THE REGISTER OF THE PIONEERS OF THE
PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT OF NSW


The official census of the Port Phillip District of March 1851, recorded a total population of 77,345 but in order to establish a figure of the total number of people who had settled or been born in the Port Phillip District up to that time it is necessary to consider the number of deaths and overseas departures that had taken place.

The Port Phillip Pioneers Group is fortunate in that one of its early members, Mr. Lester Roy Stephen, in or about 1975, embarked on an ambitious project to research and record the name of every non-indigenous person who had ever lived in the Port Phillip District during the period of settlement up to 30th June, 1851.

Mr. Stephen worked tirelessly at this work for the next 35 years and amassed an enormous amount of information which has now been digitised by the Group with the assistance of the Genealogical Society of Victoria. Though not available on the Internet, it may be consulted at PPPG meetings. This data base is known as 'The Register of the Pioneers of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales' compiled by Lester Roy Stephen, F.G.S.V.

Some samples of the type of information contained in this Register are:

Alexander Brunton

A Mr. Brunton was a cabin passenger on the "Agnes and Elizabeth" (a schooner of 74 tons, Captain J. Mitchell), which departed Hobart, Van Diemen's Land on 25 January 1840 and arrived at Melbourne, Port Phillip, on 30 January 1840. ( Ref: Passengers - Interstate Inwards, 1840 )

Brunton, Alexander (cabinet maker) late of Hobart was buried on 10 October 1840, aged 30 years. ( "Presbyterian records of the Old Melbourne Cemetery found in the New South Wales Archives" by Bernard Grayden )

Located in the Protestant Section of the Old Melbourne Cemetery was a grave - a piece of white marble lying on a bluestone platform. This reads "Alexander Brunton (late of Hobart Town) Cabinet Maker, died at Melbourne, 8th October 1840, aged 30 years. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord." Isaac Selby comments: "Brunton represents the successful working man. I knew his daughter who was a wealthy woman by virtue of the property he bought in early Melbourne. John Ross bought a section of land of which Alston's Corner is a part. He paid £ 32 for it, and resold a portion to Brunton for £ 606. It is now a part of 'The Block'. He was buried in the cemetery a little over three years after it opened." ( "The Memorials of Early Melbourne" by Isaac Selby - published 1924, p. 390; No. 274 )

Alexander Brunton, of Melbourne (first part) purchased from Peter Virtue and Alexander Miller; both of Melbourne, Gentlemen, on the 16 March 1840 (date of conveyance) - part of allotment 1, section 12, which had a frontage of 30 feet to Collins Street and a frontage of 30 feet to Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, for which Brunton paid £ 320. (Note: This block was part of land originally purchased by John Ross, a carpenter, of Melbourne). Alexander made his will on the 14 July 1840 appointing James Forbes, of Melbourne, a Presbyterian Minister and John Brown, of Melbourne, a builder as his trustees and executors. He directed that following the completion of the building on the above land, they were to gather the rents and apply them for the future benefit of his daughter Elizabeth in trust, she then under the care of Mr. John Williat of Evandale, Van Diemen's Land. He directed that his daughter be sent to his sister (Mrs. Elizabeth Farquhar of Edinburgh, Scotland) with all possible speed. In his will Brunton also mentions his brothers James, John, George, Adam, Andrew and Ephraim. ( The Port Phillip Pioneer Register - Image Nos. 6761 & 6762 )


[David and Alexina Duncan]

David and Alexina Duncan

Mr. Duncan and his wife Alexina voyaged to Port Phillip on the first settlers' ship, the "David Clark" in 1839. After putting his hand to a variety of jobs, in 1848 Mr. Duncan became a member of the provisional committee to report on the formation of "The Victorian Horticultural Society". In that same year the Port Phillip Farmers Society was formed - consisting of the parent body ( later the National Agricultural Society ) and the Royal Agricultural Society and three branches: Mornington, Bacchus Marsh and Gisborne. For his efforts Mr. Duncan was presented with a five piece silver tea service. The family held the gift for 135 years before his great-grand-daughter, Miss Butcher, presented it to the Royal Agricultural Society in 1987. The first show took place around a ploughing match on "la Rose" farm in Moonee Ponds in 1848. By 1856 the total value of money prizes, portraits of animals, gold and silver medals awarded was £ 640/12/-. Needless to say the show has grown beyond all expectations and continues to delight young and old today.


[Thomas Napier]

Thomas Napier

In the Supreme Court - Napier v. Snodgrass (defendant) & Chisholm v. Snodgrass
On Monday, the 4th day of April 1842, at the Lamb Inn, Melbourne, the Deputy-Sherriff will cause to be sold, and to be delivered at the station - about 2724 ewes, 867 mixed stock, 660 rams and wethers, 1,600 lambs, 250 horned cattle ( mixed ), 1 grey mare ( Baroness ), unless those executions are previously satisfied. ( "Port Phillip Gazette" Melbourne, 26 March 1842)

The Wesleyans hold the first Bazaar in Melbourne on the 20th December, 1843. Its purpose was to raise funds towards the liquidation of the debt on the Wesleyan ( Church ). It was held at the Mechanics' Institute and lasted two days. Two oil paintings ( faithfully executed ) of the aborigines, the gift of Mr. Thomas Napier, were donated. ( "The Chronicles of Early Melbourne 1835 to 1852" Edmund Finn [Garryowen] vol. 1, p. 155 )


( The above are randomly selected sample entries from
"The Register of the Pioneers of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales"
by Lester Stephen - PPPG Member No. 56. The Register is available for viewing at PPPG Meetings. )

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