• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Herbertson Family 1841 - 1964

The family history below was written in 1965 following a family gathering. It contains many errors and inaccuracies but is presented here as obviously a lot of the details are correct. My own comments are in blue..

......................................................................................................................................

So far as Portland is concerned, the story begins with Robert Herbertson, born in Glasgow. Scotland, in 1804, son of Robert Herbertson, a builder and Margaret Herbertson (nee McKinnon).

I am almost certain that Robert is the son of James Herbertson and Janet (nee Dougal) but I have been unable to find a record of his birth. See Family Tree.

 

Robert Herbertson left Glasgow in 1830, then aged 26 years, with his two brothers Henry and Alexander, because of an outbreak of cholera which was raging in Glasgow at the time. They were given money and personal effects by their parents who had already lost some members of the family because of the epidemic. The brothers decided to set sail for Van Dieman's Land; after a voyage in a filthy ship (name unknown) they arrived in Van Dieman's Land in 1830-31.

 

Robert arrived in Tasmania in 1833 aboard the 'Eliza'. The record is in the name of 'Habertson'. I have verified that Alexander arrived at a later date (1854), and there is no record of Henry in Australia. Another half-brother, Andrew also arrived separately in 1852.

Robert found employment with the Tasmanian Government in Launceston making water wheels, having in all probability been trained as a builder by his father in Glasgow. It is very likely that he followed that occupation before leaving Scotland. These water wheels were used as a means of power, there being no steam engines then in use. Two convict tradesmen were assigned to help Robert - both excellent workers but received in payment no money, only their food and clothing. Robert mistakenly gave one of the men some money on one occasion, where upon the men immediately rode into Launceston and got drunk, his horse bolted and he was arrested and given 50 lashes. Robert was fined 25 pounds and was not doubt a poorer but wiser man.

There is no record in the Archives Office of Tasmania of Robert Herbertson being involved in this incident..

Whilst in Launceston, Robert at the age of 29 years and in the year 1833, married Miss Isabella Bailey of Launceston. The Bailey family came to Van Dieman's Land from Leith, Scotland, where Isabella was born in 1818. She was the daughter of Samuel Bailey and Isabella Bailey (nee Lawson), her father being a colour sergeant for his regiment at the Battle of Waterloo. The Bailey family arrived in Van Dieman's Land in 1826, Samuel Bailey receiving his discharge from his regiment in Launceston. The name of Bailey is recorded in the old Launceston history.

Robert married Isabella on the 18th March 1834 in Launceston (Archives Office of Tasmania). Isabella was born in 7/12/1810. The International Genealogical Index shows her surname spelt Baillie.

 

There is in the possession of descendants of the Herbertson family living in Portland two samplers worked by Isabella Bailey in the year 1824 when she was 6 years old. These are in immaculate condition, the colours being still bright and new looking in this of 1964 and are treasured by the family in whose possession they are now.

Isabella was 14 in 1824

An interesting fact is that Samuel Bailey, eldest son of Samuel and Isabella Bailey of Launceston, and brother of Mrs. Robert Herbertson, was master of a vessel trading between Portland and Launceston in 1849.

Robert and Isabella Herbertson arrived in Portland Bay in 1841 - 42; bringing with them their three eldest children, born in Tasmania (Jessie, Mary and James). It is believed by some of their descendants that they went first of all to Melbourne, purchasing the piece of land at the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins St. where McEwans Hardware store now stands. Possibly attracted by the first land sales taking place in Portland and apparently deciding that Portland Bay offered better opportunities, they soon left Melbourne for Portland. They first of all took up farming land where Mr. Jack Standford's Midwood stands at the present time, near what is locally known as the "Five-Mile" at the corner of the Heywood - Port Fairy Rd., late selling out to the Fitzgerald family.

Robert and Isabella and three children left Launceston on 18th January 1841 aboard the "Dusty Miller" for Portland Bay.

See also Port Fairy & Portland Passenger Index 1841 There is no record of them owning land a 'Midwood', but they did own land further out next the where the Caledonian Inn was

In 1843, we find Robert opening one of Portland's earliest inns (the Union Inn) on the corner of Julia and Percy Sts. where the bank of N.S.W. now stands. This property belonged at the time to Joshua Black, and was previously occupied by Dr. Sutherland, and it was while Dr. Sutherland was in occupation that the first Presbyterian church service in Portland was held there in 1842; Joshua Black being one of the first subscribers to a  Presbyterian church for Portland. An attempt was made in that year to establish a school on the premises but this was not a success.

Robert Herbertson during these years followed the occupation of builder and hotelkeeper, leaving the Union Inn to open the Brittania Hotel in July 1847 on the premises now occupied by Oliver's butcher shop. He also built a number of shops and dwellings attached to that section of Julia St., these shops being let to tradesmen i.e. baker, butcher etc. Later on he built Glasgow House in Julia St and evidently abandoning the business on these premises in which he maintained and interest until his death in 1879. Some of these properties remained in the family hands for 96 years until sold to the Bank of N.S.W. Robert also owned land near the railway line, Blair St. and a piece of land now occupied by the Portland Harbour Trust as part of its office block. Four more children were born to the Herbertsons during this period of their living in Julia St, - Robert, Sarah, Eliza and Georgina.

As there were now seven children and no doubt deciding that the family needed more rooms, land was purchased at Wattle Hill and the beautiful two storeyed house was built in the 1850's. This has always been known as "Herbertsons" to Portland people and was the family home for many years. It is not clear which of the ten children were born there, but almost certainly Thomas, Samuel two of the younger ones.

The title to the property at Bridgewater were 'ready' for Robert Herbertson on the 16th March 1854. Samuel, the last born was born in 1853. None of the children were born at Wattle Hill.

In 1855 the whole family went home to Scotland for a visit and a holiday during which the children were to complete their education. They remained until 1860 and during this time the youngest child, George as born.

 

The Public Record Office Victoria shows;
Family name Given name / title Ship name Departure month Departure year Destination Film Ref month Film Ref year Age Page
HERBERTSON ---- MISS EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 22 004
HERBERTSON ---- MRS CITY OF SYDNEY FEB 1853 V D LAND MAR 1853 50 002
HERBERTSON ELIZA EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 001
HERBERTSON GEORGE EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 002
HERBERTSON ISABELLA EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 A 001
HERBERTSON JAMES EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 001
HERBERTSON MARY EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 001
HERBERTSON R EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 A 001
HERBERTSON ROBERT EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 001
HERBERTSON SAML EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 002
HERBERTSON SARAH EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 002
HERBERTSON THOMAS EAGLE I MAY 1855 LIVERPOOL MAY 1855 C 002
Interesting to note that it appears as though Isabella went to Van Dieman's Land in 1853. Age stated as 50 but she was actually 43. George was born in 1851

The 1856 Electoral Roll shows Robert Herbertson (Draper) absent in England

The Public Record Office Victoria - Index of Inward Passenger Lists for British, Foreign and New Zealand Ports 1852-1923 shows;
Robert Herbertson arrived Port Phillip June 1857 on the ship Jason accompanied by Mrs Robert, Janet, Mary, James, Sarah, Elizabeth, George, Thomas and Samuel

(Note also that searching for 'Herbertson' at this site shows Alexander Herbertson arriving in 1854 on the Contest. Robert's half-brother.)

Robert and Isabella had a family of 10 children; -

  1. Jessie (Mrs. J. Hardcastle)
  2. Mary
  3. James
  4. Robert (1st child born in Portland)
  5. Sarah (Mrs. J. Porter)
  6. Eliza (Mrs. J. Rickard)
  7. Georgina
  8. Thomas
  9. Samuel
  10. George

There is in the North Portland cemetery a Memorial stone erected in 1861 which records the deaths of;-

  • Georgina - died 6th April 1850, aged 2yrs.
  • James - died 15th August 1861, aged 20 yrs.
  • George - died 23rd July1878 age 21 yrs,
  • Robert H. - died at Wattle Hill 23rd January, aged 75 yrs.
  • Isabella H. - died 8th May 1889, age 71 yrs.

It is noted and recorded in Portland history that Robert H. was a subscriber towards the first C. of E. Building fund and the first Presbyterian church building fund, and he was also one of the trustees of the building fund in 1843. His name appears also as one of the first ratepayers and on the first electoral roll of Portland.

Mrs. R. Herbertson was a pew holder in the Pres. church in 1852. She is also mentioned in the Portland Pioneer Women's book of Remembrance by the late Miss Wadmore, in which book the author remembers the beauty and grace of the Misses Herbertsons at the time of the visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edingburgh, Queen Vic. eldest son.

Descendants:

Robert Herbertson (born Portland 1841)

Married (1) Susan Cathels, daughter of William and Eliza Cathels (nee Cochrane) who came to Portland by the ship Eliza in 1854.

Children:

  • Eliza
  • Isabella
  • Daisy Mary
  • Robert Sidney (died 1883, aged 3 yrs)
  • William Cathels
  • Colin Cathels (adopted by Mr and Mrs Colin Gelately Cathels on his mother's death and now know as Colin Herbertson Cathels).

Married (2) Mary Ann Cathels

Children:

  • Robert Sutherland (Roy)
  • Jessie Eaton

Robert H. (the 2nd) had an interest with his father and mother in businesses in Julia St, until his father's death in 1879. The properties then passed into the hands of the Trustees for the Estate and businesses were carried on by Sarah (Mrs. Porter), Eliza (Mrs. Rickard), Thomas and Samuel who appeared to shared an interest in a butcher's shop on the corner of Julia and Percy St. Robert H. lived in Richmond St and later in Gawler St (south-east corner of Hurd and Gawler Sts) where he had a cordial factory. He died in Gawler St in 1918, aged 75 yrs.

 

Robert H. (the 2nd) was also the father of a illegitimate son, Robert William Henry Herbertson born in 1865. Mother was Annie Jennings.

Sarah H. married Joseph Porter, and had no children. The Porters had businesses in Julia and Bentinck Sts for some years.

Eliza H. married Arthur Rickard but nothing is known of any children.

Thomas H. born in Portland in 1853, probably at Wattle Hill, the family home.

He married Janet Browning Millar whose parents came from Kilmarnock in Scotland in the ship "Aberfoyle" under the command of Captain Norse. They first embarked at Melbourne and later came to Portland Bay, but the year of their arrival is unknown. The Millar family lived in South Portland where Janet was born in 1863. They were married at the Pres. church, Portland, Janet going as a bride to live in the old home at Wattle Hill where they lived all their married lives, and where all their children were born.

Children:

  • Robert (married Martha Davis) - no children
  • Thomas Stewart
  • Hugh Millar (married Helen Mary Newton) - no children
  • Cathrine Stewart (Kate) - (married James Johnstone) - 2 sones, 1 daughter
  • Janet Millar (married Edward McElroy) - 1 daughter
  • Twins Charles and Isabella were born but lived only a few weeks.

During his lifetime, Thomas H. appears to have followed the occupation of butcher, slaughterman, orchardist and farmer.

Thomas died 17th Jan, 1932, aged 80 yrs.

Janet died 3rd Oct. 1951, aged 88 yrs.

Janet H. (nee Millar) was related by marriage to the Rev. John Browning who was one of the early Pres. ministers in Portland and one of the earliest school teachers. He opened a school in Tyers St in 1850, and it is quite likely that some of the Herbertson children were among his pupils. Mr. Browning afterwards was Principal of the old college known as Beulah in Trangmar St, now owned by the Mibus family. Two of the last scholars at the (college) were the late Harry Burns and Col. Cathels.

Mr Browning as the proprietor of a tannery in Browning St at one time. Mrs T. Herbertson was related by marriage also to a Mr Hayward who was a warder at the old Portland Gaol.

Samuel H. born at Wattle Hill (or Scotland) 1855. He married Miss Whittle of Tasmania. There were four children.

  • Gertrude Fanny (Mrs. P. Hodge)
  • Reginald (went to America)
  • Garnet - no children
  • Gladys Isabella (Mrs Gilmore of Portland)

After their marriage they lived in Melbourne for awhile, then moved to Euroa where Samuel conducted a Boot and Shoe store for some years. Unfortunately when aged only 37 yrs he caught a chill and died in Euroa and is buried there. Mrs. H. returned to her own people in Tasmania and reared her family with the help of relatives there, but she also died at an early age. Two of the children made their way back to Portland.

Gertrude residing in Portland for some time with her aunt, Mrs. J. Porter. Gladys also resided in Portland for some time before her marriage to Mr. Gilmore of Narrawong. Garnet also returned to Vic. some time before his death.

......................................................................................................................................

1965

Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015 00:13