Hector Pope Melville 1833 - 1900

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Hector Pope Melville was born on 26th August 1833 in Doll, Sutherland, Scotland to John Melville and Roberta Pope.  His early life is not documented though the fact that he became a Wheelwright and Coachbuilder suggests that he carried out work associated with those jobs in Scotland.  Since he came from a crofting area he would presumably have been well adapted to carrying out any of the tasks required in an agricultural community. Hector went to Sydney, Australia on the ‘St Helena’ and arrived there on 10th December 1854.  He was unmarried upon arrival but married less than three years later to Eliza Bridget Houilhan and they had at least eleven children.  At the time of his marriage he was described as an ‘ Overseer’ but to what this refers is unclear.  Having an agricultural background it is likely he was engaged in some sort of supervisory work on the land.

In common with almost all of the Doll Melvilles it would appear that he was well educated for the period and was able to read and write.  His wife on the other hand was not able to sign the marriage certificate and signed with her mark, ‘X’ and described herself as a Servant.  Her journey to Australia was probably with her parents John and Catherine on the ‘Samuel Boddington’ either directly or otherwise from Ireland.
Five of the couples eleven children died young.  The first born, John, was almost three years when he died of croup and the second child Robertha was only 1 year and 4 months when she died.  The death certificate appears to indicate the cause of death as ‘Teething’ though what the true causes was is unclear.  If related to teething then it is likely to have been the result of a deep seated infection. The fourth child, Mary Ann, lived somewhat longer but still did not get past her teenage years and dying at the age of fifteen. Children nine and ten, Davina and John, did not even make their first birthdays.  They were twins one of whom died on the day of his birth and the other, Davina, who died after three weeks. It is worth pointing out that even those children who reached adulthood did not reach old age with the exception of Isabella.  Alexander, a second Robertha, Adam and Martha all died in their fifties and the last child, William, died at forty-five.

The Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney is the last resting place of many Melvilles and it is here that Hector Pope Melville, his wife and some of his children are interred.  Hectors stone was fallen and broken in 1996 but wording on the stone was still visible.  Also in the cemetery there is a stone to Hector’s son, Alexander.  This simple stone, with his wife Ada S. James engraved upon it, had some discolouration which made reading difficult but the details could be read.  There were also some lines by Tennyson:

                        ‘Oh for the touch of a vanished hand

                        and the sound of a voice that is still’.

Hector's entries in the Sand’s Directory (Tabulated by Richard Snedden)

1863                                Wheelwright, Regent Street, Newtown

1864                                As above except Kingston not Newtown

1865                                Not listed

1866                                As for 1863 except names spelled as Melvin

1867/68/69         H.P. Melville, Regent Street, Newtown

1870/71              Newtown Road, Newtown

1872                                No Directory

1873                                Newtown Road, Newtown

1874                                No Directory

1875                                Not Listed

1876/77             Denison Street, Newtown

1878                                No Directory

1879/80             Bedford Street, Newtown

1881                                No Directory

1882                                Coachbuilder, Bedford Street, Newtown

1883/84/85/86   Bedford Street, Newtown

1887/88             5 Bedford Street, Newtown

1889                               Wheelwright and Coachbuilder, Bedford Street

1890                               Bedford Street

1891/92/93        Bedford Street

1894                               Baltic Street, Newtown

1895/96             Bedford Street

1897                               19 Bedford Street

1898/99             7 Bedford Street

1900                                19 Bedford Street

1901                                Bedford Street

1902                                Hector Pope Melville  not listed but 7 Bedford Street, Melville Bros. Coachbuilders; 19 Bedford Street, Alexander Melville.

1903                                As for 1902

1904/05/06        As Above

1907                                Alex. Melville listed for 7 and 19 Bedford Street as Coachbuilder

1908                                No Melville Brothers listed as Coachbuilders.  At 7 Bedford Street, Newtown – Swift and Robertson, Coachbuilders.

1909 & after      Alex. Listed at 19 Bedford Street.

It would appear that after Hector’s death in 1900 sons Alexander and Adam took over the business.  Alexander appears to be the sole owner in 1907 and to have sold the business in time for it to be entered in the 1908 directory under the new owners.

7 Bedford Street, Newtown seems to be the business address and 19 Bedford Street the residence.

In the years where ‘No Directory’ is listed there was none present at the time of search but it is not clear if there was not one published or if it was just not available.

All address are Newtown. 

Hector Pope Melville died in 1900 but apparently his entry was not deleted until the 1902 edition.


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