14 December, 2016


Whilst researching some details for my "Making Tracks" series of blog posts, I gathered quite a bit of information about some of the properties through which the track from Steiglitz to Ballarat passed, however it did not relate directly to what I was writing, so I saved it for later. The properties in question were the 'Ingliston', Warrenheip and Lal Lal Runs of Peter Inglis which are the subject of my next posts.
The squatting run which came to be known as 'Ingliston' was not within the Barwon catchment region, but rather, lay along the upper reaches of the Werribee River, however the squatter who lent his name to the property did have substantial land holdings within the Barwon Catchment, so this post will look at all of those holdings, 'Ingliston' being the first.
The Fisken-Inglis family - including Archibald Fisken Senior, his wife Eliza (née Inglis), their children and Eliza's brother Peter Inglis - arrived in Port Phillip in 1840 aboard the ship Dauntless. Amongst the children was the Fisken's 11 year old son Archibald Jr.
Peter Inglis was a merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, but once in Australia he decided to turn his hand to squatting. On 1st November, 1841 he took over the lease of a run on the upper Werribee River which he named 'Ingliston'. He had purchased the lease for the property from its original holders, Dr David Henry Wilsone (a Melbourne MD) and John Campbell who had taken up the run in 1839. Known simply as Wilsone & Campbell's Run, the pair had established a homestead on the property at Cornong Hill and were running 4,000 sheep on the land. In 1841 however, Wilsone died. Without his business partner, Campbell was forced to give up the lease which was taken up by Peter Inglis who took on not only the property, but the stock and equipment as well. When the run was gazetted in 1849, it consisted of 14,440 acres which extended from the present site of Ballan, south to the Werribee Gorge area, taking in the land along the banks of the Werribee River and stretching past Fiskville to the west.
Peter Inglis, 1872. Image held by the State Library of Victoria
Inglis was unhappy with the original site of the house and as a result, had it removed to Nimbuk, or Inglis Hill as it came to be known. The now heritage-listed homestead still stands today on Ingliston Rd, about 10km south east of the town of Ballan. Living with Peter at 'Ingliston' were his sister, brother-in-law and their children - the Fiskens - who had arrived in Australia with him the previous year. Archibald Fisken Sr's role was to manage a store on the property which supplied the station and those in the vicinity in the days prior to closer settlement.
 His son, the younger Archibald Fisken, was educated both at Scotch College and by private tutors whilst also learning the ropes of running the station from his uncle, becoming an accomplished horseman and stock-handler at an early age. Archibald Sr, died in 1854 and was buried in the private cemetery on the property at 'Ingliston'. His wife Eliza had died in 1845. Archibald Jr - now in his twenties - remained working with his uncle.
During the 1840s, in addition to developing 'Ingliston', Peter further expanded his pastoral holdings, first adding the lease for 'Warrenheip' and then that of Lal Lal Station to his growing empire. Some sources indicate that Peter acquired the 27,339 acre Warreneep lease as early as 1842/3, however the earliest contemporary mention I can find of the run in association with Inglis is 1848. The spelling of name varied over the years with Warraneep, Warrenheep and Warrenheip all being used at various times. The name is believed to be a corruption of the Wathaurong word "Warrengeep" meaning "emu feathers" and described the appearance of foliage on Mt Warrenheip as seen by the indigenous people of the district.
Gazetted in 1849, its grazing capacity at that time was indicated as 2,000 sheep and 1,500 cattle. The property extended from the Leigh River in the west, where it adjoined the Yuilles' Ballarat Run, south past today's Yendon township where it bordered the Mt Boninyong Estate of Robert Scott and 'Lal Lal', the other Inglis/Fisken run. To the east it formed a border with the Peerewerrh Run of William Henry Bacchus and with Wyndham to the north.
Section of map showing the location of the squatting runs of the Inglis and
Fisken families. Image taken from Victorian Squatters, Robert Spreadborough
& Hugh Anderson, 1983
 A retrospective article in The Star 18th January, 1870 stated that the lease for 'Warreneep' was originally held by the Levitt brothers who set up a pig-growing enterprise. Their endeavours however, were unsuccessful, with some of the pigs escaping and running feral in the surrounding bush. According to the same article, following the Levitts' departure, the leasehold for 'Warreneep' was taken up by a group of investors named Welsh, Verner and Holloway who hired a manager by the name of Haverfield. This source also stated that Inglis took up the Warrenheip Run in 1843, however the publication Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip (Billis & Kenyon, 1974) indicates that in 1842 the 'Warreneep' lease was held by partners Cornish and Taylor who were definitely in the district but were not mentioned in the 1870 retrospective. An index of the superintendent's correspondence 1839-1851 confirms that Cornish and Taylor were at 'Warraneed'(sic) in 1841. Billis & Kenyon indicate that 'Warrenheip' was in the hands of Inglis by 1846.
A sketch by Eugene von Guerard, 5th February, 1854 showing a distant view of
Mt Warrenheip, sketched on the banks of the Yarrowee River flowing through
Inglis' Warrenheip Run. Image held by the State Library of Victoria.
*See note below
His acquisition of the Lal Lal Run by contrast would seem more certain. This appears to have occurred during 1846 when it was transferred from John Whitehall Stevens. In October of that year however, Stevens was still stating his address as 'Lal Lal'. The first mention of Inglis as leaseholder, appeared the following month, suggesting the transfer did not occur until late in the year.
Prior to Inglis and Stevens, the first European settlers to occupy 'Lal Lal' were Messrs Blakeney and George S Airey who appear to have been in occupation until about 1843. At 18,313 acres and estimated as capable of running 1,500 cattle, it was not as large as large as 'Warrenheip', however their shared boundary meant that the two properties were run conjointly. This boundary with 'Warreneep' lay to the north west of the run which extended from Williamson's Creek and the Mt Boninyong Run in the west, to Woolen Creek (a tributary of the Moorabool River) to the east. To the south it bordered the Narmbool and Borhoneyghurk Runs whilst the Peerewerrh Run of W.H. Bacchus'and 'Borambeta' held by the Bradshaws lay to the north.
At a mere 17 years of age, the younger Archibald Fisken was put in charge of both 'Warreneep' and 'Lal Lal' where he lived in a slab hut, thus beginning his successful career as a grazier. His uncle must have had confidence in the young man's abilities because on 4th April, 1848, he departed for London on the ship Stag, leaving Archibald in charge. Whilst in England, Inglis married Margaret Ord of Glasgow. In later years, it was claimed that the couple had known each other prior to Inglis' departure to Australia and that she had been unwilling to come with him at that time. Presumably through his endeavours in the colony he had proved himself worthy and she consented to return with him to Victoria where they settled at 'Ingliston'.
A view of the Rowsley Valley looking north towards 'Ingliston' from Glenmore
Rd, March, 2014
Once back in Victoria, Inglis concentrated his efforts on 'Ingliston', leaving the other properties to his nephew Archibald. Upon his turning 21, Warreneep and Lal Lal Runs were formally transferred to Fisken's ownership with the expectation that their purchase price would be paid back to his uncle when he was financially in a position to do so.
Peter Inglis died at 'Ingliston' in July, 1869 and was buried in the family cemetery located on the property. His wife Margaret survived him by many years, living until 1905 when she also was laid to rest with the other members of the family. At the time of their respective deaths, the media of the day were at pains to convey the kindliness of both Peter and Margaret and to express the esteem in which they were held by the community. 'Ingliston' passed to their two sons.

*This sketch most probably formed the basis for the well-known von Guerard painting Warrenheip Hills near Ballarat 1854, held by the National Gallery of Victoria. The location from which von Guerard made the sketch was located in 2015 by George Hook. His discovery is described in the following blog post by Historic Urban Landscape Ballarat

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jo,

    My family are the Myer's who lived on the land that is now Pykes Creek.

    This map is post 1908 as the reservoir wasn't finished until 1913.