Two of my thirty-two 4th great grandparents, both Irish, were Matthew Cavenagh (1740 – 1819) and Catherine Hyde Cavenagh nee Orfeur (c. 1748 – 1814). They married in 1765 or thereabouts.
Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh writes in his “Cavenaghs of Kildare” that Matthew and Catherine were wards of a certain Lord Loftus, from whose castle they eloped. One story has it that they were so young and inexperienced that they dismissed the waiter from the parlour of the inn they were staying at rather than display their inability to carve a fowl put before them for their dinner.
Shortly after Matthew and Catherine’s marriage they lived at Innishannon, Co Cork, where, in 1766, their son James Gordon Cavenagh was born. Catherine, it seems, was a minor at the time of their marriage. Matthew was probably an adult at law.
In a 1766 deed partitioning the Drillingstown property between his wife and her two sisters Matthew Cavenagh is styled ‘of Innishannon, gentleman’.
An agreement for the division of Drillingstown between Thomas Weston of Clonmell co Tipperary and Dorothy Weston, otherwise Orfeur, his wife of the 1st part, Lieutenant George Waters of the Guernsey Man of war and Mary Waters his wife, otherwise Orfeur, of the 2nd part, Mathew Cavenagh of Innishannon Co Cork and Catherine Cavenagh, otherwise Orfeur, his wife, of the 3rd Part. Whereas Captain John Orfeur late of Drillingstown, Co Wexford, died some years ago intestate, leaving the said Dorothy, Mary and Catherine, his only children, upon whom the interests of Drillingstown estate devolve share and share alike: in order to save law proceedings for a writ of partition, they agree that the said lands be divided amicably between them, the Westons to receive 67 acres, the Waters 68 acres and the Cavenaghs 84 acres, being the worst land. Signed and sealed by the above named parties, 16 May, 1766.
transcribed by Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh
Matthew Cavenagh and his father James (1702 – 1769) held office in the Irish Customs as ‘gaugers‘ (customs inspectors), and it is possible that it was in connection with his Customs appointment that he and Catherine were living at Innishannon.
Matthew and Catherine Cavenagh returned to Wexford, where they lived in Back Street (now known as Mallin Street), a fashionable part of the town.
Matthew and Catherine had 15 children, named on the couple’s tombstone at St Patrick’s Abbey Wexford.
Some of my Cavenagh forebears are buried in a family vault at the Abbey Graignemanach or Graiguenamangh County Kilkenny. Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh (1856 – 1935), one of my first cousins three times removed, transcribed the gravestone in 1891. In his family history notes WOC stated the stone was in the pathway leading to the north transept door and was moved 3 feet nearer to the church in 1906.
Underneath are interred the bodies of Wentworth Cavanagh of Ballynomona in the County of Kildare, who died November 1752, James Cavanagh of Graig, who departed this life May 4th, 1769, also the bodies of Elizabeth Lindsay (said James’ first wife) who died April 7th, 1734, Anne Lane, his second wife who died 9th June 1742, and of Elizabeth Archdeacon his third wife, who died 18th March 1787. Underneath are likewise interred several of his children by Elizabeth his third wife, viz Mary, wife of Robert Carpenter of Ross who died April 16th 1787, of Arthur Cavanagh who died the 19th December 1797, and of Wentworth Cavanagh of Ross, who died the 20th August 1793 : also Harriet wife of said Wentworth Cavanagh who died in June 1786.
Later, a footpath was made over it, and in 2002 several Cavenagh cousins arranged for a stone with the same inscription to be placed at the Abbey.
Wentworth Cavenagh (1675 – 1752) was one of my sixth great grandfathers. He was born at Athy, County Kildare and baptised 22 August 1675 at St Michael’s Athy as Wenford Cavenor, son to Mr James Cavenor of Grangemellon.
The following christenings are recorded at Athy parish:
Wentworth Kavanagh, baptized Athy 23 Sept 1704, died an infant. Son of Wentworth Kavanagh of Ballynomona.
Kennedy Kavanagh 16 September 1706, parent Wentworth Kavanagh
Isabella Cavenagh 22 April 1707, parent Wentworth Cavenagh. She was buried 22 April 1709, infant daughter of Wentworth Kavanagh of Ballynomona
Wentworth Cavenagh was active in the parish:
Signature of Went. Kavanagh amongst other names of parishioners at Vestry held in St Michael’s Athy Oct ye 27th 1703.
Wentworth Cavenagh elected sidesman 1706.
The Minister and churchwardens and Parishioners have confirmed the grant made by Wentworth Cavanagh of half his seat to James Ross. Witnessed by Fran Moore Minister, April 25th 1707
Ballynamony is about 12 kilometers south-east of Athy. From the glossary of words commonly found in Irish place names: baile townland, town, homestead; móin(also: mónaidh) bogland. Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh wrote in the late 1920s:
a portion of the Kilkea castle estate and was held by George, Earl of Kildare, a Protestant, in 1654. A lease for 3 lives was granted Wentworth Cavenagh of Ballynamony gent by Robert Earl of Kildare in Jany 1724. The lives not being renewed by Mathew Cavenagh of the town and county of Wexford, the estate lapsed to the FitzGeralds. The house once a fairly substantial one is now reduced to be an ill kept farmstead. It is situated about one mile to the NE of the Kilkea demesne, just off the road passing thro Ballynamony bridge. On the left bank River Greese: to the east of Kilkea Castle.
The abbey at Graiguenamangh is 60 kilometers south of Athy and Ballynamony and seems a long way away. However, Wentworth Cavenagh’s son, James, had been appointed a guager, a customs collector for the canals and waterways.
Athy and Graiguenamangh are both on the River Barrow , an inland link between the port of Waterford and the Grand Canal, which connects Dublin to the River Shannon. In the mid-18th century it became a commercial navigation route, with Graiguenamanagh serving as a base for commercial barges operating on the river.
James Cavenagh acquired Tillots Holding at Graiguenamanagh in 1736 on a lease of lives renewable for ever, the head rent being paid to Lord Clifden. Tillots Holding consisted of a house, malthouse, and 2 ½ acres of land.
Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh writing in the late 1920s records that the house had “been let for some years past to the Roman Catholic priests of the Abbey” and that “it is now known as the ‘Priests house’…[standing] opposite the little gate of the churchyard leading to the north door of the Abbey.”
Duiske Abbey at Graiguenamanagh had been founded in 1204. The Abbey was suppressed under Henry VIII in 1536. Following the dissolution the abbey church continued to be used as a local place of worship. The Church of Ireland re-roofed the west end after the tower collapsed into the nave in 1744. The church was returned to the Roman Catholic community in 1812 and restoration was completed in the 1980s.
My fourth great grand uncle George Kinnaird Dana in 1811 served as colonel of the 6th Garrison Battalion quartered in Nenagh, Tipperary. The Battalion paymaster was his brother William Pulteney Dana, one of my fourth great grandfathers.
Garrison Battalions were reserve troops, primarily concerned to maintain defence and good order in potentially troublesome territory. They were recruited from elderly veterans or other troops considered unfit for front-line combat. The 6th Battalion had been raised at Dublin from limited-service personnel of three regiments of foot. It was stationed at Nenagh in Tipperary, a hundred miles to the southwest.
In June 1811 the 6th Garrison Battalion had a field day. Blank ammunition had been issued but unfortunately a ball cartridge had been mixed with it. One man was shot in the back.
At Nenagh William Pulteney Dana met Charlotte Elizabeth Bailey, a daughter of the Reverend Henry Bayley, Rector of Nenagh. Around 1812 they were married. Their two oldest children were born in Ireland.
In April 1814 Napoleon had surrendered to the allies and since the war was over Garrison battalions was no longer needed. On 5 December 1814 the Garrison battalion was disbanded.
Captain William Pulteney Dana now on half-pay returned to live in Shropshire. William and Charlotte had ten more children all born in Shropshire.
In June 1814 William’s brother George Kinnaird Dana was promoted to Major-General and returned to England.
Edmund Alexander Champion de Crespigny, youngest child of Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny (1850-1912), a retired Royal Navy officer, and Annie Rose Charlotte Champion de Crespigny nee Key (1859-1935), was born 12 July 1890 and baptised at Bramshaw, Hampshire, England, on 14 October 1890.
At the time of the 1891 English census Edmund was 8 months old, living at Round Hill, Bramshaw with his parents, two brothers and sister, and two adult cousins of his parents and three servants.
Tne years later in 1901 he was at boarding school at Bramshaw.
Edmund died aged 15 on 29 May 1905 at Cushendun, near Ballycastle, County Antrim, Ireland. The cause of death was a diabetic coma and he had been in the coma for two days.
The death certificate informant was Ada McNeill, a maternal cousin.
At Bramshaw Hampshire there is a memorial for Edmund which states he was buried 30 May 1905.
Some years later an unknown person assumed Edmund’s identity. On 30 December 1919 a man calling himself Edmund Alexander Champion de Crespigny aged 29 (born 1890) married Elise Emma Richard at Lausanne, Switzerland. He stated he was the son of Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny and Annie Rose Key and that he had been born at Lyndhurst [less than six miles from Bramshaw].
There have been cases of people assuming the surname Champion de Crespigny, claiming to be an illegitimate child of a member of the family. This was different. This man was not claiming to be an illegitimate child, his claim was to be the son Edmund who had died in 1905. This man died in 1967 and I wrote about him at Edmund Alexander Champion de Crespigny (1890 – 1905 or 1967?)
Ellen Murray, one of Greg’s great great grandmothers, arrived in Victoria in 1854 as an assisted immigrant on the ‘Persian‘. Also on board was her sister Bridget. The passenger list records Bridget and Ellen Murray as both from Dublin. Their religion was Catholic; both could read and Ellen could also write; Bridget was twenty-four (which means that she was born about 1830) and Ellen was eighteen (born about 1836).
Ellen married James Cross, a gold digger, at Buninyong in 1856. The marriage certificate states her father was George Murray, a glassblower, and Ellen nee Dory.
On 1 May 1825 George Murray married Eleanor Doyle at St Mary’s (Pro-Cathedral), Dublin. Witnesses to their marriage were Joseph Carolan and Margaret Ryan. I believe these are Ellen Cross nee Murray’s parents and that Doyle was mistranscribed on the marriage certificate.
George and Ellen (Eleanor) Murray had the following children baptised mostly at St Mary’s
Mary, baptised 18 March 1826
Peter, baptised 17 May 1827 at St Michael and John’s, Dublin
Bridget, baptised 12 November 1828
Peter, baptised 21 February 1831 (2 records for same name and date)
Joseph, baptised 3 April 1834
Ellen, baptised 21 May 1836
In 1826 at the time of Mary Murray’s baptism the family were living at McLinburg Street. This is probably Mecklenburg Street which later had an unsavoury reputation.
The back gate of the Gloucester Street laundry, where the delivery vans once came and went, is on Railway Street, formerly called Mecklenburg Street. In 1904, Mecklenburg Street was a terrace of grand but fading Georgian houses, and it was here that James Joyce set the “nighttown” section of his novel “Ulysses,” a phantasmagoric visit to a brothel run by “a massive whoremistress” called Bella Cohen.
She was a historical figure. And Mecklenburg Street was the heart of a square mile of brothels, speakeasies and slums that took its informal name — Monto — from Montgomery Street, the next street over. It was here, when southern Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom, and when Dublin was a major garrison town of the British Empire, that the authorities tolerated, even encouraged, what was often described as the biggest red-light district in Europe.
Monto was a last resort for runaways, widows and abandoned wives. Madams like Bella Cohen controlled them with violence and money, keeping them in debt to pay for clothes and lodgings. As they left their prime teen years, lost their health and their looks, the women passed from “flash houses” for the wealthy to the cheap “shilling houses” and then to the alleys. Those who became pregnant were dumped on the street.
Georgian houses in 1826 of course would have been relatively new and perhaps the neighbourhood was not so run down at the time.
Glassmaking in Dublin probably began about 1675. There were many glass houses in Dublin in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many products were produced in Dublin including bottles, cut glass, decanters and goblets, looking glass, plate glass for coaches.
Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915 retrieved through ancestry.com
Westropp, Michael Seymour Dudley (1920). Irish glass : an account of glass-making in Ireland from the XVIth century to the present day. Herbert Jenkins, London. Retrieved through archive.org.
Between 1649 – 1653 the forces of the English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell, invaded Ireland. In charge of a regiment raised in Kent from April 1649 was a Colonel Robert Phaire. Phaire had formed his regiment from volunteers who had opposed the Royalists in 1648 who were now being disbanded.
Phaire was a Regicide, one of the three officers to whom the 1649 warrant for the execution of Charles I was addressed. However, he refused to sign the order to the executioners. For this he was arrested but not tried, and released in 1662. It has been suggested Phaire escaped severe punishment at the Restoration by having married the daughter of Sir Thomas Herbert.
One of my tenth great grandfathers Paul Cudmore (abt 1614 – abt 1700) was a lawyer who came to Ireland with Cromwell’s army in the regiment of Colonel Phaire. Paul’s future father-in-law, Captain Michael Gale (died 1681), one of my 11th great grandfathers, was a member of the same regiment.
In 1663 Paul Cudmore and Michael Gale were implicated in a plot to overthrow the new King. Cudmore and Gale were named in a deposition sent on 26 June 1663 by Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery to King Charles II informing the King of a plot to overthrow the government.
Orrery wrote, “The four mentioned in his enclosed deposition were officers who served under Phaier.” Orrery imprisoned Paul Cudmore, Gale, the two other men, and Colonel Phaire. The deposition stated :
On a Sabbath day in the afternoon about the end of April last, deponent met Mr. Samuel Corbett, who told deponent that Captain Michael Gale wished to speak to him. Deponent was asked to meet Gale, Captain John Taylor, Paul Cudmore and Corbett at the Stone- house beyond the bridge of Carrigeline [Carrigalinel], in the barony of Kirricarry [Kerricurihy] , co. Cork, on the next Wednesday.
Although the Earl of Orrery referred to Paul Cudmore as an army officer under Phaire, only two of the men he named were given an army rank. I think it is likely that Cudmore served Phaire in an administrative rather than a military role.
Paul Cudmore practiced as a solicitor and in the 1680s served in that capacity to Colonel Phaire at the time of his death in 1682.
Cudmore married Anne Gale in 1655 becoming the son-in-law of Captain Michael Gale.
There are several bridges. One to the west of Carrigaline, called the Ballea bridge, leads to Ballea castle, possibly the stone house referred to in the 1663 deposition. The present Ballea castle was built around 1660.
The passenger list records that Margaret Smyth was from Cavan. Her religion was Church of England; she could read and write; and she was 20 years old. She did not find a job immediately on landing, but went to stay with her cousin John Hunter. I am yet to find out more about John Hunter.
On 19 November 1855 Margaret Smyth, dressmaker from Cavan, aged 22, married John Plowright, also 22, a gold digger. Their wedding was held at the residence of John Plowright, in Magpie, on the Ballarat diggings, five miles or so from where Greg and I live now. On the certificate Margaret’s parents are given as William Smyth, farmer, and Mary nee Cox.
On documents Margaret usually gave her birthplace as Cavan. On her death certificate her birthplace was given by her adopted son Harold as Bailieborough, Cavan.
The ‘Ireland Valuation Books’ of 1838 have a William Smyth of Tanderagee Townland, Bailieborough Parish, Clankee Barony, County Cavan. This could be Margaret’s father.
More and more records are being digitised, so perhaps some useful documents will come to light. DNA connections also offer some tantalising clues but I have not yet found any definite Smyth cousins.
I hope we can visit Ireland one day, and Cavan will certainly be part of the trip. Before we go I hope I will have discovered more about Margaret Smyth’s family there.
Major Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General of the Colony of New South Wales from 1828 to 1855, undertook several journeys of exploration. His third, in 1836, took him south into what is now Victoria. On 10 July he recorded in his journal that he and his party
crossed a deep creek running westward which I named the Avoca, and we encamped on an excellent piece of land beyond it.
Mitchell, Thomas, Sir, 1792-1855 (1839-01-01). Three expeditions into the interior of Eastern Australia : with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix and of the present colony of New South Wales. T. & W. Boone volume 2 retrieved through http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks/e00036.html
Sweet Vale of Avoca! how calm could I rest In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best; Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease, And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace.
In the 1850s the town of Avoca was established on the Avoca River. Greg’s great great grandfathers George Young and John Plowright were gold miners there.
My Cudmore relatives had a property on the Darling River named Avoca. We visited it earlier this year. It was said that Daniel H. Cudmore named it Avoca after his father’s hometown in Ireland. However his father, Daniel M.P. Cudmore, was from Limerick Ireland. I am not aware of any connection of the Cudmore family to the town of Avoca in Ireland.
On Thursday 9 February the weather was warm reaching 37 degrees (98 degrees Fahrenheit). We took a two hour paddle steamer ride on the Murray through lock 11 and downstream.
We admired the Murray River Flag which dates from the early 1850s; there are three variations. Our paddlesteamer flew the Upper Murray River Flag with the darker blue bands on its flag, representing the darker waters of the river’s upper reaches. At lock 11 we saw the Combined Murray River Flag.
In the evening we visited a local distillery and after sampling several types we purchased a gin infused with saltbush.
The next day Friday 12 February we drove to South Australia. Because of the pandemic we needed to apply for permits to enter South Australia and also to return to Victoria.
The Sturt Highway passes along the boundary of Ned’s Corner, a property once owned by the Cudmores. Ned’s Corner Station is now owned by the Trust for Nature who bought the property in 2002 when it was very degraded from drought and overgrazing. The Trust claims the 30,000 hectare property (74,000 acres) is the largest freehold property in Victoria and also the biggest private conservation reserve in the state.
My great great grandfather James Francis Cudmore (1837 – 1908) managed Paringa, 208 sq. miles (531 km²) near present day Renmark from 1857. Paringa was first leased by James’s father Daniel from 1850 as well as a number of other stations. In 1860 James Cudmore leased Ned’s Corner, further up the Murray. From these properties he overlanded sheep to Queensland and took up leases there. In1867 he married Margaret Budge. James and Margaret had 13 children; my grandfather Arthur Murray Cudmore was their third child born at Paringa in 1870.
In 1876 James Cudmore enlarged Ned’s Corner in partnership with Robert Barr Smith and A. H. Pegler. By the end of the 1870s 130,000 sheep were being shorn at his stations on the Murray.
James Mansfield Niall (1860-1941), a first cousin to James Francis Cudmore, worked at Paringa Station as a young man before moving to central western Queensland. His great grandson has been kind enough to share some of James Niall’s reminiscences.
In 1876 I went up to Paringa Station on the Murray, and took a position there as bookkeeper. I had to travel by train to Kapunda, thence by coach to Blanchtown, Overland Corner, to Ral Ral. We travelled most of the night and all day for some 3 days. The coachdriver on the later stages was a man named Lambert. Lambert had been fined the previous week for over-carrying the Paringa mailbag, and when he learned I was going to the Station he did not hesitate to abuse me at every opportunity. I was practically only a schoolboy, and I put up with it until we got to Ral Ral, where a blackfellow met me leading a horse on which I was to ride out to the Station. Lambert on seeing the horse flogged it with his whip, upon which I told him that I had had enough of it, and that he could give me a hiding, or I would give him one. (Other passengers on the coach were John Crozier – late of St Albans near Geelong – Fred Cornwallis West, and Dr Wilson of Wentworth). Lambert and I had a fairly lengthy fight, and I beat him very badly, although he broke my nose, from which I am suffering even today. John Crozier enjoyed himself immensely watching the fight from the box of the coach, calling out ”Go it young un”, a term with which he always greeted me when I met him in the Streets of Melbourne 40 years afterwards. Dr Wilson patched up my nose. We had travelled most of the night in the Coach without meals, I only had sixpence in my pocket, and I hadn’t the effrontery or courage to ask the shanty-keeper at Ral Ral to give me a meal without paying for it, so I bought the nigger a nip of rum with the 6d and rode out to the Station. There I remained for probably 18 months, when in 1878 Mr Kenneth Budge (who was manager of Gooyea Station in Queensland) died suddenly from heart disease getting out of bed, and my first cousin, J F Cudmore, on whose Station I was working, hurried me off to Queensland, without notice, to go up and take control.
My interest in visiting Olivewood was to see the plaque from the grave of my 3rd great grandmother Margaret Rankin nee Gunn (1819 – 1863). The plaque had been stolen from the grave but was found in 1994 and is now cared for by the National Trust at Olivewood. Margaret’s husband Ewan Rankin was an overseer at Bookmark station – the station no longer exists as it is under present-day Renmark.
There is a link between Olivewood and Paringa as while George Chaffey was siting for Olivewood to be built he stayed at Paringa House, the Cudmore home. There was a painting of the house at Olivewood.
My great grandfather Arthur Murray Cudmore was born 11 June 1870. Later that year there were enormous floods and the old house was destroyed. The present house was built after the flood. The 1870 flood was measured at 11.65 metres (38 feet) at Mildura but was a very slow flood. In September the flood had reached the verandah at Mildura Station.
We paused for afternoon tea at Paringa and drove back.
On the way to Mildura we received news of another lockdown for the whole of the state of Victoria due to the pandemic. We made the decision to return home that evening. We were only cutting our holiday short by one night and the restrictions were that most businesses were to be shut and you could not travel further than five kilometres from home. We did not wish to experience the lockdown in Mildura. So we packed our bags and headed south stopping for dinner in Birchip. We were fortunate to have a holiday between lockdowns.
Greg and I took our first holiday in a year to Mildura to visit some family history places nearby. A combination of illness and various lockdowns due to the Covid pandemic had prevented any travelling away from home overnight in the last twelve months. We decided to take the opportunity of some free time to meet with a cousin and see some of the places we had only read about.
Tuesday 9 February we drove north to Mildura via Warracknabeal. We travelled through the Wimmera region and the scenery matched that captured in the recent film ‘The Dry’ which I had seen only a few weeks ago.
We had a terrific lunch at Warracknabeal at The Creekside Hotel in a very nice beer garden beside the Yarriambiack Creek. The hotel’s staff were very Covid-conscientious with masks, check in, sanitiser, and ordering lunch via an online webpage retrieved by a QR code; we even managed to order a jug of iced water and 3 glasses for the table, free, through this page.
Yarriambiack Creek was fairly full and attractive to look at. There was a park across the creek with some cages of birds and an enclosure of kangaroos.
Our trip north continued with more silos and a stop in Ouyen. Ouyen had been famous for its vanilla slices having hosted a competition from 1998 to 2011 initiated by Jeff Kennett, the then premier of Victoria. Kennett acted as guest judge until 2005. In 2011 volunteers relinquished the competition to another small town. This afternoon the bakery and many other shops were closed and there were no vanilla slices to be bought.
Wednesday 10 February we visited the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens just across the Murray River in New South Wales and also the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers at Wentworth. When we visited the confluence last in 2010 you could see the muddy Darling joining the clearer Murray. This time the two rivers were a similar colour.
On Wednesday afternoon we visited Avoca Station and met one of my fourth cousins, AL, and her mother, JA, my third cousin once removed. JA’s grandfather (AL’s great grandfather), George Agars (1864 – 1943) was the son of Margaret Alice Agars nee Cudmore (1842 – 1871) and grandson of Daniel Michael Paul Cudmore (1811 – 1891) and Mary Cudmore nee Nihill (1811 – 1893).
George’s mother Margaret died in 1871 at 29 from an ear infection. George was brought up by his grandparents Daniel and Mary Cudmore. He was educated in Adelaide to become an accountant for his Uncle Dan at Avoca Station. George later became an irrigation pioneer in Mildura when the Chaffey Brothers arrived from Canada. My cousin commented “He did not do that well on the land and should have followed his dream of being a writer and poet.”
The property was established on the west bank of the Darling River in 1871 by Daniel Henry Cashel Cudmore (1844 – 1913), the fifth of nine children of Daniel Michael Paul and Mary Cudmore. Daniel H purchased the western half of Tapio Station on the Darling from Messrs. Menzies and Douglas, and named it Avoca, said to be after his father’s hometown in Ireland; however Daniel Michael Paul Cudmore was born in Tory Hill, Limerick near Adare, 230 km west of Avoca.
Avoca Station had frontages of ten miles (16 km) to the Murray and twenty-five miles (40 km) to the Darling. Other properties in the area were acquired and in 1885 Daniel Henry and two of his brothers, Milo Robert (1852 – 1913) and Arthur Frederick (1854 – 1919), managed 709,000 acres including Avoca and Popiltah Station to the north of Avoca. 120,000 sheep were shorn at Avoca in 1888 with new Wolseley shearing machines. The wool clip was transported by paddle steamer from the woolshed downstream via the Darling River to the Murray River. Daniel Henry retired in 1895 to Victor Harbour. Avoca Station was sold in 1911.
The homestead was built in two stages. In 1871 the first stage was constructed of cypress pine drop logs. Many of the outbuildings are believed to have also been built at this time. In 1879 a second stage stone wing of the homestead was added.
I have previously written about Ernest Osmond Cudmore (1894 – 1924). He was the second of four sons of Milo Robert Cudmore and a cousin of my great grandfather Arthur Murray Cudmore. In 1908 Ernest was holidaying at Avoca when he jumped from a horse as he feared he was about to collide with a portion of the stable. He broke his leg and it was badly shattered; the bone did not set and his leg had to be amputated below the knee.
Sara Kathleen de Lacy Roberts (nee Cudmore) (1883 – 1972), the daughter of Arthur Frederick Cudmore, was another cousin of my great grandfather Arthur Murray Cudmore. In 1971 Kathleen Roberts was interviewed by a granddaughter of Milo Robert Cudmore, Helen Bewsher nee Cudmore (1928 – 2001). Kathleen lived at Avoca as a teenager and young adult from 1895 until her marriage in 1909. She was educated at boarding school in Melbourne and travelled to and from school via train and the paddle steamer, Trafalgar. Her recollections of Avoca, when she was 88 years old in 1971, were as follows:
One cook, one housemaid, one nurse at Popiltah. No Aborigines in the house at Popiltah, one at Avoca. A camp of 30 as stockmen.
The Avoca vegetable garden was on the river. A huge steam engine, between the vegetable and flower gardens, pumped river water to them. In the hot weather this was done at night and made a terrible noise. A Chinaman worked full time on these gardens and would come to the kitchen door every morning to enquire on what vegetables were required that day. All the linen was made at Avoca, the girls spending their time sewing, making visitors’ beds and preserving.
Staff of 10 men at Avoca, jackaroo and overseer.
Bred horses there – had about 100. Every second year, one of the men spent two or three months breaking in – always gently.
reminiscence of Kathleen Roberts nee Cudmore
Ian and Barb Law, the present owners of Avoca, gave us afternoon tea and showed us around the property. It was delightful to meet them and our cousins too.