Beveridge Family in Australia

I have a collection of letters and diaries that I have transcribed to include in this blog. I am sure you will find them interesting.

William Saunders Beveridge JP  was the first of my Beveridge ancestors to arrive in Australia. He was the son of Robert Ebenezer  Beveridge 1800-1884 and Isabella Thompson Saunders bn 1840, of Scotland. I don’t have any evidence that  Robert Ebenezer Beveridge ever came to Australia.

Copied from the hand of William Saunders Beveridge JP

Notes written on board the Ship “Northumberland” on her passage to Australia departed from Plymouth August 14
th 1852.

Having enjoyed ourselves for two days rambling on our native shores we entered within our wooden walls on the evening of the 13th and many a tear dropt as a goodbye was wafted to us, as the boats left on our ship’s side.
On the morning of Saturday the 14th.  Had the anchor weighed before many of the passengers were out of their berths, but there being no wind it was sometime e’er we got drifted out of the breakwater, when a slight breeze sprung up and pushed us into the ocean, the wind freshened towards evening when we had a heavy fall of rain, and the sea beginning to run high made us keep close to our cabins.
Sunday 15th. High wind and rain all day, everybody inclined to be seasick, I for one, have been unable to lift my head all day – are said to be 100 miles from Lands End.
Monday 16th.  Pushing along today with a side wind, and the sea is not high our vessel is tossing up and down very much and occasionally shipping a wave to no small annoyance of those that love to be on deck. Not a speck to be seen in any direction.
Tuesday 17th.  Passed a rough night, but very calm today, slight wind and moving very slow, getting rid of our sickness, but obliged to hold by the ropes, as we have not used to the motion of the vessel, some passengers very sick yet.
Wednesday 18th.  Had a wet night but been a fine morning with a favourable wind, hoisted two flying Studsails and are cutting along about 9 knots, we see some beautiful porpoises and dolphins dashing from under our bows.
Thursday 19th.  A beautiful day with a light wind, we are now nearing the Bay of Biscay and the waves come now with a pretty large swell, we are keeping well out of the ocean, and steering nearly south-west.
Friday 20th.  Showery, not running above five knots an hour, the wind getting round astern, having hoisted another stud sail, beginning now to spend our evening, boxing, dancing, card playing etc. etc.
Saturday 21st.  Was early up this morning and had a good deal of reading e’er the others were out of their bunks, two us went up the mast to the cross trees, where we enjoyed our books in quietness, it is a capital place to sit and read and look down on the busy hum below, and the dark blue sea without a speck in any direction. – making eight knots.
Sunday 22rd.  Had an English Service performed today on the Quarterdeck at half past 10 the Captain & Doctor officiating. – Passed a vessel homeward bound but as we were going very fast had only time to exchange names, where bound for, alls well, etc. with signal flags.
Monday 23rd.  Running along smoothly to day, the sun now begins to feel warmer, everything has been confusion, passengers getting luggage out of the hold. What a splendid night, the moon shining full and clear through the flapping sails and breaking here and there on the deck. I gazed and lingered long on the deck tonight for my thoughts were full of home. “And while I gazed I felt a tear,”  “With——-rapture start,”  “But hope sweet quickener of the pulse,”  Played round my beating heart.”
Tuesday 24th.  Pushing along to day with a fair wind, will soon be in the Latitude of Madeira. I have been cook to day, so I have been flying about and notwithstanding the pitching of the ship, can carry pots very steadily.
Wednesday 25th.  Fair wind, saw two fine Bottlenose whales this afternoon, can’t enjoy the moon to-night for I have promised to make one at whist. Saw Madeira with the glass this evening before we went below.
Thursday 26th.  Lat. 26-21 N. Long 21-53  been engrossed with a novel all day with whist at 1/- a rub in the evening, such is the way we kill the weary hours.
Friday 27th.  The smoke of a Steamer seen on our lee and supposed to be an American packet, we are getting splendid weather.
Saturday 28th.  Stout breeze and we are dashing along. Two flying fish fell on deck this morning, they are like small trout with large fins.
Sunday 29th.  Had a beautiful day with a good wind. Prayers read by the Captain & Doctor on the Quarter deck at half past 10am. A sail seen this afternoon, she appears to be outward bound, and we are making on her we run 211 miles the last 24 hours. Lat. 20.8 -W Long 24.50.
Monday 30th.  Was up at daylight this morning and had a fine douche  bath under the pump on the bows of the vessel, the wind is rather getting round a head of us, but we are still running on pretty well.
Tuesday 31st.  N.Lat. 17-35 W.Long. 25-6. Wind pretty favourable, but very unsteady, seen a good many birds to day, very calm to night.
Wednesday 1st September.  We had a beautiful morning and the sun burning hot, when all at once the sky got cloudy and for two hours it rained in torrents, after which it has again got hot and calm. We are now scarcely moved and have had some ado trying to catch Shark, he was twice hooked but managed to break off, he seems to know that we had a death on board this morning, a child 3 days old.
Thursday 2rd.  Very calm, a sail in eight this afternoon has set everyone to letter writing, and every one is taking elbow room to send home intelligence of our hitherto prosperous voyage. Lat 13-5 Long 25-20. She turns out to be a Frenchman, from California to Bordeaux. Nearly every passenger has written so we have given them a good sized bag of letters.
Friday 3rd.  Very calm and hot, still baiting the shark, but cant make out to catch him, for he is too cunning for us.
Saturday 4th.  Still calm, not moving more than 1 knot an hour, the child that died on Wednesday was committed to the waves at an early hour this morning, the shark has left us. A meeting held to night in our cabin of the second class passengers, to lay before the Captain a complaint of his want of attention to us in regard to Stewards etc. etc.
Sunday 5th.  Rain, with a strong head wind. No service performed this forenoon on account of the wet, but a shame to us cabin passengers, for the steerage passengers met in the evening and read Prayers among themselves, I was the only one of our class who joined them and was pleased with the manner in which they were conducted.
Monday 6th.  N.Lat 8-45. W Long 23-18. Distance 128 miles. Course wet day and the wind still unfavourable, which makes the vessel roll about a good deal.
Tuesday 7th.  N.Lat. 6-43. W.Long. 21-47. Strong head wind. Passed a large vessel this forenoon, which we lost sight of during a heavy fall of rain, which continued till night, we enjoy fresh water, so we all caught as much as we could.
Wednesday 8th.  N.Lat. 5-47 W.long 18-48 Distance 82 miles nothing worthy of note.
Thursday 9th.  Very calm N. Lat. 5 W.Long 18- 28 Distance 84 miles. We were obliged for the first time to make a tack from the S.East to S.West on account of the head wind. Four vessels seen to day, we have left three of them behind.
Friday 10th.  N.Lat 4-31 W.Long 18-31. Still calm and distance only 31 miles, saw some large black fish while getting a shower bath this morning. A heavy fall of rain this afternoon without wind, the four vessels still in sight.
Saturday 11th.  N.Lat. 3-57 W.Long 17-38 dist. 63 miles. A beautiful day with plenty of wind, passed a vessel that left London 14 days before us which makes us think more of our old tub of a ship.
Sunday 12th.  A very pleasant mild day Prayers on the Quarterdeck at half past 10am and the steerage in the evening at 7 o’clock pm. Had reading during the day with Wilson & Smith through Proverbs, Roman, Ephesians & Galatians, and I think we all derived benefit by it.
Monday 13th.  Running along with a fair wind and expect to cross the line to night, N.Lat. 0-49 W.Long 20-57, we are just 49 miles from it at 12 o’clock noon. Immediately as it got dark in the evening, Neptune’s Secretary came on board. He was one of the sailors dressed up and hid among the ropes outside, when all was ready the watch at the bows shouted out “Ship Ahoy”. Which was answered in a hoarse voice as if it came a short way off in the water, with “What ship is that, where from and where to”. Our mate answering as if it was in reality a vessel bearing down on us, of course everyone came rushing up on deck, some thinking we had been run foul by another vessel, than a barrel of tar and straw set fire to was dropt from a window in the fore castle. Same time two rocket lights were stuck in the rigging one fore and one aft so the ship was all in a glare, then the Secretary of Neptune leapt on board, and bauld out for the Captain. And after some sort of speech about lighting our ship across his territory, and that his master would be on board tomorrow he left letters and disappeared.
Tuesday 14th.  This much dreaded day has at last arrived, the sailors have got a holiday and they have been busy all morning preparing for the feat, a large sail has been hung amidships by the corners is filled with water, we all put on old clothes and waited the commencement of the ceremony, and getting our fines 2/6 each paid as Neptune demanded in his last nights letters. Altogether we have collected 10 Pounds 6/-, which the sailors will just drink when they get to Port Phillip.  Now comes Neptune and his wife drawn in a fine carriage and escorted by a band of darkies as black as soot can make them with two violins a banjo, an accordion a drum, a tambourine and a  triangle followed by two barbers, one with large wooden scissors and a comb, the other with two hoop iron razors and a lather pitcher, next a white bear and keeper Apothecary, constables etc. etc. in attendance. The carriage stopt at the foot of the Poop stairs which Neptune ascended and after delivering a lengthened speech, about being on the sea for about 2000 years but owing to the immense number of ships now crossing (his territory) the Line it would be out of his power to shave or curl the hair of every one on board, but still those recruits to a sea faring life must undergo the operation which they would now proceed to do. So he drove again up to the sail, and took a seat on the edge of it telling his barbers to do their duty, bear first plunged into the water and seemed to enjoy himself swimming about; when a culprit was walked up and made to sit with his back to sail, when his face was soaped in style, with a horrid paste made of flour and grease and tar, which after being scraped with the hoop razor, he was caught by the heels and plunged head foremost into the water where he was seized by the bear and put over head again and again till he was out of breath and nearly drowned for there would be eight feet of water in the sail. After six or eight were done in like manner, there began a general throwing about of water, passengers as well as sailors, and throwing each other into the sail, and after being in it was no easy matter getting out again. So after all the unlucky weights had got half a drowning, Neptune called to order, said he would hold a Serenade Concert in the afternoon, entered his carriage and drove off to dinner; and really we had a capital afternoon of music, singing and dancing, which was kept up till dark. After which a donkey was made up with a man inside with creels on his back, with apples and potatoes in them a few of which were sold at an exorbitant price, by the ragged donkey driver, then there was a row and donkey and creel rolled in the mud, sometime Neptune bade us good bye, and thus ended the days sport, which passed off better than any one expected, every one being highly delighted, and day was very favourable. S.Lat 1-6 W.Long 22-16. Dist. Run 139 miles.
Wednesday 15th.  Getting along rather faster today, but we were passed by a fine French vessel the “Comet” From Bordeaux bound for Calcutta. She came pretty close so we exchanged signals, she is a new vessel and really she gave us the go-bye in fine style, she is now two or three miles ahead which makes us rather downcast tho, she is the first that has done so. S.Lat. 3-21. W.Long. 23-40. Distance 158 miles.
Thursday 16th.  The Frenchman is out of sight this morning, the sea is running pretty high, and we are dashing along about 8 knots an hour. S.Lat. 6-5 W.Long 25-13.  Dist. 172 miles. Steering a southwest direction.
Friday 17th.  S.Lat. 8-5. W.Long 27-1 Dist. 177 miles, Fresh breeze and with every sail full, “Fierce bounding forward, springs the ship,” “Like greyhound starting from the slip.”
W S Beveridge

Margaret Rowe in Hamilton holds a copy of the original hand written  document.  She has kindly given me a copy. Unfortunately we only have the first month of the diary, but this gives us an idea of life on board a sailing ship in the 1850’s. 
The Descendants of William Saunders BeveridgeJP


Letter written by W S Beveridge JP
Little River, Victoria.      5th October, 1858.
Eight years after he arrived in Australia.

My dear Father,
I have now returned from my up country trip, having concluded the sale of the sheep entirely to Messrs. Kaye & Butchards satisfaction. I have been away ten weeks and of course on my return here, I expected to have found a number of home letters awaiting one (two mails having arrived during my absence) and you may guess my wonder and mortification when I found there were none.
I was wanted to go back to purchase more stock but as there is a mail daily expected I thought I would just come home and take a fortnights rest, and get the latest home news.
Mr Prentice having also returned to this country, we expect a visit from him in a few days, and Mr McManus tells me he was at Urquhart, where he was highly delighted, and had lots of news to give me. I have also now made up my mind that instead of roving so much about the country, to get a place of my own take up a wife, and settle down, off course I must consult you on that most important subject and now ask your consent without which I could not enjoy the same happiness, and I therefore introduce to you my Jessie McLean a farmers daughter near Geelong who has been like a sister to me ever since I came to live at the Little River and I believe we both unintentionally formed an attachment for each other, and I may say that we have been so much together that I have had a long trail of her qualities, perhaps you will say love is blind, but neither of us have been so much drawn together by levity or childishness, as by quiet and rational conversation, and in fact, Jessie McLean is looked up to as the most active and amicable girl in the district. On return from my long trip she was again paying a visit to Mrs McManus here and was ready to sooth me for want of home letters and had been taking a sisterly care of my things in my absence. Of course my affection was nothing blighted and I asked her to share my poverty, which she at last promised to do, provided I have your consent, which I trust you will give and with the blessing of God I hope that it will prove to be my ultimate prosperity. I fancy if I had married two or three years ago I might have been a more independent man now.
October 12th. The mail has arrived and I am in receipt of your letter of the 28th July. I am extremely sorry to here from James’ letter of 10th July that came by the same mail, that you had been so unwell, but I hope by this time you are again feel yourself quite strong and that you wont want my assistance for a few more years for you know I could not bear the idea of returning home without a shilling in my pocket, or do anything but what is honorable to the young lady I have mentioned above.
Still I would do a great deal, in fact everything in my power to please or serve you and I hope when I get a happy thrifty wife I will be able to lay past some money. You say that I write with too much reserve, surely some of my letters did not reach home. I thought you all knew that I left Ballarat in debt but of course I was nothing downhearted though some of my most intimate friends turned their backs, Sandy Wilson among them rest whom I always looked upon as a brother and would have divided my last shilling with, such is human nature, but I got a good lesson and I will profit by it through life.
Mr McManus was the only man who received me with open arms and seemed to know that I was honest tho unfortunate. I set to work and am again getting my head above board. Of course Wilson and the others wish to cringe towards me again, but I treat them all with indifference.
Mr McManus wishes me to join him in the purchase of a Station on the Avoca. Kaye & Butchard I daresay would advance me a few hundred pounds, they are very wealthy men and I know that I am to be trusted. If I had a lend from you I think I could return it with interest in two years. I see by to-days papers that the Mail Ship goes off again tomorrow, so I have hardly time to aswer my sisters letters but will do so in course of next week, for I see that the ‘Blackwall’ sails on the 20th and ‘Donald McKay’ on the 30th of this month and letters by them are perhaps as safe as on the lazy ship ‘Victoria’ which sails tomorrow.
Mr Prentice was here yesterday he says Urquhart is the finest farm he ever saw, and he is highly delighted with the reception and kindness he received.
Wishing you a renewal of health and that you may be able to continue to govern for number of years yet to come is the prayer of
Your Affectionate Son,
Wm Beveridge.

Letter from W.S.Beveridge JP to his sister:
Moyong  10th. Dec. 1858

My dear Jeanie,
I received yours, Isabellas and Janet’s letters of the 7th. Sept. last week.  I suppose by the  time this reaches you Janet will have walked off to her own house, she kept me long in the dark, and of course I am too late with my compliments and well wishes, but I have no doubt she had enough of them, and I forget where I have read that too much wishing the fair bride happiness and joy only added fuel to her tears, for on that day she was to leave forever her loved home and her fathers doting care and to trust as it were her frail bark on the ocean of the world and should the pilot prove faithless to his trust and wreck the frail back her once buoyant and cheerful heart would be broken and irrecoverably lost. I think highly of John Blackadder and I would only be rejoiced to see Isabella and you as happily settled.
You will receive a package by the same mail as this letter the original of which if you promise to love her, I hope will compensate you for the want of Janet.  We mean to make it up sometime about next May, but I can assure you Jeanie that her (Jessie) qualities surpass her charm and she is the only person that ever I liked as well as my sisters. Mr Nimmo a stirling man is also talking about going home this Mail, he was a beau of Jessie’s and will tell you something of her. I at one time thought he was before me but I beat them all off.
Mr Nimmo has a fine property here worth 20,000 pounds.  He has promised to call at Urquhart and I hope you make him welcome.  When I shall  be able to come home on a visit on strength of that.  What do you think of coming out to see me .I don’t think you would fancy me bringing a wife home but married I mean to be e’er many months are gone come what likes. You ask me to give you a particular account of what I am about but that is no easy matter as I fly about so much, I fancy you received all my letters about my last tour up the country, and I am just waiting on here a few days thinking whether or not I should take a run up to Sydney for Kay & Butchart to purchase sheep for them.  I guess you would travel too, if you received a pound a day and all your expenses.
With love to all I am Willie

 Letter from W S Beveridge JP to his sister Janet:
Benalla 22nd.  April 1864

My dear Janet,
Isabella’s letter to Jessie was all we received last mail and as she seems to answer that herself I think it must be my turn to write to you.  I had intended starting this morning for the Jamieson & Woods Point and meant to have written you from there tomorrow, but this has turned out sushi a wet day that Jessie has prevailed on me to stay at fire side and spend another day with her and the boys, and having been so much away lately it does not take much persuasion to keep me another day at my happy home here.  The time is 11.30 am.  Maggie is at her crochet and singing the ‘Bonnie Hills O’Scotland’ with the children playing horses on the Verandah, Jessie is by my side talking of our plans for the future.
A party of us are riding to the diggings together I intend staying a night at Barjarg on my way up, give in my registration there, and e’er I return from the Quartz Reefing district will either make up my mind to go up there to stay altogether, or take a place here in Benalla in conjunction with a house I am already connected with up there.  I have also an interest in a reef which is said to be rich and I want see it and judge for myself wither it is worth keeping on or not.
I was at Woods Point a month ago with a lot of sheep from Barjarg (and therefore I missed writing last mail).  What a rough country it is to take stock through, with rocks and scrub and precipitous banks, the tracts along some of the sidlings of the mountains are so narrow at places that one horseman can’t pass another, and when you here the bells of a team of packhorses coming you must look out for a wide place to stand till they file past.  There are something like 600 horses employed in that trade packing from Jamieson into the diggings a distance of 40 miles, the road in from the Melbourne side has also to be packed over for about the same distance, but I daresay e’er long roads will be surveyed and hills cut down.
23rd. Maggie speaks of paying a visit to Geelong taking Robert with her, he is growing a big fellow quite inseparable from his Aunt, Willie is more like boy and a will little racket caring for nobody.  I should like to send you ‘Cartes de Visite’ but there is no artist in Benalla and no travelling one has called lately.  We were quite delighted with papers received mail before last.  Our papers are very little worth here otherwise I might send them oftener.
Give my kind regards to John I must endeavour to send him a long letter next mail.  I was called away yesterday in the middle of this letter and have been obliged to finish it up hurriedly this morning.  Jessie or Maggie may add something before the mail closes and
I am Yours Affectionately,
W S Beveridge

Tottington 21st. August 1867.

My Dear Father,
I received no letters this mail, but previous one I think I got one from Jeanie and Isabella, and papers from John Blackadder.  I intended writing you a long letter this mail but really I am so much taken up with one thing and another that I sometimes forget till the last few days. This season as I anticipated I have had a splendid lambing and last week just finished earmarking the increase amounting to 11,500.  I think I told you I put 12,000 ewes to the ram and expected 10,000 lambs so you see I have exceeded that by 1500, I therefore expect this year to shear about 50,000 sheep.  We begin in about a month and I am at present busy getting the shed and sheepwash put on right having a number of men employed at both, and like to be at every place myself and have everything done as I want by the way of improvements, and according to my own plans, so my hands are, or I should rather say my head is at present pretty full, this is also my yearly balance month.  Making up the profit and loss of the year, to show where the expenditure has gone to,  Wither Wages, Improvements, Stores, Rates or other expenses.  Of course I keep a regular set of books by double entry which makes a good deal of writing, every sum I receive or pay away either by cheque or otherwise, I have therefore to enter at least four times, to Dr & Cr of Journal, and from thence to ledger and Cash Book.
I also send a copy of my Journal to town every month, as a check upon the cheques I draw.  I have a great deal to thank you for being so quick and correct at accounts and books. The Messers Rostrouse never kept any books and they never knew how they stood, therefore the Station dwindled into the hands of Agents, Grice Sumner & CO.  I don’t know when Mr Benn of their firm will be able to call upon you.  I should have written him this mail but I have not time to do him justice as I must give him a long business letter and as he told me would be very busy the first months after he landed he will have other things to think about.
I was thinking about sending you home a large specimen or Nugget, vis. a lump of quartz about a cwt. stuck full of particles of gold, calculated at 30 pounds worth. It is found near the surface at St Arnaud Reefs, on the northern boundary of the run.  I will send it to town with the wool drays, and G.S.&Co. can forward it to their London Firm but that will be two months yet.
Jessie and the boys are as usual in excellent health and happiness, she talks of paying a visit to the old folks this summer, I want them all to clear out of my way for two months during the bustle of shearing.
William Lewis passed this way last week on his way up to Aitkin, he left word that he would like to meet me at Navarre next Thursday on his way down.  I have not met Wilson for the past six months, he has less to do than I have therefore looked for a visit from him for some time.  David Kirk is doing well in Smythesdale near Ballarat, manager of a Mining Co.
Yours Affectionately,
W S Beveridge

An account of the death of Andrew Beveridge. (no relation)
Twenty-two years after Hume and Hovell had found the Murray River, Andrew Beveridge and his three brothers pushed their way with a mob of cattle through the no-man’s country that stretched beyond the first settlement of Swan Hill.  Here there were nomad bands of war-like and treacherous aborigines, who harassed their herds.  Their trail was marked by an unending line of beasts killed by native spears.  The white men’s days were filled with the terrific labour of overlanding through virgin country, their nights long-drawn agonies of suspense.  Yet they pushed on, eventually to build their huts at a place they named  ‘Tyntynder’.
For months the natives carried on their war of attrition against the intruders herds.  Their taboos, however, held them back from forthright attack upon the white men.  Soon the losses of cattle, by theft and spear, menaced the success of the Beveridges’ enterprise, but they fought on.
There came an end to these tensions, however, but peace had its blood price.  Andrew Beveridge, while on the trail of straying stock, was attacked, and murdered brutally.  There were punitive expeditions sent against the natives, and two were identified as the murderers and captured.  They were hanged in a Melbourne gaol.

This was no isolated adventure.  The same story was being written with even deeper and darker variations wherever men pushed out into the wastes of the new land.  It was the price of conquest.
Today ‘Tyntynder’ is but a shadow of its former greatness.  Once a run of 300,000 acres, it has been whittled down by the demands of settlements to little more than a homestead holding.  The Murray pine home of the Beveridges still stands, and near by is a grave, whose tombstone bears a description, which reads in part . . .

“Andrew Beveridge,  MA,  from Woodburn, Kilmore . . . possessing mind enlightened and judgement mature beyond most of his years, and a heart softened and sanctified by a mellowing and gladdening influence of grace divine.     Aged 24 years.”

Both tombstone and homestead tell something of the Murray River’s history.  ”Tyntynder itself reduced from its lordly estate seems to foreshadow the fate of many of the large station holdings along the Murray.  As the tide of settlement grew, as the Murray became more and more harnessed to men’s needs, as intense production by irrigation took the place of less economic grazing, great stretches of country were converted from pastures to cultivation.

W.S.Beveridge JP,.his wife Jessie and family. Glenelg, circa 1890
W.S.Beveridge JP,.his wife Jessie and family. Glenelg, circa 1890

My Grandfather- William Saunders Beveridge 1870-1926 (son of William Saunders Beveridge JP  bn. 1830. and Jessie McLean bn.1837) , had two sons, my Father Athol, 1907- 1985 and his elder brother Roy. 1905- 1938. They had property in the western district of Victoria at Dunkeld, along with other Beveridge families who had, and still have holdings in the area. They sold up and bought a sheep station just out of Echuca on the banks of the Campaspe River around 1924.

The property was called ‘Cromdale’ and had a large shearing shed, which was used  shearing sheep for several of the neighboring  properties.  My father was the wool classer. ‘Cromdale’ was also grew wheat.
The stock from the Dunkeld property were walked to ‘Cromdale’, Roy and Athol being among the drovers . A day or so after they arrived with the sheep, the gate to the horse paddock was left open, the horses escaped, and Athol being the youngest, about 17 was sent off to find the them. He followed the stock route back towards Dunkeld travelling the best way he could and asking as he went, if any one had seen the horses. He was able to track them down after several days and bring back home back to ‘Cromdale’. The Beveridge boys were well known in Echuca. They were one of a small group of young men who owned a motor vehicle and were popular picking up their girl friends, and taking them to the local dances in the well loaded car.
I have a bundle of 18 letters written by Athol to Bonnie Burgess, who he  married in 1939. The first few letters  Bonnie is living in her family home in Francis Street, Echuca. I will transcribe a few of them. Some are very personal. I have selected letters which has some family history and of the activities on ‘Cromdale’, and ‘Sierra Park’ where my father classed the wool clip.

Bonnie and Athol in Melbourne in 1934.

Hotel Federal,
Collins St.
8th Oct.1934 12 o’clock.
Bonnie Darling,
This seems to be the first chance I have had of writing to you at this hour and in bed as I am. Roy and I have been out seeing friends and relations to-day and haven’t been back very long. We had a good trip down (from Cromdale) on Friday arrived here about 4 o’clock. We went to a show at the Plaza that night “Bottoms Up”, It wasn’t bad, what I saw of it, as I felt tired and sleepy.
On Saturday morning we went out to the woolstores and had a look through our wool clip etc. One of the heads there, congratulated me on my classing and gave me a great rap  –  they say he never sings any ones praises;  but this will not interest you very much. On Saturday afternoon we went out to a football match, South Melbourne vs Geelong final.
Now darling I have more or less a confession to make  –  On Saturday night I intended to go and see a cobber of mine but at the last minute Norman and Roy informed me that had arranged a picture party so I had to go, now don’t think I have had a night out with a girl, because I  haven’t. We just went along to the pictures, and some supper and came home  –  I am not taking the liberty of saying you care Bonnie darling, but at the same time I must confess I feel terribly jealous if you had to tell me the same thing. Norm is behaving very well so far, we haven’t had too many pots yet.
I will probably go to Dunkeld on Wednesday, perhaps Tuesday for a few days with my Aunty. The address c/- Miss M Spears,
Dunkeld. I am very disappointed you could not get down on this trip but better luck next time. I would give anything to have you here.
Well I think I will have to turn this light off and try to sleep.
Goodnight sweetheart,   Athol,    xxxxxx


12 Oct, 1934.
My Dearest Bonnie,
I was thrilled to get your letter yesterday, it was wonderful to hear something of you once more after all these days.
You  may be surprised to hear I did not arrive until yesterday. I was already to go on Wednesday and when I went up to see about my seat in the service car I found it was not going to be very comfortable so I decided to leave it until the early car next morning, as it is, I am very tired today, but feeling quite well. We rang ‘Cromdale’ last night. I am going to settle down to a nice quiet time for the next day or two and settle down to work on Monday.
Mr Crawford called to see me yesterday and is going to pick me up on Sunday afternoon, by the way my address is c/- “Sierra Park” Victoria Park PO.
I believe Roy didn’t get to the party on Wednesday.  It would have been quite nice.
Bonnie darling I read your letter over and over again  –  I could find lots of answers for the nice things  –  but there was one little paragraph which knocked me in a heap, of course I have been more or less been expecting this for some time, but I seemed to think it wasn’t going to come now my dear little sweetheart.  I would not like your Father to think I was influencing you too much as to what you should do. But you know how I feel and how I will miss you. Things always come out at the wrong time to make things harder, but I suppose we have a bit of time yet, however let me know how things are going and Bonnie dearest I will be just living for every letter you can spare me.
Well I will have to write a few lines home and haven’t much time so will have to get a move on.
With every bit of my best love,   Athol xxxxx

18th Oct. 1934
My Dear Bonnie,
You don’t know how pleased I was to get your letters tonight, strange to say the last two of them came together.
Darling I was beginning to think the game was up but I am too happy now to say anything.
I just had a ring from ‘Sierra Park’ they are calling for me in a few minutes so I am all in a flurry at the moment, as a matter of fact the car is here now, so I will write you a long letter during the week end. It is almost certain that I will not be back for the show. I got you a little present in Melb. and told them to send it to you. Hope you received it in good time. Well my precious darling I really have to go. With best wishes and Congratulations on your big Birthday, and only wish I could be with you.  All my love and kisses, your loving sweetheart,   Athol   xxxxxxx  (This would have mothers 21st birthday)

‘Sierra Park’
27th Oct,34
My dear Bonnie
I have just received another of your marvelous letters. You are a perfect darling staying in so much. Although I did feel jealous when I heard someone else had walked home with you, but darling I would trust you more than anybody else I know. What a loverly lot of presents you have got. I must see them all one day. I was tickled about the pyjamas.  It reminded me about a little joke you once told concerning such garments. Tell me darling, what do call special occasions? This will be last letter before you go to Melbourne, so I hope  you will tell me your new address there. Well dearest it is time for me to go so I will have to stop.  With all my love and kisses,
Yours for ever   Athol  xxxxxx

The next mail was addressed to,  Women’s Hospital,  Grattan Street Carlton, Melbourne.

5th Dec 1934
My Darling  Bonnie,
Well Darling I was very glad to hear you are still keeping up or perhaps I should say were, but I guess the worst is over by this time, darling I have been thinking more of you the last two days than you could imagine – thinking and wondering how you are getting along at the hospital, so I am more than anxious for your next letter to arrive. But I suppose I cannot expect you to tell me much in a few days.
Well ‘Cromdale’ is a very busy place at the moment. We have quite a few men on and there seems to be every thing to do at the one time. The harvest is also about to commence. The grasshoppers are here in earnest now, at times they just look like a dust storm or smoke from a bushfire, so that amongst other things does not help to keep one cheerful.

Ted came out on Sunday and stayed for tea. So we had a great old chat about the mad things we used to do years ago. He and his two brothers went down to Melbourne and back on Monday. We are talking about getting a Glider between us, they have to be flown solo, so I am wondering what I would be like in the air on my own. What do you think honey?
I took Mother and Aunt into Echuca yesterday to go visiting and needless to say it was a slow afternoon for me. I suppose you feel very tired at night after all day on your feet.
Well love I must go now, hope you are quite well.

All my love and kisses,  Athol xxxxx

Sunday  ?? Jan. 1938
My darling Bon,
Was very glad to get your letters on Friday and Saturday.  Dear I’m afraid I was a bit mean with one letter last week, but I am back in my stride again now.
Well darling I am so sorry that that place has turned out so rotten for you  –  darling when you hate it so much why go there. Couldn’t you do something else ? What about Echuca?  Or how would it compare with the Women’s. It would be lovely to have you up here, however dear you say you are going do your best to stick it out so I hope it will improve. I will  be looking forward to every letter to see how you are going.
I have not been out fencing since I returned home. I have quite a few gates to make so I will be on that job for a while.
Mother is still in Portland, She says I will probably have to go for her about the end of February or sooner. Was in Echuca for a little while on friday morning and saw Jack Lee in Burgess Bros.,  just returned from Methoura.
I know you get a bit anxious and do a lot of thinking of it all, but darling we are not so very far away from that perfect happiness which we are living for, Well sweet dreams and good luck.
I am yours only and always, Athol  xxxx

5th Feb 1938
Well sweetheart I suppose you are feeling just as lonely as I am tonight. It is about 9:15pm now and I have just come in from having a yarn with Wally in the kitchen, of course all the other folk of the house have gone out for their Saturday night pleasure. Darling I am terribly lonely these days and am certainly worse since your trip home this time, more than I have ever been before. I don’t know what we’ll do if we ever have to part again after your six months is up.
Well dear there is nothing fresh in the last few days, only a cool change after a couple of hot days, one being 104deg F. We had 60 pts. of rain yesterday  –  will keep up the water supply and make a green shoot for a while.
Darling if I thought I was doing the right thing I would get out of this place tomorrow but I have thought about the q
uestion enough to know that we would be worse of to do it just now  –  of course we’ve had the usual luck to strike it tough this year  –  what a different outlook it would have been
now, if things had been anyway decent  ( I could have even paid some income tax)  Or at least I could have had an income.
This week we going to try and put up a time record with the tractor. A paddock of 100 acres has to be scarified, rolled and harrowed and we are having a shot at doing it in week. Roy, Wally and myself will work three eight hour shifts a day, so you see dear it will be a nonstop run until the job is finished. My part of the shift will probably be the first part of the night.
We are progressing slowly with the fencing, but of course all these thing cannot be done at once, there is no doubt about this place for work if you life to do it.
Was sorry to hear of Margaret Lee being so sick and hope she is on the improve.
Well this has been a slow old letter but I am sure you never expect much news from me. I love you my future darling wife.
I am yours only and always,  Athol, xxxx

23 Feb 1938
My darling Bonnie,
It has been a little cooler the last couple of days, which has freshened us up a little, it is even trying to rain tonight but I don’t fancy then prospects much and its a bit early yet, although it would be marvellous to get 2ins. now and some more later. Wouldn’t I smile if the season started  off like that.
Well darling how are you getting along this week?  –   feeling better than last I hope. Mother was still in  Portland the last we heard but I think she will be going to Dunkeld very shortly. Don’t forget to let me know if there are any changes to your day off, because I may have to go to Dunkeld first, but not if I can manage the other way. Had a ring from Jack Downing last night, he is up on holidays until the weekend after next. He asked me to go in last night, which I did. We had a couple of pots and listened to the big fight  –  Leto and Carrol, it was quite good to listen to and was witnessed by 16,000 people at the Exhibition.  (Perhaps you were there dear  –  Ha Ha). Mr Dowling then opened a bottle of beer and after a talk I went home about 12,
We have a very big job on at present and most unexpected – we have suspicions of Black disease in our sheep, there is quite a lot about and we have had a few losses. Every sheep has to have an injection of a specially prepared vaccine and we still have about 2000 to do and you can imagine what a contract that is. I am very tired now so will finish this tomorrow, Goodnight sweetheart xxxx
Thursday evening.
Roy is going in tonight so I must hurry.  Gladys drove into town this afternoon so this evening I was greeted with your sweet letter. Would have got it on Wednesday but no one was in town.
We have been going flat out on the sheep job again and only have 200 left to do, so you can see we have been moving some.
Will have to finish now darling – will answer all your questions in my next letter. Sorry I caused you that little worry but you are my future wife you know.
With all my love and kisses darling,
             I am yours only and forever, Athol  xxxxx

26 Feb 1938
My darling Bonnie,
Well dear you know exactly what I am doing tonight because I am here writing to you and it Saturday night and a very quiet on too all the others being out  –  darling its terrible to be almost alone in the world.  Here is some news.  Gladys (the cook/house keeper) saw a snake in the kitchen the other day, she went out for a couple of minutes and when she came in again it was lying on the hearth near the stove – she watched it for a few seconds and went out to call Wally who happened to be down here from the wool shed but when they came in again it had disappeared – it probably came up between the boards and the hearth and went back down the same way. We have finished our Job of vaccinating the sheep and I have become quite expert with the needle. Also had a few postmortems which will proved very valuable for the future.
Gladys is staying in town tonight so I will probably be first up to light the fire , that’s the worst of an early night on Saturdays.
Sunday afternoon  –  Received your little letter this morning. Thank you dear. Today’s joke is that Roy and Wally were caught at the Commercial Hotel at about 9 o,clock – they were in the bar parlour when the Police knocked the door, they made a dive through the office to get out the backway only to be met by another Policeman who politely told them to walk back in again and took their names etc. so I suppose they are well gone. I think I am lucky not being there with them especially after last Saturday night being there for two hours. However its a lesson. We have been lucky for a long time, although I think our little corner in the dining room  is pretty safe place,
Loving you more than ever, Athol  xxxxx

Thurs  ???
My Darling Bonnie,
Received your sweet letter this morning dear. I really should have had it last night I was ‘out’ till 2am this morning. Naughty boy aren’t I for keeping such late hour’s but its this way dear  – I took over the tractor at 6pm an drove solidly until 2am this morning. Wally was to relieve me at 12 but over slept. The night work is pleasant enough, but I can think of better ways of spending the first five hours of the night. I will have a slow day today in preparation for another night shift……
16th Feb ’38
Dear Bon,
I am not feeling particularly bright tonight, I have an abscess or a gumboil or something on my upper gums, its not sore but at the same time not very comfortable.  It has been fairly warm today and we finished another 30 chains of new fencing; half a mile in the next issue. Haven’t heard much of Roy’s party, only that it was given by  Mrs Morrison………… Mother is still laid up but is improving slowly I think………….
Went to MacFarlane’s on Sunday Night and finally closed for 1600 of the sheep I looked at last Saturday. Hope they turn out alright as I am responsible.

A load of wool leaving ‘Cromdale’

When their father died in 1926 Roy and  Athol were  young men aged 21 and 19 years old. They carried on and managed the property until, Roy aged 33 died, in 1938. With droughts, the great depression and debt and loss of his brother Roy, “Cromdale” was sold, but my father continued wool classing in N S W and Victoria until he took up a position in Tasmania managing the property “Armitstead”. Athol married Lottie Eileen (Bonnie) Burgess 1913-2003. There are 39 descendants from this issue, living between north Queensland and Tasmania.

William Saunders Beveridge. June 3rd. 1913 New Elected Member for Portland
William Saunders Beveridge  1870-1926.  Newly Elected Member for Portland. June 13. And his 2 sons.
Roy and Athol, Dunkeld 1918
Roy and Athol, Dunkeld 1918


Shearing at ‘Cromdale’
Being more or less a stranger
Walking up and down the street
I received an inspiration,
While being on the beat;
So I’d better tell the story,
How I rambled to and fro,
And how I met those shearers
All shearing in a row.
Now two gentlemen were talking,
On a corner in the town
And I heard their conversation,
As I wandered up and down.
So at last I got ‘darn’d’ cheeky,
And butted in the frame,
To hear the latest highlights,
In the good old shearing game,
Seems they got me—and inspired me
‘Til at last I had to go,
To see those ‘Cromdale’ shearers,
All shearing in a row.
There were Eveston and Halligan,
Both racing for the lead,
While Knight and old Jack Hutchins,
Were clapping on the speed;
And another ‘gun’, named Boucher,
Was fighting hard to win,
And take the cherished title
Back far Deniliquin:
Seems they’re shearing for the honor,
Being set in earnest race
To be the ‘Cromdale’ ringer,
And hold the pride of place
While wishing them good fortune,
A tribute I must pay,
To those sterling Beveridge brothers,
Should I ever go their way.
And while there’s crayfish in the Murray,
And there’s nice girls in the town,
I’d always be contented
To be wandering up and down.


‘Effie’ was the Daughter of Mary Isabella Beveridge and Dugald McArthur, she died aged 99

More about William Saunders Beveridge  1830 – 1921

William S Beveridge arrived in Australia in 1852 on the  “Northumberland”.  After being a property manager and mine manager he went to Victoria Valley to manage a property, and in 1877 he selected land and set a farm  at “Beverley” , Mirranatwa.
His wife had died a young women at 37 years, after 13 years of marriage, leaving a family of five boys and one daughter (Effie  McArthur’s  mother). Some of the family were brought up by relatives. While in the district , W S Beveridge JP was postmaster. He conducted petty sessions at Dunkeld and it said that after fining disorderly young men, and paying the fine himself, he would admonish them for being foolish enough to be caught.  He was in demand locally to treat people for minor complaints being a medical student, in Scotland.
He died in 1921 aged 92 and is buried at Dunkeld.
He was my Great Grandfather.  His second son also named William Saunders Beveridge and was  my Grandfather. He died in 1926. aged 64.  And Isabella (Ella) Spears Beveridge was my Grandmother. She died in 1946

Neale with Athol, my Father and Isabella, my Grandmother at 'Cromdale' in 1941
Neale with Athol  and Isabella, my Grandmother at ‘Cromdale’ in 1941

The many friends of Mrs Isabella Beveridge, late of “Cromdale” Echuca will regret to learn of her death at the Private Hospital, Hamilton, on 14th March 1946  After a long illness.
The late Mrs Beveridge endeared herself to all, by her kindly nature, and was ever ready to assist charitable appeals throughout   the district. Mrs Beveridge’s husband predeceased her some years ago, and also her son, Roy. Another son Athol resides in Tasmania.
Mrs Beveridge left Echuca about two years ago.

Alfred  Allen Beveridge 1868-1950, youngest of five sons of W S Beveridge JP was brought up by an Aunt and later the went to live at ‘Beverlea’ and worked with his brothers running sheep in the Moora Moora forest in the Grampians.

He had a wide knowledge of the Grampians and secured a position as officer-in-charge of most of the Grampians. He would collect royalties for wattlebark, fence posts, and output from several saw mills. Royalty was 4 pence per 100 super feet. Most of his work was done on horseback, camping in bush huts. His pay in 1906  was 7/-per day.
A. A. Beveridge was also an amateur jockey.
After his forest job he returned to farming at ‘Bona Vista’.  He died aged 82 in 1950. he is also buried at Dunkeld. He had three sons and a daughter.

Last edit 19 January 2016


2 thoughts on “Beveridge Family in Australia”

  1. It’s great to read your jottings of our forebears activities. I am another AABeveridge, Andrew Alfred ,grandson of Alf. As you are no doubt aware I am still farming sheep in the Vic Valley and own the selection made by W.S. Known as Beverlea, now part of a larger aggregation , Bowacka. Beverlea homestead is now abandoned . One of our sons now manages our business and resides on another property 1.5 kms nth.of Beverlea.I would love to hear from you .Regards from Andrew .

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