Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2023

John Tyson Part 3 – Meet Midnight

Today we continue the stories of John Tyson, a pioneer of our region and fascinating chap, and we ride back in time to appreciate the importance horses played in everyday life. Alex Cameron, a young lad who worked for John Tyson for about six months around 1860, was heading home to Melton one Saturday night, riding “Midnight”, John’s horse. As Alex rode through the Box Forest to the top of Stamford Hill (west of Bacchus Marsh township), he was chased down by one of the three bushrangers camping in the forest. However, it wasn’t Alex they were after – it was the horse, who proved too fast to be caught. Horse racing was a frequent pastime. John was a proud member of the Bacchus Marsh Cavalry. The Victorian Racing Club conducted a racing program for cavalry horses, with prize money of over £100. John won with his prized horse “Midnight”, a well-bred, jet-black beauty. Weekly horse races were conducted in early 1867 and the Annual Ballan jumps races were held on 30 March 1867. John, as al

John Tyson Part 2 - Heading-banging blacksmith, mishaps and controversy aplenty

We continue our tale of John Tyson, following his adventures throughout Myrniong and Bacchus Marsh in the late 1800s. Whilst assisting some workmen in July 1868 to pull down the old blacksmith’s workshop to make way for a new one, John Tyson met with a rather nasty accident. As he passed under a beam, it fell on him, injuring his shoulder, fracturing a bone in his hand and, more seriously, cutting his head badly in a few places resulting in him narrowly escaping death. As fortune would have it, Dr William Bone was close by at the time and promptly attended to the patient. The newspapers were pleased to report on their “respected neighbour” John Tyson as being “out of danger and progressing favourably”. Dr Bone first arrived at Bacchus Marsh in September 1865 and lived at Parkside Cottage, Stamford Hill, where he also conducted his medical practice. He and his wife quickly became respected members of the community. However, 1867 brought controversy which hit the national papers and the

John Tyson Part 1 – From farrier to publican

John Tyson arrived in the Pentland Hills area around 1856 however it was not until 1879 that he purchased The Plough Hotel after spending the previous 23 years as an integral contributor to the establishment of our township and his new life in Australia. Editor's warning: there are numerous "Johns" mentioned in this story, so I suggest you concentrate! John Tyson was born in Sandwith, Cumberland (now Cumbria) England in 1823 and worked in that region as a Blacksmith until 30 years of age when he boarded the ship "Fulwood" in Liverpool and sailed to Australia as an unassisted passenger, accompanied by his older sister Mary and her husband John Johnson. He quickly found his way to Bacchus Marsh, working as a blacksmith for an old town identity and its first blacksmith since 1851 – Vere Quaille (a.k.a. Quail, Quayle). The forge was located near the corner of Main Street and Gisborne Road, Bacchus Marsh, and a set of horseshoes cost £1. It was mid 1850s, when John s

A promise is a promise

George Drysdale was born in Scotland in August 1830 and emigrated to Australia late in 1854, 6 months after his father died. Shortly after his arrival, George set up shop as a wheelwright in Bacchus Marsh in 1855 employing apprentice Robert Grant. Before long, he joined blacksmith John Tyson, creating a business on the old Melbourne Road, Pentland Hills, close to the McCluskey’s “Rose Hill” homestead. George was paid 15 shillings a day. A year later, George married a local Bacchus Marsh girl, Robina McIntyre, who had arrived in the region around the same time as George. They immediately started a family, working hard to establish themselves in their community. However, things soon turned awry when a sweetheart of George’s from Dunbar, Scotland, arrived on the scene in January 1857 after having followed George from Scotland as was their promise to each other. During the Supreme Court case in August 1857, Henrietta sought to recover £150 damages for this breach of promise, it was reveale

A chance sighting changed everything!

Charles Henry Dawson was born in London in 1833 where he grew up with his family before they all immigrated to Australia, arriving in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria in August 1851. Within 2 years, he married Bridget Hogan at St James Church in Melbourne on 21 June 1853. They settled in Myrniong having four children within 9 years. Bridget was a skilled dressmaker, while Charles tried his hand at a variety of jobs including the mounted police, a Labourer, a Digger and even a Cab & Dray driver. Not long after the birth of their fourth child, Charles and Bridget both agreed for Charles to head to Queensland in the pursuit of better employment prospects, with the expectation of him sending for her and the kids within three months. This was in August 1862 and it wasnt for another 6 years before Bridget set eyes on him again! Charles did write to Bridget after he left in 1862 however there was a two-year gap between the first letter and the second one. His inability to correspond was replica