| Hector Pope Melville 1833 -
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.
& after Alex. Listed at 19
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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