My first home was on a Squattleseamere Closer Settlement block. Squattleseamere had initially been taken up by Thomas Browne but the second owners of the licence, George Simpson and his younger brother Crawford, are the subject of this article.
Although the Crawfords’ purchase of the pastoral licence and their sale later on are not officially recorded in the surviving pastoral run archives I have known for many years that the Simpsons were definitely on Squattleseamere. This is because a story has been passed down of how Crawford was gored by the imported bull Exhibition and subsequently died of his injuries.
Charles Macknight, one of the partners on Dunmore, regarded the Simpsons as proprietors of Squattleseamere. Furthermore, whenever Macknight writes of the Simpsons he writes of them as equals, as fellow squatters. Indeed whenever one of the Simpsons visited Dunmore it was generally in the company of other nearby squatters as such Medley (formerly of Snakey Creek), McGregor (of Ardonachie) or Phillips (of Tarrone).
When Dunmore mustered cattle for market in March each year those belonging to neighbouring squatters, including the Simpsons, were drafted out. Later in the year mares were accepted from neighbours and Dunmore mares were sent to horses owned by other squatters, including the Simpsons at Squattleseamere.
George Simpson was born in Old Deer, Aberdeenshire in 1830. In 1853, five young men, including a George Simpson, emigrated from the nearby port of Peterhead to Port Phillip. Two years later, George’s younger brother, Crawford, arrived in Melbourne aboard the Marco Polo. It’s not only the official passenger lists that confirm these voyages but associated newspaper entries at the time.
It seems that the Crawford brothers initially worked on Cato’s run where Crawford’s misfortunes started. In 1858 Crawford fell from his horse but his foot was caught in a stirrup and he was dragged. One of Cato’s shepherds found him unconscious. Crawford was so severely injured he wasn’t expected to live.
So perhaps the brothers were taken in by the claim in the sale notice for Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek stations that the cattle were quiet. Thomas Brown had first advertised the sale of his runs in 1857 but it wasn’t until June 1859 that J H Clough and Co finally reported the sale. Unfortunately, the purchaser wasn’t mentioned.
In October 1859 George Simpson married Jane Lyell, a sister of John Cato’s wife Margaret. On the same day another sister, Alison, married a John Simpson.
Then tragedy struck. On 10 Nov 1859 Macknight recorded that Mr Simpson was nearly killed by the bull. George was also injured. George recovered but Crawford died of his injuries three days later.
The runs were sold in 1862, presumably by George Simpson although no mention of the vendor is reported. He had been on Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek runs for just over three years.
NEWSPAPER SOURCES ACCESSED FROM TROVE NEWSPAPERS INCLUDED:
The Age (Melbourne) 17 Nov 1859 p3
The Argus (Melbourne) 12 Jul 1855 p8
The Argus (Melbourne) 5 OCT 1858 p4 c3 Fearful Accident
The Argus (Melbourne) 30 July 1857 p8
Ballarat Star (Ballarat) 24 Jun 1859
OTHER SOURCES ACCESSED INCLUDED:
R V Billis and A S Kenyon, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, Second Edition (Melbourne, Victoria: Stockland Press, 1974)
Charles Hamilton Macknight, “Dunmore Journals” (MS, Melbourne, Victoria, 1840 – 1873); State Library of Victoria. (Copy of Macknight sisters transcript 1929 held privately).
Find My Past (http://www.findmypast.com.au/)
Public Record Office of Victoria “Index to Unassisted Immigrants from the United Kingdom 1852-1923” (www.prov.vic.gov.au)