1877 James Winter’s ‘Dhurringile’ Mansion, Murchison, Victoria.

In the western district of Victoria is the historic mansion “Dhurringile,” erected for the wealthy Squatter James Winter in 1877.

The mansion still contains a number of secular stained glass windows crafted by the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company of North Melbourne.

“…Many of the windows are of stained glass, and are beautifully ornamented; the principal one in the large hall was made by Messrs. Ferguson and Urie, of Melbourne, a highly creditable example of colonial art…”[1]

Photos by Mrs. Noelle Nathan: (Dated March 2011)

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James Winter (1834-1885)

James Winter was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1834 and came out to Victoria with his parents John and Janet and his siblings in 1841. In 1857, in partnership with his father and brothers they brought the Colbinabbin station and others in the Rodney district of Victoria at a cost of around £200,000.[2]

On the dissolution of the family partnership in 1868 James retained the Toolamba estate and architects Lloyd Tayler and Frederick Wyatt designed his 68 room mansion “Dhurringile-house” which was built in 1877 for a reported £30,000.

“…In 1870 he was elected president of the shire council of Waranga, of which he had been a member from 1864, and he was made a territorial magistrate by the Kerferd Government…” [3]

On the 27th April 1871, aged 36, he married Caroline Pettett[4], a daughter of former Hawthorn Mayor, William Henry Pettett, who, coincidentally has a stained glass window erected to his memory in Holy Trinity Church at Stawell which depicts St Peter & St Paul and it too was made by Ferguson & Urie circa 1871.

“…At the latter end of 1873 a railway league was formed – of which he was elected president, to bring a railway down the valley of the Goulburn…”[5]

In 1883 he travelled to England via the USA where he selected twenty seven ewes and twenty three American Merino sheep for breeding on his property in Victoria[6]. Shortly before his intended return to Australia in late January 1885 he fell ill died of inflammation of the lungs at Carlisle House, Central Hill, Norwood on the 3rd February 1885 [7][8].

Dhurringile:

Dhurringile remained within ownership of the family for many years. In 1890 Mr. M. Minter was the manager of the Dhurringile estate[9]. His two sons drowned on the property in 1895[10]. The property was eventually sold at auction in March 1902 to J. J. Falconer of the Australian Mortgage, Land, and Finance Company Ltd for £173,527.[11]

In 1910 Thomas Hastie was the manager of Dhurringile station and was appointed a member of the Closer Settlement Board.[12] Two years later in 1912 it was owned or managed by Everard Browne[13].

The property remained vacant for a number of years and was eventually sold to Vincent Hart in 1925,[14] but it still remained unoccupied during his ownership. In 1939 Hart rented the property to the Government for use as an internment camp for German and Italian alien civilians and by 1941 it was being used by the army as a prisoner of war camp for Germans.

In 1947 Dhurringile was purchased by the Presbyterian Church who refurbished the dilapidated property and after a public appeal in 1949 the church raised £15,000[15] to assist with the repairs. The property eventually opened in late 1950 as the “Dhurringile Presbyterian Rural Training Farm”, which was intended for accommodating and training immigrant boys from the UK whose fathers had died during the war. The first twenty nine boys from England and Scotland arrived aboard the ‘Cheshire’ in late December 1950[16].

In 1965 the property was purchased by the Victorian Government for use in the rehabilitation of alcoholic prisoners. The property is still used as a minimum security prison to this day but the mansion itself is only used for administration and as a training centre.

The extant Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows in the mansion, depict the Kangaroo and the Emu, the deities “Flora & Pomona,” a gothic decorated fanlight window and an arched window depicting the seasons which is very similar to the seasons window at Mandeville Hall in Toorak which also has Flora and Pomona windows.

Significant Transcriptions:

The Australasian, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 24th April 1880, page 25.

“THE TOOLAMBA ESTATE, LOWER GOULBURN.

(BY OUR TRAVELLING REPORTER)

Within some half dozen miles of Murchison, on the Lower Goulburn, and not far from the small township of Toolamba, is the estate of the same name, belonging to Mr. James Winter, and which was casually referred to in one of my previous articles on the North-Eastern and Goulburn Valley districts. The length of the estate from the Goulburn River to the boundary of the Girgarre district is above 12 miles, and its width from the Murchison side to Toolamba between seven and eight miles. It is divided into about 50 paddocks, all of which are securely fenced with post-and-rail and wire fences, and a small portion with wire netting, for keeping the young rams in. Rich, well grassed plains, with soil of chocolate description, constitute the greater portion of the estate, and in places these are heavily timbered with box and gum, while at intervals wide stretches of country intervene which scarcely possess a single tree. No running streams are to be met with, but the whole estate is well watered, there being altogether nearly 100 dams, from which over 100,000 yards of excavation have been taken, and with one or two exceptions they all had a plentiful supply of water during the two recent summers, which have been the most trying for a number of years. On a small sandhill – one of the few elevations on the north side of the estate – the homestead is built. It is called Dhurringile-house – the former word in the native vocabulary signifying “and emu crouching,” the peculiar shape and isolation of the hill, there being none other for miles in every direction around it, having led the aborigines to imagine that it bore a resemblance to a gigantic emu in the act of lying on the plain, and to bestow upon it the appellation it now bears.

            Dhurringile-house is a fine edifice, in fact, there are not many superior to it in the colony; its construction involved a very large amount of time, labour, and expense. The whole of the operations were carried on under the personal supervision of the proprietor, who to a great extent acted as his own architect; and the vast pile of buildings which now towers so proudly above the Emu Plain has been acknowledged by some of the highest professional ability in the colony to be exceptionally well designed, and substantially erected. The house is constructed of red brick, in the rural Italian style of architecture; the frontages on the north and west are ornamented with finely-cemented arcades and pillars. A tower (along which a lightning conductor runs) rises to a height of nearly 100ft above the level of the hill, almost in the centre of the building, which is two stories high, and extends from east to west to a length of 130ft., while the extreme breadth is slightly over 90ft. Every portion of the house is supplied with gas, manufactured on the premises; while, in order to facilitate verbal communications, speaking tubes are fitted throughout the building. Many of the windows are of stained glass, and are beautifully ornamented; the principal one in the large hall was made by Messrs. Ferguson and Urie, of Melbourne, a highly creditable example of colonial art…”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 29th April 1871, page 4.

WINTER-PETTETT.- On the 27th inst., at Minninnera, by the Rev. Wm. Henderson, James Winter, Esq, Toolamba, second son of John Winter, Esq, of Lauderdale, Ballarat, to Caroline, eldest daughter of the Hon. W. H. Pettett, M.L.C. No cards.”

Morning Post, London, England, Friday 6th February 1885, page 1.

“WINTER.- On the 3d inst., at Carlisle House, Central Hill, Norwood, James Winter, Esq., of Victoria, Australia.”

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter, London, England, Saturday 7th February 1885, page 3-4.

“WINTER.- Feb 3rd, at Carlisle House, Central Hill, Norwood, James Winter, Esq., of Dhurringile, Victoria, Australia.”

Evening News, Sydney, NSW, Thursday 5th February 1885, page 4.

“LONDON, February 4 [sic].- Mr. James Winter, formerly a member of the Victorian Legislature, died here to-day from inflammation of the lungs.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 6th February 1885, page 5.

“DEATH OF MR. JAMES WINTER. LONDON, FEB 4.

The death is announced, in his 51st year, of Mr. James Winter, of Turringili[sic], Toolamba estate, Murchison, the well known Victorian squatter. He died of inflammation of the lungs.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 6th February 1885, page 5.

“In our cable messages this morning the death is announced of Mr. James Winter, of the firm of Messrs. Winter Brothers, of Turringili[sic], Toolamba estate, Murchison, who was on a visit to England. The deceased gentleman was an old Victorian Colonist, and had large pastoral interests in the colony. He at one time represented the district in which his property was in the Waranga Shire Council, and in 1870 he was elected to the president’s chair. In February, 1883, he left with a party of friends to go, by way of America, to England, partly for the benefit of his health. In passing through America he selected some sheep, which were designed to improve the weight of fleece of Victorian flocks. By the latest advices he had taken his passage, together with several other gentlemen well known in Melbourne, by the R.M.S. Pekin, which was to sail on the 29th ult., and the news of his death has taken his friends quite by surprise. He was greaty respected as a man of business and for his private worth. It is related that when the Toolamba run was selected Mr. Winter supplied the selectors with water from his tanks, without which they would have had to abandon their selections. As showing the energy and liberal outlay with which he improved his land, it may be mentioned that property held by him, and adjudged by arbitration under Duffy’s Act to carry one sheep to five acres, was ultimately made capable of supporting one sheep per acre. In 1857, Colbinabbin station and several others in the Rodney district were bought at a cost of about 200,000, by Mr. Winter and his brothers.”

Bendigo Advertiser, Vic, Monday 9th February 1885, page 2.

“An Argus telegram, republished by us on Saturday, reported the death from inflammation of the lungs of Mr. James Winter, of Turringili[sic], Toolamba Estate, Murchison. The deceased gentleman was a brother of the hon. W. L. Winter, M.L.C. for the northern Province, and was on a visit to England for the benefit of his health. His death, however, was entirely unexpected, in fact it is said he had taken his passage to return to the colony by the R.M.S.S. Pekin, when he was taken ill. We take from ‘Victorian Men of the Time’ the following particulars of the deceased gentleman’s career:-

Winter, James, J.P., for the firm of Winter Brothers, of Turringili[sic], Toolamba Estate, Murchison, is the second son of the late John Winter, Lauderdale, Ballarat; born at Edinburgh, 1834, and came out to Victoria in 1841 as a child with his parents. Educated in Melbourne, and brought up to pastoral pursuits. In 1850 His father purchased the Junction Station, near the Devil’s River, Merton, of Lockhart and Mackenzie. Struggled through the gold-fever period, acting as their own shepherds for a year and a half, until things began to right themselves in 1853-4. In 1857 Colbinabbin Station was brought, and several others in the Rodney district, at a cost of about £200,000, by Mr. Winter and his brothers. They shortly after sold the junction Station for £24,000. After these runs had been for the most part been improved, and a supply of water obtained, that country was cut up under the land Act of 1865, and in 1866 200,000 acres were selected in six months. The firm was obliged to secure a large tract of land on their various runs to preserve their flocks from annihilation, and this land ultimately became freehold. In 1868 the brothers dissolved partnership, in consequence of the properties becoming so detached, and their father, the late Mr. John Winter, arbitrated in the division of the property. The Toolamba Estate became the portion of Mr. James Winter. In 1870 he was elected president of the shire council of Waranga, of which he had been a member from 1864, and he was made a territorial magistrate by the Kerferd Government. In 1873 the rush for the Goulburn valley lands took place, and in about one year the whole of the Toolamba run was selected. Mr. Winter claims to have supplied the selectors with water from his tanks, without which they would have had to abandon their selections. At the latter end of 1873 a railway league was formed – of which he was elected president, to bring a railway down the valley of the Goulburn. His property is all securely fenced and sub-divided into fifty paddocks, with reservoirs in each. The land held by him was adjudged by arbitration under Duffy’s act to carry one sheep to five acres; by improvements he has made the land to carry nearly one sheep to one acre, and if, as the proverb has it, – “The man who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, is a benefactor to mankind,” Mr. Winter claims to have done something in that direction to earn the title. In 1871 he married the daughter of the hon. W. H. Pettitt”

Footnotes:

[1] The Australasian, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 24th April 1880, page 25.

[2] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 6th February 1885, page 5.

[3] Bendigo Advertiser, Vic, Monday 9th February 1885, page 2.

[4] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 29th April 1871, page 4.

[5] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 6th February 1885, page 5.

[6] The Australasian, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 19th June 1886, page 11.

[7] Morning Post, London England, Friday 6th February 1885, page 1.

[8] Croydon Advertiser & East Surry Reporter, London, England, Saturday 7th February 1885, page 3.

[9] Kyabram Union, Vic, Friday 16th May 1890, page 2.

[10] Riverine Herald, Echuca, Vic, Friday 4th January 1895, page 2.

[11] The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW, Saturday 8th March 1902, page 10.

[12] Riverine Herald, Echuca, Vic, Wednesday 16th February 1910, page 4.

[13] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 3rd April 1912, page 11.

[14] Victorian Heritage Council – report 125244 (accessed 5 Aug 2014)

[15] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 2nd July 1949, page 10.

[16] Riverine Herald, Echuca, Vic, Tuesday 26th December 1950, page 4.


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31-10-1878: Mandeville Hall, Toorak, Victoria.

Mandeville Hall was originally a sixteen room mansion built for Alfred Watson of the colonial trading firm William Watson & Sons. It was designed by architect Joseph Reed and originally named St Georges. A later owner, Joseph Clarke, commissioned architect Charles Webb to enlarge the house in 1877 and it was then re-named Mandeville Hall. After Clarkes’ death in 1895, Mandeville Hall had a number of transformations, including being an exclusive guest house, before eventually being purchased by the Loreto Sisters in 1924 as an Independent Catholic girls school, which it still is today.

The slideshow of photos depicts all the Stained Glass and Etched Glass windows at Mandeville Hall in detail.  The main Stairwell window, depicting the Four Seasons with Hunting and Angling scenes  was designed by Ferguson & Urie’s senior stained glass artist, David Relph Drape and it has the year “1878” shown at the apex of the window and Joseph Clarke’s initials “J.C” at the bottom. The hallway window depicts country scenes which were also designed and painted by Drape and his signature appears at the base of the log in the central garden scene. The stained glass in the grand front entry doors depict the mythological fertility deities, “Flora” and “Pomona”, and they are again depicted in the doors to the conservatory but in this instance they are in acid etched glass.

Photos taken 6th December 2010.

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Beneath the stairwell are three small single light windows depicting Australian native birds, the Kookaburra, Cockatoo and a Magpie. The roundel depicting the Magpie is not original and is thought to have been a replacement or reproduction circa 1970, but it is still set within the original Ferguson & Urie outer parts of the window.

There are also some figures depicted in the stairwell window that have been positively matched to some of David Relph Drapes original pencil stained glass designs which are preserved in the State Library of Victoria’s manuscripts collection. The sketches that match those in the window are also shown as side by side comparisons in the slideshow.

The photos (other than the first image from the 1878 newspaper engraving) were taken on the 6th of December 2010.
Special thanks to Mr Steve Stefanopoulos, the Heritage Collection and Records manager at Loretto, who took myself and Mrs Val Goller on a fantastic tour of the mansion.

Illustrated Australian News, Melbourne, 31st October 1878, page 186

“The suburbs to the south of the River Yarra have for many years been famous for the number and beauty of their semi- rural residences, which, while, being within an easy distance of the city, are sufficiently removed from the influences of its dust and smoke to enable their owners to enjoy most of, if not all, the luxuries of a country, life. Toorak and its immediate neighborhood is undeniably the most fashionable suburb, and many of the villas belonging to our successful professional men, wealthy merchants and opulent land owners, would not do discredit to the most aristocratic neighborhood in the mother country. Mandeville Hall, the subject of our engraving, is situate in the Orrong road, Toorak, and has been recently erected by Mr. Joseph Clarke, a gentleman of large fortune, and the proprietor of large landed estates in several of the colonies. The house stands a considerable distance off the road, and is surrounded by grounds about thirteen acres in extent, the greater part of which are planted and tastefully laid out. It is a commodious house, containing in all about twenty-five rooms, and carries all the outward appearance of an English, gentleman’s residence. It has been built in the modern Italian style of architecture, from designs made by Mr. Charles Webb, architect, of Melbourne, the same order being observable in the columns on the lower story, and the Corinthian in those on the upper. A great feature in the exterior is a handsome colonnade and balcony, about twelve feet wide, extending round the west and south sides of the building, while in front is a terraced balustrading with steps leading; to a grassy lawn, between which and the house is a broad carriage drive. The building has been substantially constructed with blue stone foundations, the superstructure being of brick finished with Portland cement. Internally the rooms are spacious and convenient, all modern improvements in the way of ventilation and other necessary matters having been adopted. The decorations and furnishing are more than usually elaborate, Mr. Clarke having gone to the trouble, and. expense of commissioning Messrs. Gillow and Co., of London, to send out artists and workmen specially for the purpose of rendering his new home beautiful to the eye. The interior is decorated and fitted in the early English mediaeval and Oriental styles, and the whole richly ornamented. The cost of the building was about £30,000, and it forms, a handsome addition to the numerous private residences in the neighborhood”.

Related posts: 30-03-1882: David Relph Drape (1821-1882)

External links:

Biography: Joseph Clarke (1834-1895)
Loreto Web Site: Loreto Mandeville Hall Catholic Girls School


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18-01-1873: Wyselaskie’s ‘Narrapumelap’ Homestead at Wickliffe.

The French Gothic mansion ‘Narrapumelap’ was built at Wickliffe in western Victoria in 1873 for the wealthy squatter John Dixon Wyselaskie (1818-1883)

Wyselaskie engaged the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company of North Melbourne to decorate various parts of his modest country mansion with stained glass. The window in the vestibule is personalised specifically to contain Wyselaskie’s initials “J.D.W” flanked by the year “18-73” on either side.

After Wyselaskie’s death in 1883 the property was then owned by Gerald Neville Buckley (1855-1935), the son of Mars Buckley and Elizabeth Marion Neville. After the death of Gerald in 1935 the property was owned by his brother Charles and after his death it was acquired for Soldier Settlement purposes. 

The McIntyre family brought the dilapidated property at auction in 1951 but the homestead was considered uneconomical to live in and the McIntyre’s resided in a modest wooden home about 300 meters down the hill. Over the years the original mansion was vandalised with many of the original fittings stolen or broken.

The owner of Narrapumelap, Kevin McIntyre, is restoring the homestead to its former glory which has been a childhood passion since he was a boy.

We stayed the night at the mansion in January 2011 which was a fascinating experience. On arrival Kevin gave us a tour of the mansion, which he is still restoring, and the fantastic B&B residence we were to stay in at the rear of the mansion. We were then left to our own to roam the mansion and magnificent gardens. By torchlight at night it’s an amazing experience roaming the mostly empty rooms of the mansion, and seeing the shadows on the wall cast by the antlers of the stags head in the breakfast room is very spooky. The most remarkable view of the property is from the lookout at the top of the tower above the vestibule. A  door to the side of the vestibule reveals a tiny winding staircase all the way up the tower that leads to a small doorway out on to a lookout platform where you can view the entire grounds and watch the sun set.

Kevin told us that when he was a boy, vandals were stealing and vandalising the original fittings in the mansion, such as marble fireplaces and tiles, and when he was about twelve years old he decided to climb the roof and cover up the historic old stained glass windows with boards and iron sheeting to hide them from visibility and damage. His tactic worked well and the historic windows survived and can now be seen in all their glory to this day.

Kevin’s restoration work on the mansion is nothing short of remarkable and he hopes to make it his own home one day.

Photos were taken 9th January 2011.

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This is a rudimentary YouTube clip taken with my iPhone 3GS on the 9th January 2011 from the top of the tower at sunset.

Another iPhone clip showing a tour through the mansions empty rooms just before sunset, which includes the stained glass windows and the B&B rooms at the back of the mansion.

The History of Narrapumelap.

John Dixon Wyselaskie (1818-1883)

John Dixon Wyselaskie was the son of army officer Louis Wyselaskie and Elizabeth Kerr[1] and was born in Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, on the 25th June 1818.

His official biography on-line at the National Library outlines the significant events in his life but it’s the events after his death that provide some interesting additional detail.

Wyselaskie arrived in Tasmania in 1837 to join an uncle, Robert Kerr, of the firm Kerr & Bogle in Hobart. In 1840 he obtained the Narrapumelap run at Wickliffe in Victoria for the firm and in the 1850’s bought out 24,000 acres of the estate from Kerr & Bogle to start his own sheep run[2].

In 1862 he married Mary Jane Austin Farrell (1838-1895) of Wickliffe, Victoria, at St James’s Church in Melbourne[3] and in 1873 he had a magnificent French Gothic mansion built of bluestone on the Narrapumelap estate at Wickliffe in western Victoria.

“A Victorian squatter named Wyselaskie is about to build a costly mansion on his property at Wickliffe. In the centre of the building will be a tower seventy or eighty feet high, from which every portion of the estate will be visible”.[4]

In 1878 Wyselaskie moved to St. Kilda at Melbourne where he built a two storey mansion named “Wickliffe House” on the St. Kilda Esplanade which had unimpeded views of the bay and the historic St. Kilda pier. He died there of a stroke on the 4th of May 1883 aged 65[5].

On the 7th May 1883[6] he was interred in the Boroondarra cemetery at Kew and three years later, on the 3rd of July 1886, one of the most extravagant and expensive marble monuments ever seen in the Colony was erected over his grave site which included a life size statue of him. The local press reported;

“One of the finest pieces of monumental statuary in the colony was unveiled on Saturday last at the Boorondara [sic] cemetery. It has been erected by the executors in the estate, and in memory of the late Mr. Wyselaskie, one of the earliest settlers of the Western district. The deceased in his will made bequests to the extent of about £40,000 to various charities, and educational establishments, by which he will long be remembered. The monument is of Italian design, and excellently executed, standing about 20ft. high. The base is square with angles so splayed off as to present an octagonal appearance. The moulded panels of the base are beautifully carved with flowers and emblems of sepulture, and on the top at each corner are four chaste figures of angels. Rising from the base is the main pedestal, embellished with sculptured festoons of flowers, and on it stands a life size figure of Mr. Wyselaskie, executed in Carara marble. This is a work of art, and coupled with the angels on the base, stamps Signor G. Fredani, of Naples, whose work it is as a sculptor in the truest sense of the word. The whole marble work stands on a bluestone base 8ft. square, the massive foundations of the same material going right down to the bottom of the grave. It is enclosed with moulded Malmsbury bluestone kerb and heavy cast-iron railing with gilded points. The erection of the monument and everything with the exception of the marble work, was entrusted to Messrs Clark and Henderson, the well known monumental masons, of Gisborne-street, E Melbourne, and they are to be complimented on the excellent general effect.”[7]

Wyselaskie’s estate was bequeathed to many significant Melbourne institutions, including the Presbyterian Church and Melbourne University.

“THE WYSELASKI BEQUELTS [sic].- Friday’s Telegraph states that owing to excessive valuation in the estate of the late J. D. Wyselaskie of Wickliffe, it is feared the amounts specified in the will to fall to the various legatees will not be realised in full. It has been stated that unless £4 per acre be received, the bequests – at least those that are contingent – cannot be met. Recently the estate, when put up for sale, had only one bid made for it at £3, 1s., owing to the rabbit pest having become so prevalent, and done so much damage. The following is the value and allocation of the estate, with the various amounts bequeathed to each legatee: – The estate was valued at £72,337 reality, and £28,000 personality. To his widow the deceased left his house at St. Kilda, with the furniture, &c., and £5,000. He also directed that the trustees should invest £25,000, the interest of which was to be for her benefit during life. He bequeathed likewise a number of private legacies, also £5,000 to the Church of Scotland at Farquhar, of which the Rev. T. Sellar was minister; £2,000 to the Presbyterian Church, Wickliffe; £20,000 to the endowment fund for the salaries of professors and teachers for training young men for the Presbyterian ministry; £5,000 for the Presbyterian Ladies’ College; £10,000 for the Presbyterian Theological-hall; and £12,000 to be invested for the endowment of six scholarships at the Melbourne University, to be called the Wyselaskie Scholarships. The residuary estate was to be invested for the benefit of the children; and in the event of there being no children alive at the death of his widow, the property was to be divided between the Melbourne Hospital, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne Blind Asylum, Deaf and Dumb Asylum, and the Benevolent Asylum.” [8]

The University ended up receiving the sum of £8,400 from the Wyselaskie executors and as at 2002, (more than a century later) the combined capital for the six Wyselaskie Scholarships was stated at over half a million dollars ($530,561.75)[9]

His widow, Mary Jane Austin (nee Farrell) became the gossip of society in 1884 when she married Alfred James Horner who was more than twenty years her junior and of questionable moral character. Horner, an accountant, had previously been sued by a widow named Catherine “Kitty’ Edgin[10] for £1,000 damages in a breach of promise case. Previous to this, Alfred’s father James had tried to intervene by visiting Catherine on the 1st of May 1883;

“…The young man’s family then got wind of the affair, and his father appeared on the scene. He visited the plaintiff. She showed him the children, and the old man said that his son ought to marry the mother of the children. The old man died on the following day, broken hearted…”[11] 

James Hassler Horner, accountant of Acland Street St Kilda, was reported as having died suddenly on the 2nd of May 1883[12].

The jilted Catherine Edgin was awarded £600 by the court and Alfred Horner was then free to marry the widow Wyselaskie, who seemed oblivious to his appalling moral character;

“…Afterwards he said he was not going to marry a poor woman, and he could only allow her £2 per week. He only paid one instalment, and then said it would be better to drown herself and poison the children. After this he said that he was going to marry the richest widow on St. Kilda. On the 30th April he married Mrs Wyselaskie, the rich widow referred to….”[13]

Alfred Horner married Mary Jane Austin Wyselaskie in St James’ Church in Melbourne and although it was stated that the “society” papers had chronicled the lavish event only one detailed account of it has been found in, of all places, a ladies gossip column in a New Zealand tabloid![14]

In October 1887 the now, Mrs. A. J. Horner, presented a large oil painting of her former husband, John Dixon Wyselakie, to the “Wyselaskie-Hall Ladies College.” [15] The College had been built with funds from the Wyselaskie bequest and was opened by Francis Ormond in March that same year[16].

On the 31st of July 1895 Mary Jane Austin Horner died at Bendigo[17] aged 57 and on the 3rd August 1895 was interred with her first husband, J. D. Wyselaskie, at the Kew Boroondarra cemetery[18].

When Mary’s will was executed and probate was proven, her Farrell relatives and her daughter and adopted daughter were the beneficiaries and Alfred James Horner was excluded[19]

Alfred James Horner left Melbourne after Mary died and headed for Perth in Western Australia, where he joined his brother, Ernest E. Horner in the firm of Horner & Horner, Fire and Insurance Assessors. Alfred died in Sydney on the 23rd of November 1918 after a “painful illness”[20]

Gerald Neville Buckley (1855-1935)

The second owner of Narrapumelap was Gerald Neville Buckley. He was the son of Elizabeth Marion Neville (1826-1920)[21] and Mars Buckley (1825-1905), proprietor of Buckley & Nunn haberdashery of Bourke Street Melbourne[22].

Gerald brought the Narrapumelap station from the estate of J. D. Wyselaskie in June 1884[23] and, apart from his international travels, lived there for the rest of his life. His exploits at big game hunting in Africa were well known and his animal trophies were on display in the homestead.

Gerald died unmarried aged 78 on the 19th February 1935 at Narrapumelap and was reported to have a combined estate of £140,262.[24]

“OBITUARY, Mr. G. N. Buckley

The death occurred on Tuesday night at his home, Narrapumelap, Wickliffe, of Mr. Gerald Neville Buckley, whose father, the late Mr. Mars Buckley, was a founder of Buckley and Nunn Ltd and donor of the Mars Buckley Cup for tennis for annual competition between Victoria and New South Wales. Mr. Buckley, who was aged 78 years, was unmarried. He was one of the leading pastoralists and horse breeders in Victoria. At the Rock House Stud, on the Campaspe River, near Kyneton, he bred many fine horses. The sires, The Night Patrol, for which Mr. Buckley paid the Earl of Stradbroke 10,000 guineas, and Woorak were both kept at Rock House. Cape Sky and Greenstead were also in Mr. Buckley’s stud, and Halbadier, Linker Up, Woorgun, and Sergeant Major raced under his colours. Halbadier and Gamekeeper are in training at present. As a young man Mr. Buckley was a member of several big game hunting expeditions to South Africa”. [25]

Narrapumelap was then in the hands of Gerald’s brother Charles Mars Buckley until his death in 1946[26]. The Soldier Settlement Commission purchased the property which was then occupied by Peter C. Jensen[27] and then R. A. S. Hayes[28].

On Monday 30th July 1951 a public auction for the estate was held at Scott’s Hotel in Melbourne[29] and the 1400 acres of property and buildings passed into the hands of Alistair McIntyre who ran sheep on the property which produced some of the finest wool at record prices in Victoria[30].

The McIntyre’s never lived in the old mansion because of its dilapidated condition but their son Kevin had loved the old bluestone building since he was a boy and has now been restoring it to its former glory for more than twenty years.

“Historic homestead restoration a labour of love”

BY ALEXANDRA WEAVER 22 Oct, 2011 03:00 AM

“RESTORING a historic south-west property has been a labour of love for Kevin McIntyre. For the past 18 years he has spent weekends working on Wickliffe’s Narrapumelap homestead, which was built in 1873 and is considered one of rural Victoria’s finest examples of French gothic revival architecture. Its original owner, John Dixon Wyselaskie (1818-1883), was a successful pastoralist and philanthropist. Mr McIntyre’s parents bought Narrapumelap at a Melbourne auction in 1951 and today live in a more modest residence nearby. The homestead was badly damaged in the 1980s when vandals broke in and smashed its ornate fireplaces. “Twenty years ago it was really quite ruinous,” Mr McIntyre said. “When I first started there was no garden, a devastated interior now it’s really quite nearing completion inside. “It’s quite a popular tour destination now. It is totally unique.” Mr McIntyre recently added a kitchen in a style sympathetic to the home’s design and removed a dining room added to the central courtyard in about 1900. “People have been following this project with quite a bit of interest,” he said. “I do most of the work myself I do all the design work. I actually make a lot of the things. “It’s very comprehensive because I really believe in the idea of one hand controlling all details: garden, design, garden structures, interior.” Narrapumelap will be open during the Melbourne Cup and Easter weekends and can be seen at other times by appointment.”[31]

Kevin also has B&B accommodation available in a beautifully restored section at the rear of the mansion.

See: http://www.narrapumelap.com.au/

Footnotes:

[1] Vic BDM: 6826/1883

[2] J. Ann Hone, ‘Wyselaskie, John Dickson (1818–1883)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/wyselaskie-john-dickson-4896/text8193, accessed 1 September 2013.

External links:

Obituary: John Dixon Wyselaskie (1818-1883)
Biography: John Dickson Wyselaskie (1818-1883)
State Library Vic: Photos of Narrapumelap from 1967
Web Site: Narrapumelap


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26-10-1895: ‘Waterdale’, 56 Chapman Street, North Melbourne.

The house known as ‘Waterdale’ in Chapman Street North Melbourne was built for prominent colonial Cobbler and footwear salesman William Leeming in 1895. The house was purchased around 1970 by a branch of the Royal Children’s Hospital and is now known as Uncle Bob’s Child Development Centre. The building was classified by the National Trust in 1993 ( Place ID: 15743 File: 2/11/033/0369). There are Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows in many of the rooms as well as frosted/etched windows depicting bird life in the bathroom and walls at the rear of the house.

The stained glass photos were taken on 14th July 2011.

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The Building and Engineering Journal and Australasian Builder and Contractor News, Saturday, 26th October 1895.

“[…] the stained glass, which has been executed by Messrs. Ferguson and Urie. The sash frames are all fitted with transom lights, filled in with stained glass designed to suit the various apartments. The hall door leading to corridor is filled with an artistic panel representing night and morning. The front door panels and upper lights are treated in a conventional style introducing Australian bird and flower subjects. The doors and windows of the back corridors and bathroom, etc, are treated in floral and marine subjects, specially designed in embossed glass[…]”

The Age, Friday, December 8, 1972.

LIVING WITH HISTORY – Alex Macdonald.

“Cobbler prospered at last.

The Advertising industry might well consider establishing an archive to preserve the memories of some of its notable 19th century practitioners, such as North Melbourne’s William Leeming. Born in Castlemaine in 1859, Leeming started in the footwear business a few years after leaving school, and by 1885 was able to open the Colonnade Boot Bazaar at 1 Errol Street, North Melbourne. Other shops followed, and some time before 1900 he was wealthy enough to build a fine house, Waterdale, in Chapman Street, North Melbourne. The one-storey house, of rendered brick, commands a sloping site. Outside it has in good measure the fashionable ornaments of its age – stone urns, cast iron fence, verandah and roof finials. Inside, it’s decorated to a degree rarely excelled. The house is now Uncle Bobs’ Club Rehabilitation Centre, a branch of the nearby Royal Children’s Hospital. It is a temporary home for 12 children, mainly asthma sufferers, who receive medical care, schooling, physical and occupational therapy, and other help needed to restore them to normal home life. Two house mothers, Miss Nan Smith and Miss Val Sullivan, look after them. According to his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Jessie Leeming, of Brighton, William Leeming also had shoe shops at various times in Swanston Street (on the capitol Theatre site), and nearby in Bourke Street. In the Cyclopaedia of Victoria (1903), he is further credited with a business in Prahran. The Cyclopaedia devotes considerable space, and a photograph, to Leeming and mentions what must have been one of the most daring advertising gimmicks. A keen racing man, he entered a horse called Leeming’s Boots in the 1900 Melbourne Cup. It failed to prosper, but another Leeming horse, Patronus, won a Williamstown Cup. Mrs. Leeming recalls that a photograph of Patronus used to hang in Waterdale’s billiard room, where Leeming was in the habit of retiring with his men friends.

Mythical beast.

Another ploy Leeming used was to give away attractive little gifts. The china shoes, plates and toys bore his trademark, a mythical beast known as the “gazeka”. He must have distributed many of these, for when one of his descendants talked out “gazekas” on radio, the station was inundated with calls from people who owned them, but refused to part with them. Although the Leeming family left Waterdale some time after World War 1, it was still a private house when the hospital, with the help of money raised by the Uncle Bob’s Club, bought it two and a half years ago.      It was then much as the Leeming’s must have known it, and although the kitchen and bathrooms have now been modernised, the hospital has managed to retain and restore most of William Leeming’s decorative features. The drawing room, now the children’s school room, is notable for its gilded, moulded ceiling; Deep curving cornices have friezes of classical figures entwined in foliage. The archway on the inside of the bay window is heavily moulded, too, and even the ceiling of the bay is decorated. The door panels are painted with delicate 18th century figures and jewel motifs in pastel colors. Over this, and other important doorways throughout the house, are pediments of wood carved with flowers in high relief. The door fittings themselves are ornately chased and ornamented brass. Elsewhere in the house they are mostly crystal or china. In the dining room, the ceiling and cornices are not only covered with moulded details, but colored in shades of pink, green and gold. Still in its place is the fluted, curving brass gas chandelier. The former study, now the doctor’s room, is fitted with glass and mahogany bookcases on either side of the fireplace, and the billiard room too has a moulded ceiling icicle-like bosses hanging from it. This is now the children’s recreation room, and the raised seats around the edge, from which gentleman onlookers watched others at play have gone, and the marble floored lavatory attached is now a cloak room. Yet more color at Waterdale comes from the glass panels of the front door, dining room to verandah door, and hall door. Set in stained glass are paintings of birds and female figures, and more birds perch in small colored panels above each of he windows in the three main rooms.

Happy Memories.

            For Mrs. Leeming, Waterdale holds many happy memories, for as a child she used to play there with the four children of he house, one of whom, Leslie, she eventually married. As far as she recalls, the Lemmings’ entertain extensively in their grand house until World War 1, when they threw it open each week for soldiers from the big army camp in Royal Park. “They would have the blinds right down over the front verandah, and we’d dance there,” Mrs. Leeming said.      The estate included land right up to Flemington Road, and each of the four children had a horse. Mrs. Leeming remembers there was a live-in staff of groom, cook and maid. Those wee the days of late shopping. According to Mrs. Leeming, William Leeming used to bring home the takings from his shop, and hide them overnight in a secret panel next to the bedroom mantel. “I wonder if it is still there?” she said.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Wednesday 27th July 1932, page 8.

Mr. and Mrs. William Leeming, of Echo, Burke road, Upper Hawthorn, will celebrate their golden wedding to-day. They were both born in Victoria. Mr Leeming commenced business in 1884 when he opened a boot shop in North Melbourne, and later extended his operations to the city, Prahran, and South Melbourne. The “Gazeka” sign adopted as an advertisement for his wares was the striking pioneer of that form of publicity. The name is still registered. Mr. Leeming at different times owned Patronus, Charmans, Pendil, Zephe?, Periloous, and Decollette, with which he won several important races including two St. Kilda Cups and a Moonee Valley Cup. In 1899 he entered a horse which did not exist for the Melbourne Cup under the name of “Leeming’s Boots”. This is no longer possible under the amended racing rules. Mr. and Mrs. Leeming’s two sons and daughter are ???? (unreadable word)


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1864: Burke Museum, Beechworth, Victoria.

Amongst the most famous secular stained glass windows created by the Ferguson & Urie company is the Burke memorial window at the Beechworth Museum in Northern Victoria.

In 1861 the former Superintendent of Police at Beechworth, Robert O’Hara Burke (1821-1861), met his demise during the infamous ‘Burke & Wills’ expedition, an event which is well recorded in Australian history.

The expedition was reportedly the most expensive ever undertaken at over £60,000 and the loss of seven lives and was the topic of much discussion at the time and still is after over a century and a half.

Newspapers all over Australia wrote of the expedition in great detail and monuments to Burke an Wills began to appear across the colony.

At Beechworth, in July 1864 it was reported that a design for a Burke memorial stained glass window, submitted by John H. Cuzner (Principal of Beechworth Grammar School and Hon. Sec of the Athenaeum), would be accepted, but the window would not come to fruition for another ten years until 1874.

Photos taken 18 Dec 2011.

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The window features the Colonial Flag of Australia, the red Cross of St George, the White Rose of England, the emblem of New South Wales in gold within the red cross, the Thistle of Scotland, the Shamrock of Ireland and the Southern Cross in gold stars with the wording “Burke Memorial”. The window was reportedly made for £30 and still exists in remarkable condition and is now the centrepiece attraction in the museum. The museum guides, pamphlets and advertising sign outside the museum all include pictures of the window and there are postcards of the window on sale.

An article on the wall at the Beechworth museum (18th Dec 2011) reads:

“In 1861, when the disastrous fate of the Burke and wills expedition became known in Beechworth it was decided that a monument be erected in memory of Robert O’Hara Burke who, as Superintendent of Police for the whole Ovens district from 1854-1858, has been stationed in Beechworth. The Athenaeum building was extended in 1863 to incorporate a museum and in 1874 the Burke Memorial stained glass window was made to order by Ferguson & Urie of Melbourne at the cost of thirty pounds. The building was further extended with the addition of wings on three sides from 1971-1979.”

“Robert O’Hara Burke was chosen by the Royal Society of Victoria to lead an expedition across Central Australia in 1860-61. Burke succeeded in crossing the Australian continent from south to north, but at a terrible price; the expedition cost him his life. The crossing ranked Burke as one of the most controversial figures in the history of Australian exploration”.

“Some called him ‘The mad amateur bushman’, others said ‘He was betrayed at the hour of success’, The Royal Commission set up to investigate the disaster which overtook the expedition, concluded by issuing the following statement: “We cannot too deeply deplore the lamentable result off an expedition undertaken at so great a cost to the Colony; but while we regret the absence of a systematic plan of operations on the part of the leader, we desire to express our admiration of his gallantry and daring”.

In 1864 the concept of a memorial stained glass window has been adopted and a design by Mr. Cuzner has been approved.

Ovens and Murray Advertiser, Beechworth, Vic, Saturday 2nd July 1864, page 2. 
“BEECHWORTH ATHENAEUM – The first meeting of the new Committee is to be held on Monday evening next, when we are informed, it is contemplated to bring under consideration the desirability of attempting to get up a Bruce Auction for the purpose of obtaining funds to complete the Burke Museum, and render it suitable for the object it is intended to accomplish; also, a better plan than at present adopted for ensuring all subscribers easy access to the books they may desire to take home from the Library. The advantages of a Museum to the district are so apparent that we feel confident the public will liberally respond to any well considered project to give that of the Athenaeum a fair start, and look forward to shortly having to congratulate the town on the possession a collection that will be creditable not only to the Athanaeum, but to this part of the colony, being aware that there are gentlemen on the committee able and willing to render great assistance in its formation. It is considered by many that the subscribers to the building itself should have an opportunity given them of expressing their approval, or otherwise, of the intended memorial to ‘Burke,’ and we are sure the Athenaeum Committee will be anxious to give them satisfaction before definitely determining on the carrying out of the design. We, ourselves, highly approve of the memorial window, designed by Mr Cuzner, as being both useful and ornamental, and merely express the feeling we have heard for the information of the Committee. Steps are also to be taken with the view of commencing the lecture session without unnecessary delay, and from the material of which the Officers and Committee are composed, we have every assurance that all that energy and zeal can accomplish will be done to preserve the Athenaeum in its present efficiency, and to give satisfaction to members of that very useful Institution.”

Mr Cuzner’s design for the window would remain on ice for the next ten years. In 1874 it finally came to fruition.

Ovens & Murray Advertiser, Beechworth, Vic, Saturday 1st August 1874, page 5.
“…The unsightly boarding in the oval aperture in the end wall of the Museum has been replaced by a stained glass window, intended to commemorate the memory of the ill-fated explorer from whom this part of the institution takes its name, and if not everything that could have been desired, your Committee trust it will be considered as a great improvement upon the state of things that previously existed. The cost of this memorial window is £30, which will be augmented by the cost of placing it in the position designed for it…”

The window is the only known extant Ferguson & Urie stained glass in an oval shape and is now artificially lighted from behind.

External Links:

Biography: Robert O’Hara Burke.

National Archives: Burke memorial window.


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06-01-1865: The warehouse of Mr. Howie, Linen Draper of Bourke Street East, Melbourne.

The Argus, Melbourne, 6th January 1864, page 5

“As an instance of the progress of an art not practiced in Melbourne a few years since, it may be mentioned that Messrs, Urie and Co., of Curzon street, have recently completed and fitted up a very handsome window of ornamental glass at the back of the warehouse of Mr. Howie, linendraper[sic], & c., of Bourke-street east. In the centre are shown, in separate panels, the arms of Australia and England, and a very well executed border of stained glass, showing in beautiful colours the Gothic rose and leaves. As a simple work of art it is highly creditable to the progress of this city in civilizing influences”.

Robert Howie, Draper, 25 Bourke St East, Melbourne, and Barkly St Carlton[1].

In 1861 he was in partnership with Thomas Young Anderson, trading at 13 Bourke street east as ‘Anderson & Howie’, but dissolved the partnership circa late August 1861.

In August 1863 he was trading at 25 Bourke-street east as a draper and throughout 1864 to 1870 he continually advertises for Drapers assistants, salesmen and women, and dress makers. The case of McFarlane v. Howie in March 1865 gives the impression that he probably didn’t have a good reputation as an employer.

In April 1866 his wife, Julia died aged 20.

In July 1868 he was fined £5 for displaying his goods for sale outside of his premises and in August 1870 was declared bankrupt and advertisements for the sale of his entire stock-in-trade were published in September 1870.

By 1878 it appears that he had converted to being an Iron Monger from the same Bourke-street premises and possibly formed a partnership with Francis Swan asHowie & Swanas carters which was dissolved after the death of Swan in June 1881.

Robert Howie later re-married another widower named Mary who died aged 69 on the 1st Feb 1902 at “Howie Terrace” 283 City Road, South Melbourne. She was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery on the 3rd Feb 1902. His step daughter is mentioned as Mrs. W. Morris and his son as Robert E. Howie a merchant of Hindley-street, Adelaide.

Robert Howie died 15th Oct 1910, aged 78 at his residence “Howie Terrace”, City Road, South Melbourne. His entire estate was valued at £18,629 and was bequeathed to his daughter Janet Minnie Howie and his brother Robert Edward Howie of Adelaide, with other smaller legacies to be paid to numerous other relatives.

Foot Notes:

[1] Post Office Directory 1866, page 81.