There are four families in our Harper tree that made the trip to the new Victorian colony. It is worth noting that Melbourne was founded in 1835 and Victoria didn’t become a separate ‘colony’ until July 1 1851 when writs were issued proclaiming the new colony of Victoria. The first settlement was at Corinella in 1826 and the second at Portland in 1834.

Harper Family

Andrew Harper and his wife, Maria Gleghorn, were both born in County Antrim, Ireland. They were married in Templepatrick, Antrim on December 23 1834. Between 1835 and 1841 they had 3 children – Paul, Samuel and Henry. Paul was 6 years old, Samuel was 4 and Henry was just 7 months old when they boarded the Marquis of Bute in Greenock, Scotland on 11 Aug 1841 to make the three and a half month voyage to Australia. Their ship arrived at Port Phillip on November 30,  1841.

In 1847, six years after their arrival, their fourth son John Phillip Harper was born in Geelong. Not much is known about their activities after arrival, but both Andrew and Maria died accidentally. Maria was just 44 when she burned to death in their hut at Creswick in 1859. This was recorded in the local Ballarat Star newspaper as well as other newspapers of the day as far afield as Grafton.

The inquest on Maria Harper, whose death we chronicled in our last issue, took place before the District Coroner at the Dean Inn, on Monday, 25th inst. Andrew Harper, the husband of deceased deposed to his son Henry coming to him in the Forest on Saturday afternoon with the news that his mother was burned to death. On returning home he found deceased lying on the floor of the hut, quite dead, being dreadfully burned over nearly the whole of her body. The clothes about her shoulders were still smouldering when the son first discovered her. No evidence was given which accounted for the manner in which the accident happened, and the jury returned a verdict of death by burning, believed to have been caused by the clothes of deceased having accidentally caught fire.

Andrew Harper was 72 when he died of asphyxia after choking on a piece of meat at the Carriers Arms Hotel in Ballarat. His death was reported in the Kilmore Free Press.

At Ballarat, on Thursday, Andrew Harper died suddenly whilst taking his tea at the Carriers’ Arms Hotel. An inquiry subsequently held showed he had choked himself with a piece of meat.”

Samuel Harper, the second oldest son of Andrew and Maria, married Honorah Ryan and settled at Riddells Creek in Victoria. They had 15 children between 1866 and 1892.

Ryan Family

Honorah Ryan was the daughter of Patrick and Sarah Ryan (nee McInerney) from Limerick Ireland. We believe they travelled to Australia around 1852. Patrick’s death was reported in several newspapers including the Ballarat Times and  the Bendigo Advertiser.


“Dr. Glendinning held an inquest on Saturday, at Warrenheip, on the body of Patrick Ryan, who was found drowned in a quarry hole, near Warrenheip, on that day. It appeared that the deceased was about 55 years of age, was a blacksmith by trade, and had been for some years much addicted to drink. He was seen last alive on Sunday night, the 16th December. He accompanied his wife to near her home, but she was obliged to fly from him. as he had abused her and torn all her clothes. He was seen at an hotel at Warrenheip with his wife’s bonnet in his hand after she had parted from him, and, although drunk, he had some gin at the hotel. From his leaving the hotel nothing was heard of him until his body was seen floating in the quarry belonging to the railway works on Saturday morning. The quarry lay on the direct road from the hotel to his own house, and was about 66 feet in length and the same in breadth, and had about 6 feet of water in it. A post mortem examination was made, but no marks of violence were discovered on tho body of deceased. The various organs appeared to be in an ordinarily healthy state. The following was the verdict of the jury:-” That the deceased was drowned on the l6th December, by having accidentally fallen into a waterhole near Warrenheip, while returning to his home in a state of intoxication.” The jury further considered that the railway contractors should be required to fence round the said waterhole.-Ballarat Times.”

Sarah was 86 years of age when she died of “bronchitis and senility” in Winchelsea, Victoria.

Trew Family

Samuel Trew was born in Witham, Essex, England. It is unknown how he travelled to Australia but it is very likely that he sailed to Australia from Cork, Ireland with the 40th Regiment of Foot 2nd Somersetshire 1852. It is believed he was with George Trew who was most likely his cousin. In the 1841 census for Witham there are two George Trews, aged 8 and 9 and Samuel Trew aged 13 all living in different houses with different parents. In 1855 the Victorian police gazette reported George Trew as having deserted:

TREW, George Pte 2962 40th 22yrs, 5’7”, fair complexion, light hair, grey eyes; labourer; born Witham, Essex; deserted at Sandhurst on 10.12.1855.

Less than a week before that police report, Samuel Trew married Charlotte Moorse under a different name – William Taylor. On the marriage certificate he put his correct age (27) and he said his parents were William & Hannah Taylor. His parents were actually William & Hannah Trew. He also put his correct birthplace (Witham Essex) and occupation (brickmaker).

Charlotte Taylor/Trew died from ‘miscarriage and disease of the liver’ at the age of 35 at Harrow in Victoria. On the same death certificate is a ‘Taylor not named’ female 7 hours old with the cause of death being ‘premature birth no medical attendant at the time of death’. Charlotte’s profession was ‘Matron’.

When Samuel married his second wife Margaret Lough (nee Pye) in 1880, his ‘condition’ was stated as ‘widower’ and he used his correct name. His children, who had been born Taylors all changed their surnames to Trew.

Margaret Trew was 71 when she died from ‘senility and ulcers on legs’. There were several children listed from her first marriage. The informant was ‘Edward Trew stepson Warracknabeal’. Her parents were Robert Pye (cabinet maker) and Ann Pye (formerly McGregor).

Samuel was 75 when he died of chronic bronchitis and pneumonia on August 7 1903. His first wife (Charlotte Moorse) appears on the death certificate but second wife does not. There are marriage certificates for both marriages.

Bown Family

Samuel Bown was born in Bakewell, Derbyshire England in 1833. It is unknown exactly when he travelled to Australia but he appeared on the census in England in 1851 and there was a Samuel Bown on the passenger list for the ship ‘Dirigo’ which sailed from Liverpool on August 8 1854 and arrived in Adelaide on November 22 1854. The passenger list on The Ships List incorrectly lists him as Samuel Brown. This excerpt from The South Australian Register on November 23 1854 has him correctly listed as Samuel Bown.



Samuel married Catherine Long, who was born in Cork Ireland, on 9 Dec 1861 at the Streatham Hotel in Streatham Victoria. They had 9 children including twins Alice and Elizabeth between 1862 and 1878. Samuel was 51 years old when he drowned in a waterhole.

Catherine was 75 years of age when she died of ‘Senile Decay and Heart Failure’ on march 16 1912. According to the marriage certificate, her father was Denis Long (occupation – miller) and her mother was Honora (nee Callaghan). Samuel’s parents were Robert Bown (occupation – carpenter) and Ann (nee Bradbury).

The Bowns were well known around Warracknabeal for a number of reasons both good and bad. Robert Bown was convicted of manslaughter in 1881. After serving time for that crime he again fell foul of the law in 1886. He was again sent to prison and some time after his release he married Agnes Schiller and then moved to Western Australia. Robert died in 1928 aged 64.

Mary Ann Bown, wife of William Trew and known affectionately as ‘Gran’, was recognised as one of the pioneers of the wheat belt in the Wimmera district.

Ploughing, clearing and the slaughtering of a sheep was all part of a day’s work for ‘Gran’ in the olden days of which she loved to reminisce with her old friends.

Mary is remembered to this day for her great devotion to the Warracknabeal Football Club. Even when the club history was written in 1986, 34 years after her death, she was the only supporter singled out for particular comment. Mary followed the fortunes of the club from as early as the 1890’s, and many of her descendants – Trew, Bloomer, Jaensch and Hinch – became players.