Alma Dillon notes ex Jenny Mitchell
Source: Alma Dillon 10 Fitzgerald
Nov 1974, Aug 1975
In about early fifties, William (Burton) and
his brother James came to Australia and went mining at
Ballarat. They made money and returned to England. James then had a
grocery shop and William a Butcher shop in Stokeclimsland (border of
Cornwall and Devon)). William and Margaret had two more children, Brad
and Dinah (see tree). After two or three years William returned
to Australia alone and went to Osmonds/ Butchers Flat (Yackandandah?).
His wife and children plus two of her brothers - Sam and Bob
- followed. They sailed from Plymouth Sound on 11 September
William met them at Port Melbourne and with two
drays they walked to Osmonds Flat. Selina's assessment was "Grandmother
drove, i.e., we walked." (Grandmother was Margaret; Selina was talking
to Alma, Margaret's grand-daughter). William and Margaret had
two more children in Australia; Fred and Minnie. The
house at Osmonds Flat had "a dirt floor with bags on it." William had a
butcher's shop for 8 or 9 years - the mines were no longer working at
Osmonds Flat. Jane died the year the family came out, aged 15. She was
buried in Yackandandah Cemetery. William (son) used to tend her grave
till he died (1889). One day he found some red roses growing by it. He
took cuttings which were planted at Climsland (see later). The plant
finally died a few years ago in Essendon (Home of Minnie and Jack
Flentji - see later).
From Osmonds Flat
the Mitchells moved to
Hillsborough where the mines were operative. William built a house ("in
those days people shifted with mining booms"). Bethanga had opened up
between c. 1868 to early 1870s (Minnie was only a little girl). William
built a hut in Bethanga and the men used to camp up there and work.
Sometimes Margaret would stop up there and do the cooking. William
(son) found a mine that they called "Welcome," which was situated at
the top of the hill near the old Methodist Church. The mine was said to
have "more copper than gold in it." William (son) was interested in
buying land and in (1879?) he and Brad rode on horseback as far north
as Queensland, checking out the country (see diaries). On the trip they
stayed with Bob Hawton (Margaret's brother) who had gone mining
at Hill End - top of New South Wales. But in 1879, after his return,
William's diary revealed interest in land outside of Bethanga. Extracts
from his diary:
On 9th December 1879, William (son) records that he
went to Beechworth and applied for the river bend of 200 acres. On 12th
December he was at Finley's sale: "Father bought 418 acres between the
three of us at 92/6 per acre. I bought 325 for myself at 86/- per acre."
5th December 1879 left Hillsborough 6am "went to
Bethanga to peg out the river bend that I applied for last year. I put
the first peg by the river at one o'clock pm. ... I crossed over to the
fence to put in the other peg and saw a peg on the other side of the
fence. ... had a look, that of Archibald Lobban."
To finance the land-buying, the mine
"Welcome" was sold. William (son) got half the money and his father
William and brother Brad who also had shares in it each got one quarter
of the money. William called his land "Whiteford" after a place
in Cornwall where his mother's ancestors lived for hundreds of years.
The land taken on by William (father) and Brad was called "Woodlands."
This was later changed to "Climsland" by Brad's wife. Also Brad
later bought William's share in the Woodlands property.
William initially built two rooms at Whiteford, then
later added rooms to total eight and at one stage nine. He had
"beautiful embossed wall-papering - gold and roses" and dado boards
extending three feet up the wall (i.e., flash, I think). William was
"dying to get married." He went to Melbourne where he met Ellen Cubitt.
He told them at home that "she was smart ... carry as many plates!"
Ellen and her sister worked at a coffee palace (?). Ellen's sister
became engaged to Fred and he gave her a ring but she jilted him and
went to Sydney. She sent the ring back and it was given to Minnie.
On Selina's wedding day she was sitting on the front
verandah at Hillsborough. It was pouring rain. Minnie said "You going
to get ready?". "Thinking about it"' she did. The man she wanted had
"married his cousin at the end of a shotgun." William (son) used to
take the collection. He got really sick of threepences and he wouldn't
put them in the church funds but took them home and locked them up.
When Selina got married William told Art "I've got five pounds worth of
threepences. You can have them to pay the minister if you want to." So
he did. William gave Minnie three pounds worth of threepences to buy
herself a locket; she bought "a nice pearl one."
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