the Wombat creek. Mr Campbell had the new homestead constructed prior to the families arrival. It consisted of split straight grain timber, taken from the nearby forest. A bark roof was used and the walls paper lined. The house was a simple rectangle, a central front door led to a passage. Rooms led off each side and a long enclosed verandah ran across the back, covered by a skillion roof.

    The farm was quickly established, wheat, oats, hay, potatoes. dairy products, steers and heifers, pigs, eggs and fowls were all produced for both the Campbell's consumption and for sale in Castlemaine and locally.

    The farm prospered, supplying the many small stores which were setting up on the nearby goldfields.

    The estate stretched as far as Church road, on the edge of Mt Franklin, and Porcupine Ridge in the North.

    The Campbell's mechanised after the first few crops, a reaper was purchased followed by a chaff cutter. One of Campbells daughters recorded the arrival of Mr Furphy's steam driven threshing machine. Furphy returned each year to the farm with his sons, on one occasion setting fire to the crop, haystack and fences. Furphy gained fame later with the Furphy water tanks.

    In 1861 Lyon Banks was cut in two following the land sales. William Pratt purchased land between Leitch's and Middleton's creeks. Campbell was able to retain the biggest portion.

    On the 27th February 1865, the property was destroyed in the "Black Monday" state wide fires. Only the Homestead and a stable were saved. The Campbell's rebuilt the farm and extended the Homestead in the period 1868 -1870.

     STATIONS - Bough Yards

    The establishment of the Aboriginal Station not only displaced the Jumcra run, but took a good portion of Mollison's Bough Yards run. Now effectively separated from the Coliban run by Holecombe and the Protectorate Mollison possibly found Bough Yards an imposition.

    In 1840 Alex Kennedy (1801 - 1877) had arrived in the Guildford area. He was related to William Campbell. William Campbell and Donald Cameron had arrived on the "Wm Metcalfe" from Invernesshire in late 1838.

    Kennedy and his wife Margaret, and five children arrived aboard the "S Boyne" in January 1839. The Kennedys made their way to Clunes where Donald Cameron had set up his run. Kennedy had selected a run near Newstead whist on route to Clunes. By the time he returned, Norman Simson had established the Charlotte Plains run on the site.

    Fortunately, William Campbell had purchased the lease for Bough Yards which was adjacent to his run, Strathloddon. Campbell gave Kennedy the remains of the Bough Yards run and the Kennedys established a homestead on the Loddon River. The homestead was named Bowyards.

    The Strathloddon run homestead was near Yapeen. The township of Campbell's creek was named after William Campbell.


    By the end of the 1840s the squatters runs averaged in size from 10,000 to 100,000 acres. It was this period that saw the beginnings of many of the smaller towns in the district. A Hotel, a store or a toll bridge over a river was sufficient to start a town.

    From the 1850,s the smaller farms emerged, but it was the mid 1860's which saw the selector make a real impression.

    Even before the legislation of 1860, "Free selection before Survey", bush and scrub land on the north side of the dividing range was being settled.

    The Wombat forest was almost impregnable and totally unsuitable for farming, that was until the mid 1850's. At that time the timber millers moved into the forest seeking lumber for Mines and boiler firewood.

    As the forest was cleared the selectors moved in, cleaning up small parcels of land. The Government recognised the potential and quickly organised Land sales.

    Typical of the Daylesford Glenlyon selector was John and Elizabeth Irving. The Irvings arrived in Melbourne in the early 1850's, travelling to the Maldon goldfields. Like many diggers, John Irving did not make his fortune. The family moved south to Kyneton where he resumed his trade as a tailor.

    In 1860 John Irving moved the family to the banks of Leitch's creek, setting up a tent at Wallaby. In 1861 John Irving was able to purchase 80 acres on the slopes of Snake Hill, a couple of miles north of Coomoora.

    In later years, John's sons enlarged the farm, and today the Irving family works the original acre property.


    References and further reading:

    Billis, R V & Kenyon, AS Pastrol Pioneers of Port Phillip McMillan

    Bradfield Raymond, Our First White Child & the Kennedys of Bowyard Castlemaine H S.

    Bride Thomas Francis, Letters from Victorian pioneers, Heinemann 1969

    History of Kyneton Vol 1 & 2 Kyneton Guardian Files

    Randell, JO Pastrol Settlement in Northern Victoria Vol 1 & 2 Queensbury

    Presland Gary, Journals of George Augustus Robinson Victorian Arch. Survey

    Quinlan Lucille. Here My Home Life & Times of Captain John Hepburn Oxford 1967

    Related site titled Australia:the Colonial Period Settlement and Evolution of the Colony


    Ballarat Genealogy Society

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