Glen Donald

Chapter 13

Published Nov, 2010

The picturesque 'Glen Donald' homestead was built around 1864 for the McDonald family. John (1853-1929) and Susan (nee Underwood, 1860-1946) McDonald and their children are pictured left to right - Jane, Christina, John (Jack) Henry, Harold, Donald, Susan (nee Underwood), Alice, John and Emily. It is believed Ruby took the photo. Photo and information from the author's friend and cousin, Pamela Goodey

…John and Christina McDonald called their selection Glen Donald and commenced clearing land to establish a small farm and orchard along the Arthurs Creek…

John and Christina McDonald arrived in Port Phillip from Liverpool as assisted passengers in the immigrant ship ‘Theodore’, on 8 December 1852. Their eldest son John was born in Collingwood not long after their arrival.

John senior was a crofter and shepherd from Laggan in the Badenoch district of Invernesshire in the Scottish Highlands. He was some 20 years older than his wife Christina (nee Kennedy). Both were Gaelic speakers indented to Captain Aneas McPherson, ‘manager of Thomas Walker’s estate along the Plenty River’.

John and Christina lived at Yan Yean before selecting land of their own at Arthurs Creek in 1864, ‘near where … Charles Draper and John Ryder lived’. They called their selection ‘Glen Donald’ and commenced clearing land to establish a small farm and orchard along the Arthurs Creek. A comfortable homestead was built on the east side of the Arthurs Creek for their growing family of 5 sons and 2 daughters.

Christina ‘was ever of an hospitable nature’. A story is told that when Mrs. Charlotte Roberts died in September 1867 at the early age of 27, ‘she left a baby a few days old, …the husband was wondering what to do with it when Mrs. McDonald arrived on the scene carrying her own baby, the late Mr. Owen (Ewen) McDonald (born May 1867), …she quickly settled matters by putting the baby on her own breast, and reared it along with her own. That is the way in which they helped one another in those days. A wonderful old lady was the late Mrs. Stewart’ (formerly Mrs. McDonald).

John senior died at age 70 in December 1869. John junior, at age 16, took over the running of the family farm with assistance from his mother Christina and her young family.

In 1874, Christina married her neighbour Cornelius John (Scottie) Stewart. Stewart, a carpenter and builder, ‘was born in Fifeshire, Scotland and came to Australia in July 1865’. The couple lived together in a nearby house built by Stewart. Both were actively involved with the building of the Primitive Methodist Church at Arthurs Creek, which was officially opened in November 1873.

In December 1878 John junior married Susan Underwood. Together they worked hard to develop the Glen Donald farm and orchard and raise a family of five girls and three boys. John was an original member of the Arthurs Creek Fruitgrowers’ Association when it was formed in May 1890. He died in March 1929 at age 76 and Susan in June 1946 at the age of 86.

In July 1903, there was a large gathering at Arthurs Creek for the wedding of Emily Jane McDonald, the eldest daughter of John and Susan, to John Herbert J.P. of Nutfield. Herbert, who was 24 years older than Emily, is said to have unsuccessfully courted her mother Susan and to have said that ‘If I cannot have you as my wife, I shall wait and have your first daughter’. His patience was well rewarded.

In November 1913, (Jack) John Henry McDonald, the eldest son of John and Susan, married Julie Catherine Draper, the only daughter of the late (Bill) William Plenty Draper and his wife (Bel) Elinor Isabel Prout Williams formerly of ‘Dishleigh’, Arthurs Creek. Bel’s mother, Mrs. Julie Williams, was the second Headteacher at the Arthurs Creek Primary School (1887-88).  Jack and Julie raised a family of six children, (three boys and three girls). Their first farming venture near Yea was not a success. The family spent some time living in the former McDonald cottage opposite the Glen Donald homestead. (In later years this cottage was used by Don McDonald as a shearing shed.) Jack who ‘had a great love of horses’ became a teamster. The family moved to Murrindindi where for many years Jack and his team were well known as a contractor with the Murrindindi timber mills. Jack is said to have rarely dismounted from his big chestnut horse, when riding at Arthurs Creek, as he would jump the fences.

There was a large gathering at ‘Glen Donald’ to celebrate the 90th birthday of Christina Stewart (formerly Mrs. McDonald) on 12 February 1917. The celebration took place over four days. The Evelyn Observer reported that ‘Mrs. Stewart (was) renowned for possessing a large heart, a kind and Christian-like spirit.’ Christina died in Bendigo ‘at the ripe age’ of 93 years.

Donald McDonald the youngest child of John and Susan was born in 1894. He remained with the farm and orchards on the death of his brother Harold Underwood McDonald in France during the First World War and his father John in March 1929. Don married (Dolly) Effie Eliza Thomas in 1921. Donald and Effie had three daughters – Effie who died as an infant, Gwen, and Norma May McDonald who married ‘Sandy’ Alexander Brock.

The Glen Donald orchards were grubbed out during the 1930s and the land given over to pasture for sheep and cattle grazing. Don died on 11 April 1957. Dolly continued living at Glen Donald until the mid 1970s. The McDonald estate was progressively sub-divided and sold, including the picturesque Glen Donald family home and homestead overlooking the Arthurs Creek. Dolly McDonald died on 5 July 1983 at age 89.

Source : Notes from the McDonald family provided by Ross McDonald.

'From Laggan to Arthur's Creek : the McDonald family history and connections with the Draper family, Charnwood'. Written and presented by the author's friend and cousin, Ross McDonald, published in 2010. Image credit Ross McDonald
'Seeds of Yesterday : the Fruit of Tomorrow : the McDonald, Draper and Underwood Families : Pioneer Orchardists and Farmers of Arthur's Creek' written by the author's friend and cousin, Pam Goodey, published in 2010. The cover illustration shows Evan McDonald photographed on Turnbull’s Hill, superimposed over a photo of Pam’s grandfather’s draught horse team taking a load of timber from the Murrindindi sawmill to Cheviot train station. Pam’s grandfather John 'Jack' McDonald married Charles Draper’s granddaughter, Julie. Image credit Pam Goodey
The McDonald family at 'Glen Donald' in July 1903, when there was a large gathering at Arthurs Creek for the wedding of Emily Jane McDonald, the eldest daughter of John and Susan, to John Herbert J.P. of Nutfield. Herbert, who was 24 years older than Emily, is said to have unsuccessfully courted her mother Susan and to have said that ‘If I cannot have you as my wife, I shall wait and have your first daughter’. Photo credit McDonald, Underwood, Goodey families
Christina and Cornelius Stewart, with John McDonald (Jnr) and Susan standing behind them, at a McDonald family gathering at 'Glen Donald', July 1903. John McDonald died at age 70 in December 1869. John junior, at age 16, took over the running of the family farm with assistance from his mother Christina and her young family. In 1874, Christina married her neighbour Cornelius John (Scottie) Stewart. Photo credit McDonald, Underwood, Goodey families
Visitors in the garden at 'Charnwood' c 1900. Left to Right: Charles Draper (1825 -1909), possibly a journalist, John McDonald (1853-1929), Jessie Ellen Fisher (1867- 1933), Maude Underwood (1891 – 1978, daughter of Emma Draper), and Emily 'May' Clinton (1881 - 1974, later Mrs John Charles Draper). The Garden Gazette reported that ‘After dinner our next move was across the creek and up the opposite slope, … to the vineyard, and through the vines, which were looking lusty and vigorous with promise of a good crop, after which we naturally adjourned to the wine cellar, for Mr. Draper, in addition to being a skilled horticulturist … , is also his own wine maker, producing a sound, dry white of excellent character.’ John McDonald’s son, John Henry McDonald (1888-1954) married Charles Draper’s granddaughter, Julie Catherine Draper (1891-1968), daughter of William Plenty Draper (1855-1907). This photo is special to both families for picturing these two Arthurs Creek pioneers together. They were close friends and neighbours before becoming family. Photo credit McDonald, Underwood and Draper families
On the veranda at ‘Charnwood’ c 1896. Left to right back row: Mary Jane Draper (1859-1911), William Plenty Draper (1855-1907), James Draper (1863-1940). Front row: Fanny Catherine Draper ( 1866-1944), Charles Draper (1825-1909), Louisa Ann Dorothy Draper (1870-1938). Sitting on floor: John Charles Draper (1881-1959, child of Joseph and Hannah Draper). Fanny was home visiting ‘Charnwood’ to arrange her dowry and wedding plans. Fanny sailed on the ‘Orizaba’ on 29 August 1896 for England and was married at Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire in November 1896. Joseph Charles Draper (1851–1902) and his wife Hannah (1857–1923, nee Laidlay) sent their eldest son John down from Glenburn, to stay with his grandfather Charles, for schooling at Arthurs Creek. In August 1896 The Evelyn Observer reported on the party given to send off Fanny to England; ‘cordial welcome and good cheer awaited all, the burly and general squire of Charnwood taking it as a delight to entertain his guests’. Information credit Ross McDonald and Lionel Draper. Photo credit McDonald and Draper families
Left to right back row: John Charles Draper (1881-1968), James Draper (1863-1940), Mary Jane Draper (1859-1911). Front row: S.W. Atkinson, Mrs Atkinson (housekeeper to Mr Nicholson), Mr Nicholson, Miss Mary Ann Andrew (1869-1965, later Mrs Henry Boyce of Deepdene Nursery). Photo taken between 1893 and 1903. Information credit Ross McDonald, Lionel Draper and Pam Goodey. Photo credit McDonald and Draper families
Christina (formerly Mrs John McDonald senior) and Cornelius John Stewart, married in 1974, following the death of John McDonald in 1869. Photo credit McDonald family
Off the main road north to Inverness is the village of Laggan, tiny in size but large in the history of Scottish pipes and drums where the McPherson (MacPherson) and McDonald (MacDonald) families played a large role. Many important Arthurs Creek events were accompanied by the haunting and stirring sounds of the bagpipes, and still are to this day. The Evelyn Observer in 1901 reported that the evening at the Mechanics Institute, Arthurs Creek ‘was interspersed with toasts, recitations, songs and selections on the bagpipes’. The author's grandson plays in the Pipes and Drums. Photo credit Pipes Drums magazine edited and published by Andrew Berthoff
Early invitation from the Arthurs Creek Fruit and Progress Association c 1912. Image credit Draper family
Harold Underwood McDonald. Killed in France, 5th May, 1917 at only 26 years of age. Photo credit McDonald and Underwood families
Memorial to Harold Underwood McDonald, PTE/2701 57th Battn., K.I.A. 15th May 1917, aged 26 years. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
Harold Underwood McDonald, PTE/2701 57th Battn., K.I.A. 15th May 1917, aged 26 years
Flood waters in Arthurs Creek. An historic photo of the valley by the Macmillan family, who had the selection adjoining the McDonald family. Photo credit Macmillan family
Mr and Mrs Hammett with students at Arthurs Creek State School in the 1890's. Headteacher, Mr. Frederick W. Hammett, was also the first Arthurs Creek postmaster
Elinor Isabel (known as Isabel, Bel or Bella) Draper (nee Williams), 1859 - 1932. Isabel was the mother of Julie Catherine McDonald (nee Draper). Bel and her husband William Plenty Draper were active supporters of the Hazelglen Hall. Photo c 1910. Photo and information credit Pam Goodey
Looking across ‘Glen Donald’ on the east side of the Arthurs Creek, with the Village Smithy (the Blacksmith's workshop) to the right at the corner of Greens and Arthurs Creek Roads, c 1890s. Photo credit McDonald family
The McDonald Family Plot at Arthurs Creek Cemetery. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
Looking across 'Glen Donald' to Jimmy Lee's Hill from McDonald's Hill above Greens Road c 1972. Photo credit McDonald family
Roy McDonald (1914-2004) was the son of Julie Catherine Draper (1891-1968) and the first cousin of James Chester Draper (1905-1998). Roy was a life member of the Royal Society of Chemistry of Great Britain and Ireland and served in WW2. Roy established in Australia the Swedish method of packaging milk for homes and schools and introduced other industry innovations such as long-life milk. Image credit The Age, 17 Feb, 2005, by Ross McDonald
Roy McDonald (1914-2004) had memories of ‘Charnwood’ and other early Draper and McDonald properties in the Arthurs Creek district, and captivated his children with first-hand accounts of family members and events. Roy attended Scotch College as did the author’s grandchildren. Roy once said a highlight of his later life was his return – after an absence of about 70 years – to Scotch College and an old boys’ reunion. Image credit The Age, 17 Feb, 2005, by Ross McDonald
The name Catherine has continued to be used by the descendants of the Draper pioneers of Arthurs Creek: Fanny Catherine Draper (1866-1944), daughter of Catherine Draper (nee Chester). Margaret Catherine Draper (1886-1890), daughter of Joseph Charles Draper. Julie Catherine Draper (1891-1968), daughter of William Plenty Draper. Catherine Annie Underwood (1894-1987), daughter of Emma Draper. Catherine Mary Jane Draper (1901-1997), daughter of James Draper. Grace Catherine Thomas (1903-1975), daughter of Louisa Ann Dorothy Draper. The name continues to be used into the present generations, including the author’s daughter, Catherine. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
The Scottish links run deep in the Arthurs Creek district and surrounds, and the author eventually married a Scot. James and Julia Kinloch, the author's grandparents-in-law, Pitlochry, Scotland, 1923. Image credit Tyler, Kinloch and Draper families
Roy Beresford McDonald wearing a woollen Scotch tie in 1928. Scotch College has a small number of these historic ties in the Archives. Photo credit 'From Laggan to Arthur's Creek : the McDonald family history and connections with the Draper family, Charnwood'. Written and presented by the author's friend and cousin, Ross McDonald, published in 2010
Arthurs Creek Rifle Club with visiting members of the Scottish Regiment. At the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Hall in 1901, The Evelyn Observer reported ‘Mr. Macfarlane proposed the toast of 'Our Local Standing Army’. Captain Apted, Arthurs Creek Rifle Club and Captain Phillips, Whittlesea Shire Rifle Club, responded at length’. BACK ROW: 2nd from left John Addison (Jack) Laidlay, 13th from left (in boater hat) William (Bill) Wandless Limmer. CENTRE ROW: 1st from left George Apted, 3rd from left William Laidlay Snr, 4th from left Henry (Harry) Limmer. Photo and information credit Neil Brock

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