William Melville 1829 –
1897 son of Henry Melville and Christina Gordon
William was born at
Uppat, Golspie, Sutherland on 28 September 1829. He emigrated
to Australia arriving in Victoria in 1852
and was not long there when he went into partnership in that year
with William Bayles. A company
was formed in Melbourne called
Bayles and Melville and this was the start of an illustrious
career in business and public life for William Melville.
There are various
references in the press in Victoria to the
business interests of William and his partner. In 1865 it
would appear they invested in ‘station property’ relating to
farming land. Part
of this investment involved the purchase of Weerangourt Station in Victoria which
later became the sole property of William Melville. The
Hamilton Spectator mentions the receipt of tenders for the
erection of a Bluestone Woolshed at Weerangourt Station, Byaduk in
1867 and in 1870 it has three entries relating to the Station. The first
13 April 1870 – ‘ SALE OF
WEERANGOURT due to the Expiration of Partnership of Bayles and
acres (about 10,00 acres freehold) Total of 19,348 sheep, 96
cattle, 17 horses, 20 paddocks watered by two steams, five
roomed dwelling house, overseer’s house built of bluestone, new
woolshed also bluestone and roofed with iron.’ Just
three days later there is the announcement of the withdrawal of
the sale and then in June 1870 a further entry states – ‘Transfer of Land
Statue. William Bayles in the city of Melbourne, Merchant and
William Melville, of the same city, Merchant have applied to
bring the Land described under the above statute. Crown
Pre-emptive Section A, 640 acres parish of Weerangourt, county of Normanby ’. The
suggestion from all of this is that a sale was planned and then
alternative arrangements were made to continue the Bayles and
Another indication of
the partnerships property holding is a reference to the sentencing
of a thief in September 1876 to two tears in prison for the theft
of sheep skins from Bayles and Melville’s station at Moyne Falls . A later
press reference in 1884 to this station of 11,300 acres indicates
its sale by Hon. William Bayles to a Mr John Robertson of ‘Skene’, Hamilton , Victoria . This report
does not mention William so by that stage he may have already sold
his stake to his partner. This sale to
his partner could be related to a change at Weerangourt Station in
1882 requiring redirecting of finance when the partnership lease
of Bayles and Melville was cancelled and William Melville took
sole control. An
entry in the Hamilton Spectator of 28 February 1882 states, ‘Stock and
Stations – Sold A/C Bayles and Melville, “Weerangourt Estate”
14,192 acres freehold, with stock – 15,505 sheep, 518 cattle, 27
horses, to Wm. Melville’.
In 1858 William
Melville had married Annie MacDonald the daughter of John
MacDonald and Charlotte Fleming. Annie was
born on 9 Oct 1834 in Golspie, Sutherland , Scotland according
to the IGI. Unfortunately, the marriage ended with the early death
of Annie in 1859. She
was aged 29 years but did leave a surviving son, William Hendry
On 18 April 1867
William Melville married for a second time to Annette Margaret
were married at the residence of her father James J. Bayles Esq.,
J.P., ‘Rokeby’, Macquarie River , Tasmania . William was
described as being of Weerangourt Station , Victoria . The details
were given in the Hamilton Spectator of 1 May 1867.
Between 1868 and 1867
the Hamilton Spectator reported the birth of seven children to the
couple as below though this is an abridged version of the
1868 at Weerangourt a daughter, Alice Eleanor.
1870 at Rokeby, Macquarie River , Tasmania a son,
1871 at Weerangourt a daughter, Florence Rosabell.
25 May 1871 at
Weerangourt a son, Albert Emerson.
1875 at Weerangourt a son, Frederick Leslie.
1878 at Weerangourt a daughter, Annette Bayles.
28 July 1884
at Weerangourt a son, Gordon Arthur.
William Melville died
on 7 September 1897 and his death was reported in the Spectator on
9 September. This
followed a report two days earlier referring to an illness at his
home in Macarthur – ‘Macarthur,
The serious illness of Mr Melville, which was reported here on
Saturday, has aroused much sympathy for that gentleman, and
anxious enquiries are constantly made as to his condition. The
sanguine hope that he will make a good recovery is warmly
report of William Melville’s funeral appeared in the Spectator
on 11 September under the heading ‘The Late Mr Melville’.
'The general esteem which the late Mr. William
Melville of Weerangourt, was held, was amply testified by the
large concourse that attended on Thursday to pay the last
token of’ respect. The cortege, even when it had reached
Monivae, was a very long one, notwithstanding that
several residing at a great distance from Hamilton had
previously left it, and as it approached the town it
continually received additions until finally there were
between forty and fifty well—filled vehicles of all
A noticeable and
most commendable feature in connection with it was the great
simplicity of the arrangements, no nodding plumes, no pall, in
fact no show at all beyond an affectionate one furnished by
the numerous wreaths and crosses, sent to the bereaved family
On arriving at
the cemetery, the coffin was carried to the grave by the four
stalwart sons of the deceased gentleman, assisted by Mr. J.R.
Learmonth and Mr. F.C. Cavenagh, who also lowered the
coffin to its final resting place in the family burial
ground, alongside the grave of a daughter of the deceased who
died in 1890.
The Rev. W.C.
Wallace officiated at the grave, and seldom has a larger crowd
of mourners from all parts of the district assembled in the
Presbyterian or any other division of our cemetery.’
The will made by William was reported upon, again
on the Spectator, on 14 October 1897 and shows the great extent
of his estate and generosity of his final bequests.
‘The will of’ the late William
Melville, formerly of’ Weerongurt, in the county of’ Normanby,
sheep farmer, was lodged with the Registrar of’ Probates on
Tuesday. The deceased gentleman made his will on the 1st.
August 1896, and died on the 7th. ult. The value of’ his
estate is sworn at £56,951., consisting of’ real
property valued at £49,776., and personally valued at
The testator made the following charitable bequests,
directing that the legacy should be invested in Government
securities, and the annual income paid in each case to the
maintenance fund of the
institution named: - Presbyterian Church,
(Macarthur)£200. ,Church of England,
(Macarthur)£100.,Presbyterian Church, (
Byaduk)£100.,Hamilton Hospital and Benevelent
Asylum,(£200.,) Hamilton Ladies Benevelent
Asylum,(£100). To his nephew Henry Melville Turner, he
bequeathed £100.; and the residue of his estate to his
widow and children.’
high esteem in which William Melville was held and his loss to
his local church were evidenced by the erection of a mural
tablet on the church wall and by the Spectators report of the
‘Unveiling the Mural Tablet
in the Macarthur Presbyterian Church
It is pleasing to record that the congregation of the
Macarthur Presbyterian Church to which the Rev. W.C.
Wallace, M.A. ministers, have not
been unmindful of the services rendered by the late Mr.
William Melville, than whom there was no more regular
attendant, and whose death caused a gap that will take a great
deal of filling.
A very handsome marble tablet has been erected on the south
wall of the church, and a good number assembled on Sunday
morning when the tablet was unveiled. At the close of the
service the Rev, preacher said that he now had a duty to
perform that was at the same time sad and pleasing. Sad
inasmuch as it recalled the bereavement which the congregation
and the whole community had sustained in the death of Mr. Melville.
This had felt to be a personal loss by almost every member
of the community, and though a little over a year had
passed since his death, it had only accentuated the sense of
They had had forebodings that his removal would have meant a
severe loss to the church, and these fears were not
groundless, but he (the speaker) reminded them that when God
recalled servants from their work in the fields, it was not
because the work was done, but in order to distribute it over
the number who were left to work. He was glad to turn to the
pleasing feature of his duty that day, viz:- the Mural tablet,
which had been placed in the church.
This as he regarded it, was not really to commemorate the
character and work of the late Ir. Melville, but also to be a
reminder to them of all the increased obligation laid on them
by his death to fill the blank, which it had caused. This was
the one way in which they could truly commemorate his memory,
by giving themselves more heartily to the work their late
friend had so much at heart, and striving to cultivate the
virtues they commemorated. Then, and only then, would the
legend at the foot of the tablet “He being dead yet speaketh”
become a reality.
The Rev. W. C. Wallace, then asked Mr. J. R. Learmonth, as
Mr.Melville’s oldest surviving friend, to unveil the tablet,
which bore the following:-
In Memory of
WILLIAM MELVILLE ESQ
A founder of this church, and for thirty—two years an active
and generous benefactor of church and district. who died 7th.
This tablet is erected by friends in affectionate
remembrance of a valued friend and a worthy citizen.
“He being dead, yet speaketh”.
This tablet which is of beautiful workmanship, was executed
and supplied by Messrs. Ballantyne, of Swanston St.,
Melbourne, and was subscribed for by friends in and outside
Annette Margaret Melville ( ms Bayles),
the wife of William Melville died on 8 July 1920 at 7 Irving Avenue , Armadale , Victoria . Her
former address had been ‘Rokeby’, Hamilton and, as stated by
her death notice, she was widow of the late William Melville
of ‘Weerangourt’ near Byaduk. She was
Presbyterian, born near Rokeby, Campbelltown , Tasmania . After
her marriage to William she went to live at Weerangourt. The
funeral notice indicated her burial to be in Melbourne and
listed her children as Miss Alice E Melville, Mrs C E Nunn,
James B Melville, Albert E Melville, Frederick Leslie Melville
and Gordon A Melville.
Following the death of
Annette Melville two reports in the Spectator ( 17 July 1920
and 23 October 1920) gave information regarding her bequests
and the value of her estate.
‘The late Mrs. William Melville, whose death we noted in a
recent issue, was born at Rokeby near Campbelltown , Tasmania ,
nearly 79 years ago. The members of her family surviving her
are Miss Alice E. Melville, and Mrs. C.E. Nunn, and Messrs.
James B. Melville, Albert E. Melville, F.L. Melville, and
Gordon A. Melville.
During her sojourn at “Weerangourt” and later in Hamilton where
she lived for several years, the late Mrs. Melville took a
quiet interest in everything that made for the progress and
advancement of Byaduk, Macarthur, and Hamilton. This interest
is emphasised by the following bequests under her will,
namely:— Byaduk Mechanics Institute,£100., Macarthur
Presbyterian Church, in aid of the endowment fund for the
minister’s stipend,£100., Widows and Orphans
Fund(Presbyterian Church), £30., Aged and Infirm
minister’s fund,£30., Hamilton Presbyterian Church
Sunday School,£30., Hamilton Hospital and Benevelent
Asylum,£25., and Christ Church Sunday School at
Union Trustee Company of Australia Limited, is making
application for a grant of Letters of Administration, with the
will annexed, in the estate of ~ Annette
Margaret Melville, late of Irving Road, Armadale, and formerly
of Hamilton, widow, who died on the 8th. day of July, 1920.
Deceased left personal estate in Victoria valued
at £7, —13—7(these figures are indistinct) which, after
the payment of certain legacies, goes to her children in the
terms of her will. There are also assets in Tasmania .’