A Crawford Family: Scotland, Ireland, Australia, America and South Africa

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Chapter 5 (v.1) - James & Mary Ann Crawford (Miller) and family of Robert, William, James, David and John Hamilton, Geelong, Maryborough, Timor, Durham Ox and Kerang, Victoria, 1853 to 1892

Submitted: March 19, 2020

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Submitted: March 19, 2020

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James & Mary Ann Crawford (Miller) and family of Robert, William, James, David and John Hamilton, Geelong, Maryborough, Timor, Durham Ox and Kerang, Victoria, 1853 to 1892

We assume James Crawford emigrated in 1852 or 1853 when he would have been around 22 years of age.  None of the immigration records can be clearly assigned to James and it’s also possible that he worked his passage as a crew member.  His father Robert Crawford is recorded on James’s wedding certificate as a “marine” or “mariner”, so perhaps he organized his passage. He doesn’t appear to have immediately made his way to the gold fields, but worked in Geelong as a “painter”

Mary Ann Miller was 21 y.o. when she arrived in Geelong as an assisted immigrant on 3rd September 1853, on board the ship “Bankers Daughter”.  She was sponsored by a John Haslam of Market Square, Geelong. He was a boot and shoe merchant.  She was indentured for three years on a wage of £22.

James lived in Geelong, where he married Mary Ann Miller on the 22nd of March 1854, and they listed their occupations as “painter” and “dressmaker” respectively.  They were still living in Geelong when their first son Robert James Crawford was born in February 1855. 

Geelong was the main staging port for those traveling to the goldfields and while gold was discovered at Maryborough in 1854, James and Mary Crawford can’t be positively placed  as living in Maryborough till 1857 when their son William Crawford was born (he died in 1858 and was buried in Bristol Hill Cemetery, which has since been redeveloped). The Miller family bible records him as being born at Chinaman’s Flat, and burial records say he died at Havelock Flat.

During the early years of the gold rush, Geelong was the major port, however Melbourne falsified maps in their advertising in Britain, indicating that it was closest to the gold fields, and eventually became the major city.

 On William Crawford’s birth certificate, James Crawford records his occupation as “Drayman”.  Perhaps he found employment carting supplies to Maryborough and when James Crawford was born, moved his family there and continued to work as a drayman.  It would have taken them 15 days to walk from Geelong to Maryborough, and perhaps just a little less if James already owned a dray.  As horses were still expensive and in short supply, he may have only had a single horse dray initially. In 1860, there were only 430,000 horses in Australia.  By 1900, there were 1,600,000 and the Crawfords owned their fair share of them.  The walk to Maryborough would have been along rough tracks worn by wagon wheels.  Just ten years later, Cob and Co and other coach lines had reduced it to a day (10 hours) and had they wanted, they could have travelled 2,000 miles by coach from South Australia all the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria around the coast or even longer using inland coach services.

James Crawford was born in 1859, David Miller Crawford born and died in 1864 and finally John Hamilton Crawford was born in 1867. 

To have lost two children must have been particularly hard on Mary.  Many children died at birth or in infancy on goldfields throughout Australia, as there were regular outbreaks of dysentery, typhoid, whooping cough, scarlet fever and measles.  With very little fresh fruit and vegetables, damp and cold and the fact that they were unable to shower or bathe very often, they had little resistance to disease.

While all three Crawford boys attended school in Maryborough, Robert James Crawford being four years older than his brothers, started school at a time that the schools were being founded.  He would have started around 1860 when the Church of England was still trying to establish a “Denominational School”.  The lack of financial support by both the church and the government meant that they could only afford to build a slab hut and charge parents fees.  John and Elizabeth Gardiner were the teachers, and in late 1860 they were dismissed by the local Church of England minister for “the use of insulting language” and “guilty of a very unbecoming ebullition of temper”.  Church politics.  The following year, they opened their own school in the hall attached to the Golden Age Hotel and took 72 of the 84 students with them.  He immediately wrote to the National Board asking that they take over and fund. 

In 1862, it became Common School No. 404.  Fees were set at 1 shilling and sixpence per week (one shilling per additional child from the same family) to raise funds to build the school.

Halle Morton visited her aunt Christian Comrie Miller at Comrie, Scotland, in 1950, and she gave her a page from the Miller family bible.  It records the births and deaths of the Crawford boys from Marborough.

While large numbers of miners and their families left one goldfield for another, in the hope of getting in early and staking a claim that would produce their fortune, others put down roots and participated in the building of a community and town.  The Carisbrook, Timor and Maryborough fields were significant enough to support a large community over a long period of time.  Not everyone made a living from either working their own claims or working in the large company mines.  There was always a living to be made from supplying the miners with their everyday needs for food, clothing, housing, furnishings and entertainment.  It seems that James Crawford initially made a living as a drayman, carting supplies in to Maryborough, and later as an Ironmonger, supplying metals for the manufacturing of mining tools. 

On Monday 14th of April 1862, James is also recorded by the Maryborough and Dunnoly Advertiser as submitting a tender: “The following tenders for fencing the approaches to Dwyer's Bridge were opened — Donald McLachlan, £20 14s; James Crawford and Co , £12 16s; John Davies, £15; Wm. Edwards, £9 15s. Mr. PATERSON moved—" That the tender of Wm. Edward*, for £9 I5s, be accepted." Seconded by Mr. WRIGHT, and carried. Mr. JOHN MEREDITH moved”

On Wednesday 15th April, the Maryborough and Dunnoly Advertiser recorded a meeting of the Maryborough Town Council at which James was the only one to submit a tender for the “kerbing”sic. of Clarendon St.  at £6 18s 6d per chain (22 yards).  Council approved the contract on the proviso that James agree to the “Charring of the posts”.  It was believed that charring timber prevented its deterioration.  I can only assume that the “kerbing” was with timber slabs rather than stone as much of James’s work seemed to be supplying or carting timber. This street became the main street in 1858, when 5 stone buildings were erected there.

The Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser on Wednesday 11 July 1860 recorded that the Maryborough Police Court had judged the case of “James Crawford v. Chas. Aldworth £5 11s. This was a claim for the use of splitting tools from the 4th November, 1859. The defendant moreover had not returned the tools, which were valued at £3 10s. The plaintiff said the tools were hired at 5s. per week, from week to week. Defendant had paid 19s. There was an agreement, which was not produced, but to the nature of which plaintiff and a witness deposed. The defence was that the tools were hired for three weeks only, and they bad been sent back by some man, who, however, it appeared, had not delivered them to plaintiff. He moreover did not value the tools at more than £2 10s. His worship considered the defence a lame one, and made an order for £5, to be reduced to £1 10s. if the tools were returned within three days.”

The Tullaroop Roads Board met on the 5th November 1863 and their minutes reported in the Maryborough and Dunnoly Advertiser on the 13th includes “From James Crawford, asking for an advance payment of £40 on the contract, for clearing the road to Coxtown.” And

 “Mr. Meredith, moved an amendment, that the tender of Crawford be accepted for the repairs, at £18 5s, Seconded by Mr, Pavag.  Mr. Cook, in speaking to this motion, insisted upon it, that it was unjust to lay out money here when other places in the district had not had a sixpence expended on them.  He could not see why they should be so tender in favoring a place which had already been so well supported at the hands of the Board. It was but a piece of road forming an approach to the bridge that was spoken of.  Mr. Pavag said as the repairs were absolutely necessary, he was surprised at the opposition made to so small an outlay. Mr. Meredith thought that if the repairs were done, a toll-gate should be put up to pay for these repairs, and the Board were quite justified in aiding their revenues in this way. Mr. Joyce would oppose any further outlay of money until other motions for repairs had been disposed of. Several bridges, damaged by the floods, had peremptory need of repairs, and be should like to know where the money was to come from? It was not in the power of the Board to lay out further sums, unless they really knew what their position was. The amendment was carried, on a vote being taken.” 

By the end of the year, James is recorded as having been paid £76 8s by the Maryborough Council and having contracts worth £28 7s 6p to build the culvert at Timor Creek and £98 8s to clear the road between Maryborough and Coxtown. 

In the Herald, Melbourne, on Saturday 2nd March 1867 the Government Gazette recorded that he had won a contract:

“James Crawford, firewood during 1867 at Maryborough, Carisbrook, and Majorca, 2ft. billets, 5s. 2½d. per ton ; long lengths for gaol, 2s. 11d, per ton.”

At the same time as James Crawford was living in Maryborough, G.C. Robinson, whose granddaughter Elsie Alice Duck would later marry James’ grandson Percival Crawford, was working as a blacksmith, making picks and shovels at Ballarat to provide the funding for his three partners who were digging for gold.

Perhaps James Crawford also had partners in prospecting for gold, however he seems to have regarded himself as first a “drayman”, “carter” and later a “ironmonger”.  Because William Crawford was born at Chinaman’s Flat (now called Bowenvale) and died at Havelock Flat, both close to each other, it would seem that they were part of the gold rush of 1857-8 when there were some 35,000 people in the area.  He possibly prospected unsuccessfully for gold, for several years, and then turned to providing carting and contracting services, making enough money to buy a house on High Street in Maryborough in 1863.

Perhaps Mary Crawford being a dressmaker, supplemented the family income.  Women were highly likely to make their and their children’s basic clothing, however Mary might have made their Sunday best.  Looking at photographs from the period, women still dressed in heavy and elaborate Victorian clothing.  This was still the period in which table legs couldn’t be displayed and table cloths hung to the floor.

Despite the fact that in 1850 there were only a few squatters running stock in the district, by 1865 Maryborough was a substantial town.  The Crawfords and their three boys did not live in a shanty town or gold rush town of bark huts and tents.  Maryborough grew as a substantial town and with a predominance of emigrants from the Scottish Highlands, developed a strong community. 

In 1857 the Maryborough Cricket Club petitioned the Town Council for some flat land.  By 1863 it was close fenced, but still being damaged by wandering goats.  This in time became Prince’s Park and in 1864 hosted an English Eleven.  They played a local 22 over two days.  Three thousand attended the first day, and mounted troopers had to be called in to keep the crowd back to form an oval.  Four thousand attended the second day when the English Eleven won the match 223 to 72 and 76.  Of the forty-four local batters, only four reached double figures and seventeen failed to score.  That evening they held a ball in a pavilion in the Court House Reserve where the Lancashire Bell Ringers attended after their concert at the Golden Age Theatre and played waltzes, quadrilles and polkas.

There were numerous attempts to establish public baths in town, however by 1865 they settled for up-dating the facilities at Mariner’s Reef where the difficulty of crawling up a muddy bank and lack of dressing sheds was a problem.

Three attempts were made to provide gas street lighting; however, it wasn’t achieved till the early 1880s. 

Fear of a Russian attack during the Crimean War lead to the formation of a Victorian Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1854.  In 1860 when troops were shipped to New Zealand for the Maori Wars and England was at war with France, Maryborough formed the Mariner’s Reef Volunteer Rifle Corps, which in 1861 incorporated as the Maryborough Rifles.  They adopted a uniform of “invisible” green with a red shako with black horse hair plumes.  In 1863 members became eligible for active service in the Maori Wars.  Perhaps James Crawford was a member.  In 1897 when Robert Crawford was living in Coolgardie, he wrote to his brother in Scotland, and said that he had been a member of the Victorian Rifle Club; perhaps something he shared with his father.

From New Year’s Day 1857, Highland Games were held in which they putted light and heavy stone, light and heavy hammers and tossed the caber.  By 1860, they were attracting crowds of 3.000 and despite attempts by Castlemaine to stage their own games, the Maryborough Highland Society having staged the first games in 1857 claims this date as their foundation date and therefore as second only to the Hospital.

In 1859, ten members founded the Garrick Club; a drama and musical comedy group.  Their first season at the Golden Age Hall were three plays; “Eton Boy”, “Perfection” and “Omnibus”.  They then performed them in Avoca, and the profits were donated to the Maryborough Hospital. 

In 1863, Robert Crawford would have been with 400 children who marched up High St with banners and despite the pelting rain, celebrated the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra.  After the march, the children gathered to sing “God Save the Queen”, had refreshments and then joined a general parade to Prince’s Park with the “Maryborough Rifle Club, the Fire Brigade (preceded by the engine Neptune drawn by four greys), clergy, magistrates and government officers, Tullaroop Road Board, one member of the Maryborough Mining Board, the Oddfellows, the German Association, miners, traders, the Band of Hope, equestrians and of course, the Chinese with their crackers.” (Maryborough & Dunnoly Advertiser)

The wonderful Fat Girl appeared at the Golden Age on the 22nd and 23rd of August 1862.  Admission was one shilling for adults and sixpence for children to see “this Lachlan female prodigy” of 35” in height, 54” around the body and weighing 12 stone 11 pounds.

Horse racing began at Carisbrook in 1860 and in 1863 a two-day meeting was held when people flocked in “whisky, buggy, gig or dog-cart, curricle or tandem”.  The main race was for the Moss Rose Challenge Cup and was for “horses of farmers within twenty miles of the course.”

In the 1860’s hardly a month went by without there being a column in the newspaper headed by “Death from Intemperance”, “Another Victim of the Bottle”, “Fatal Consequences from Drunkenness” or something similar.  In 1860, some forty-one people died of drunkenness, including a clergyman and two medical practitioners.  Two died in fights, seven drowned (3 intentionally), five committed suicide (by poisoning, shooting, hanging and jumping down shafts), a number were killed by being thrown out of carts or run over by horse drays, and several children died by being injured or neglected by drunken mothers.

A counter to those obsessed with drinking was the Order of Rechabites.  The local branch was the Star of Maryborough Tent founded in 1862.  200 abstainers attended a fundraiser.  A number of other temperance and benefit societies were formed and collectively they provided social welfare for the poor and destitute.  One of them, the Ladies Benevolent Society, built tenements in response to an aged Chinese man being brought in by dray from the Alma diggings and left to die outside the gates to the hospital because there wasn’t a bed available.

Melbourne, Ballarat, Castlemain and Sandhurst introduced 7.00 pm closing in 1860 and Maryborough followed suit for a brief period.  In 1868 it was reenacted and around a year later, they approved Saturday night shopping hours.

Crime was widespread until the early 60’s.  Not only were there many bushrangers who attempted to rob miners on the roads, but it was common for gangs of petty thieves and thugs to steal from tents while the miners were at work, or to create diversions such as staging a fight at night in he main street while their accomplices slashed the canvas at the back of the store to steal goods.  Many miners during these early years lived in tents or bark and slab huts and the shops were also timber fronts with frames covered in calico. Almost every edition of the Maryborough Advertiser, listed numerous accounts of theft from miners’ tents and huts.  So many watches were stolen, you have to wonder how many miners also bought what they knew to be stole watches in the hotels and sly grog shops of the district.

James Crawford probably would have carried a gun as he carted goods around the roads leading to and from Maryborough.  Many people were either shot or beaten by bushrangers and in their turn, they were shot by police.  Many bushrangers never appeared in court, dying of gunshot wounds.

Maryborough was only a “rush” town up till around 1863.  For the first 7 years James and Mary Crawford lived in Maryborough, they probably lived in tents or slab and bark huts close to wherever James could obtain work. That probably meant following the latest “rush” to Madman’s Flat (near Blucher’s), Chinamans Flat (William Crawford was born there in 1857 and died in 1858 -16 months old and James Crawford was also born there in 1859), Newtown or Havelock.  Even within the town, finding nuggets of up to 14 ounces lead to miners digging up land behind the Golden Age Hotel, on Gaol Hill and the middle of streets such as Burke St., Palmerston St., Derby Rd., and Alma St.  Streets were closed for the duration of digging and later filled in and leveled again.  By 1865, the town council finally stopped them tunneling under the roads.

From 1863, “rush” mining waned and deep lead and quartz mines became the norm, and this sustained the town for the next sixty years.  This involved forming companies and selling shares to raise capital.  From 12 steam engines generating 230 horsepower to crush the ore they progressed to one engine generating 70 hp to power eighteen stampers at the Old Leviathan Reef at Chinaman’s Flat.  It also involved the miners giving up their individual claims to work for wages.  Typically, a miner worked for 30/- per week and a share in 1/3 of the gold obtained until an equivalent of 50/- per week was reached.

In 1858 and 1864, William Crawford and David Miller Crawford respectively were buried at the Bristol Hill Cemetery at the base of the hill, along with many other children who died young.  It was only used between 1854 and 1859, when a new cemetery was established, and yet by 1872 it was the site of the Bristol Hill Crushing Plant.  The engine “Tuaggra” (aboriginal for the district) drove a ten-stamper battery to crush ore.  Today a plaque is all that remains of the Bristol Hill Cemetery.

In 1873, war broke out between the publisher of the Maryborough and Dunolly

Advertiser, James Evans and the local clergy.  Evans wrote an article in which he called the clergy “black slugs” and churches as “parasites upon the earth”.  He advocated that Christianity should not be “... with outward systems and organisations that God deals but with the real, the unseen, the mind” The clergy responded by inviting James Gearing to bring his Majorca Independent to Maryborough and incorporate it into a new newspaper, the Maryborough Standard. 

The Maryborough Advertiser didn’t let up in its attacks till the middle of 1876, and even then, it was not because of lack of public support.  His advertising revenue never fell.  For three years, almost every edition (3 times weekly) contained articles attacking the church and clergy.  Interestingly, Robert Crawford’s marriage to Ann Elizabeth Neale at Carrisbrook in 1875 was reported in the Maryborough Standard, but not in the Maryborough Advertiser.

Perhaps James Crawford made his career change from “drayman” to “ironmonger” around the early 1870’s, with the opening of the rail link to Castlemaine.  Until then, transport between Melbourne and Maryborough and indeed Maryborough and all the other main gold mining towns was by coach or horse and all supplies carried on drays drawn by either teams of horses or oxen.  Cobb and Co. along with half a dozen others such as William Kilsby’s “Argus”, the Express Line of Royal Mail Coaches” and the “American Telegraph Line of Coaches” provided regular services to many of the smaller mining towns as well as the main routes to Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine. 

The coaches were of variable quality.  An Englishman traveling from Castlemaine to Maryborough in 1867 noted that the coach was “an odd-looking vehicle drawn by four horses.  The body was simply hung on by straps, innocent of springs ... Away we went at last, at a good pace, over a tolerably good road.  Soon, however, we began to jolt and pitch about, the carriage rolling and rocking from side to side.  There was only one passenger beside myself, a solitary female, who sat opposite me.  I held on tight to the woodwork of the coach, but notwithstanding all my efforts, I got pitched into the lady’s lap more than once.  She seemed to take it very coolly, however, as if it were a mere matter of course.”

Throughout the late 1860’s many ratepayers refused to pay their rates as there were ongoing irregularities at elections.  It doesn’t appear the James Crawford was one of them.  These are the entries in the Maryborough Rate Books:

1864  James Crawford, Contractor, Owner of a wood dwelling &c, Lot 10, Section 16, Value30 pounds, Amount of Rate L1/2/6

1865  same as 1864

1866  same as 1865, rate L2/5/0

1867  James Crawford, Carter, Owner of a wood building, Value 28 pounds, rate L2/16/0

1868  Now classed as a wood house, value 26 pounds, rated at L1/12/6

1869  same as 1868, rated L1/6/0

1870  same as 1869, rated L1/12/6

1871  Again called a wood house, value 24 pounds, rated at L1/10/0

1872  same as 1871

1873  same as 1872 however he now owned an allotment of land next door valued at 5 pounds rated at 6/3

1874  Owner of wood house and land, value 26 pounds, rated at L1/19/0

1875  James Crawford owner of wood house and brick bakery, Robert Crawford Baker) is now the occupier, value 50 pounds, rated at L3/15/0.  James still owned the block of land valued at 5 pound and rated at 7/6

1876  same as 1875

1877  James still owned the buildings, which are now described as brick and wood, however now occupied by someone by the name of Shaw.  Value 50 pounds, rated at L3/15/0.  James still owned the block of land valued at 3 pound and rated at 4/6

1878  same as 1877 however valued at 40 pounds, rated at L3/0/0

1879  same as 1878

James Crawford does not appear in the rates of 1880, however the rates for 1877, 78 and 79 were not paid till 29th September 1880 and then apparently only part paid with a comment for the areas to be struck off.

The land and house are no longer apparent in Maryborough.  They may now form part of the Maryborough Highland Societies club and bowling greens in High Street, however 50m down the street there are the remains of a bakery at the back of a café. We cannot find the documentation to confirm it was their home and bakery, however it does match the 1875 description of a timber dwelling fronting the street with a brick structure separate from the house with the ovens still intact in the wall.  

It wasn’t uncommon to have “kitchens” built separate to timber houses, to avoid fires destroying the entire premises.  There is a good 5m distance between the back of the timber cottage and the brick wall containing the oven.

Both James and Mary Crawford and their sons James Jnr. and John Hamilton as well as their other son Robert James Crawford his wife Ann Elizabeth and daughter Mary had all left Maryborough by 1877 when the town underwent great change with the footpaths being paved in asphalt, many of the public buildings built and water supply secured.  Just when the town was becoming comfortable, Robert James Crawford and his young family left to follow a series of “rush’s” north.

In April 1875, James Crawford, Mary Ann, James jnr and John Hamilton all sailed for London on board the ship “Supurb”.  I believe that James traveled on to Dublin to contest his father’s will, while Mary Ann probably returned to her family home in Comrie, Scotland with the two younger boys.  They left prior to the wedding of Robert and Ann Neale in 1875 and Robert is recorded as the resident of the house in Maryborough, operating a “Bakery”

 Mary Ann Crawford (ne Miller), next appears in the Scottish census of 1881.  At this time she is recorded as living with her mother in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland. There is no record in this census of James Crawford Jnr who would have been 22 or John Hamilton Crawford who would have been 20.  It is highly likely that by this time, James jnr. had graduated from Edinburgh University as a school master and John Hamilton enrolled at Edinburgh University as a medical student.

Meanwhile James Snr was still attempting to have his fathers will overturned.  The will was not a conventional one.  The majority passed on the bulk of the estate to the eldest son.  In Robert’s will, he left all his agricultural land in the hands of a law form with instructions to pay the three sons an annual allowance. With Robert jnr deceased and John Hamilton Crawford in prison, James appealed to have himself declared the main beneficiary. There are numerous reports in the Irish press, over may years, such as the following:

Belfast News-Letter - Saturday 22 July 1882

 RICHARD DONNELLY AND JAMES SANDS V. JAMES CLAWFORD AND OTHERS. The plaintiffs are the executors of Robert Crawford, deceased, late of Magherafelt, and the defendants James Crawford and John Hamilton Crawford, snr., two sons of the original testator. The suit was brought for the administration of the real and personal estate of Robert Crawford, who possessed considerable freehold estate in the County of Antrim. It carne before the Court on further consideration of the Chief Clerk's certificate, and it appearing doubtful whether Robert Crawford, one of the sons of the original testator, to whom an annuity of £120 for his life was devised, were 'alive or dead, the Court was of opinion that before proceeding any further it would be necessary to ascertain this fact by making inquiries in Australia and elsewhere. The principal questions in the case were as to three sums of £120 each left by the testator, whether they were a number of single sums; and secondly, in what way these were to be paid. The first question 'has been already decided, and the second question remains over, together with all the other questions arising in the case. His Lordship directed that the costs of the several defendants, which had been duly taxed in pursuance of the original decree should be paid, and with respect to the costs of the plaintiffs, as they had not been taxed, after intimating that they ought in strictness to be deprived of them altogether, his Lordship allowed that question to remain over also. For the plaintiffs-Mr. Leetch, with Mr. Hugh Holmes, Q.C. (instructed by Mr. John Glover). For the defendant, John Hamilton Crawford- Mr. W. S. Ledwich (instructed by Mr. Wm. J. Brett). For the defendant, Robert Crawford-Mr. Tarleton (instructed by Mr. Thomas M'Clelland). For the defendants, James Crawford, sen., and John Hamilton Crawford, jun.-Mr. West, with Mr. Shackleton, Q.C. (instructed by Mr. West).

We do know that in 1891, the census records Mary living with her son James, at the Duffus School house and that she is recorded as married.  In 1893 on James’s wedding certificate, she is recorded as a widow.  This would suggest that James Crawford died at some time between 1891 and 1893.  We can only assume that he died in Ireland as there are no records in Australia or Scotland.

During this period, James and Mary’s son John Hamilton Crawford was studying at Edinburgh and listed his home address as Kerang, Victoria.  There is no record of James death in the Victorian BDM files, nor in Scottish records.  By citing Kerang as his home address, it is possible that his father James had returned to Australia and was living in Kerang where their other son Robert operated a bakery.  John Hamilton Crawford himself had never lived anywhere in Victoria but Maryborough.

I have searched the census records of 1881 in Ireland and Scotland/UK, and there is no record of James Crawford.  The Irish records for the 1881 and 1891 censuses were pulped during the 1st WW because of the shortage of paper.  As there is no record of him in the Scottish or English census for 1881, I have to assume he was still in Ireland.  His son John Hamilton Crawford listing his home address as Kerang suggested that James had returned to Australia, however I cannot find any record of him entering NSW or Victoria during the 1880’s.

The last significant record of James is a newspaper record of his attempt to overturn his father will, accompanied by his brother John Hamilton Crawford:

Belfast News-Letter - Saturday 22 July 1882

 RICHARD DONNELLY AND JAMES SANDS V. JAMES CLAWFORD AND OTHERS. The plaintiffs are the executors of Robert Crawford, deceased, late of Magherafelt, and the defendants James Crawford and John Hamilton Crawford, sen., two sons of the original testator. The suit was brought for the administration of the real and personal estate of Robert Crawford, who possessed considerable freehold estate in the County of Antrim. It carne before the Court on further consideration of the Chief Clerk's certificate, and it appearing doubtful whether Robert Crawford, one of the sons of the original testator, to whom an annuity of £120 for his life was devised, were 'alive or dead, the Court was of opinion that before proceeding any further it would be necessary to ascertain this fact by making inquiries in Australia and elsewhere. The principal questions in the case were as to three sums of £120 each left by the testator, whether they were a number of single sums; and secondly, in what way these were to be paid. The first question 'has been already decided, and the second question remains over, together with all the other questions arising in the case. His Lordship directed that the costs of the several defendants, which had been duly taxed in pursuance of the original decree should be paid, and with respect to the costs of the plaintiffs, as they had not been taxed, after intimating that they ought in strictness to be deprived of them altogether, his Lordship allowed that question to remain over also. For the'plaintiffs-Mr. Leetch, with Mr. Hugh Holmes, Q.C. (instructed by Mr. John Glover). For the defendant, John Hamilton Crawford- Mr. W. S. Ledwich (instructed by Mr. Wm. J. Brett). For the defendant, Robert Crawford-Mr. Tarleton (instructed by Mr. Thomas M'Clelland). For the defendants, James Crawford, sen., and John Hamilton Crawford, jun.-Mr. West, with Mr. Shackleton, Q.C. (instructed by Mr. West).  

At some point in 1863, James Crawford’s 19 y.o. brother Robert Crawford arrived from Belfast.  We don’t know much more than that he died in hospital at Deniliquin in 1875 at 33 y.o.a. after several years of heart complaints and his death certificate list “unknown” for parents and family.  As you can see form the above, the Irish court required proof that Robert had died and was no longer a beneficiary of his father’s estate.

A copy of the death certificate from the hospital was presented, and a declaration made by his sister-in-law’s (Mary Ann Miller) relatives in Comrie.

We have only two references for him, both from the local paper and neither very helpful. His death at the Deniliquin hospital appears in the hospital's monthly report of 6 June 1875 as simply: .... deaths 1 (Robert Crawford).  The death certificate itself records him as being 33 y.o. and having been in the colonies for 17 years.  This presents us with more unexplained details.  If he arrived in 1863, he was either already 21 years old, or if he was 17 years in the colonies, then he must have arrived in 1858.

The only other reference was in 10 January 1874 when a Robert Crawford was in court claiming ownership of a horse kept by a Thomas Holloway. Holloway stated that he had obtained the horse from a man named Bennett, who claimed to have a partnership with Crawford in the horse but on questioning by police could not prove his claim and the horse was handed over to Crawford.

We speculate that he did spend some time with James but eventually worked as a stockman or perhaps given James occupation as a “Carter/Drayman”, was involved in carting freight between Deniliquin and Echuca. The first paddle steamers were used on the Murray River in 1853, the same year as Cobb and Co., and by the time Robert Crawford came to Victoria, Echuca was an established port.  In 1864 the railway was built from Bendigo to Echuca and from then on, the steamers and drays were used to transport goods to and from Echuca and the railway rather than down the Murray to S.A.In 1868 the N.S.W. and Victorian governments built a huge punt to carry 1000 sheep at a time across the Murray River at Echuca.  Ten years later they built a bridge at a cost of 80,000 pounds.  It was originally planned to be a rail bridge, however the people stormed it when opened and demanded the right to use it for moving stock and carts.  If Robert Crawford was a drayman or carter, the years from 1860 to 1875 when he died were boom years in the northern Victorian and NSW Riverina with Echuca the hub of transport.


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