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ARTHUR AND JANE SHERWOOD nee HENDERSON
Arthur (Artie) Sherwood was born
7 April 1885. He grew up on the family farm at Woorak West, near Nhill,
Victoria. His parents were Arthur and Minnie
Sherwood nee Fry. In 1909 he married Jane Luddon Henderson in Melbourne.
Jane and Arthur returned to the Henderson family farm at Balrooten near Nhill which they
leased for 3 years.
Jane Luddon Henderson was born at Doctor's Creek near Lexton, Victoria
in 1883. Her parents were Thomas and Agnes Henderson. About 1891 the
Henderson family selected land at Balrooten near Nhill, Victoria. They
established a wheat farm and raised 11
children, 9 daughters and 2 sons. Jane's father Thomas Henderson
died in 1906. Soon after her mother Agnes and two of her
daughters moved to West Brunswick to live.
SEE BELOW FOR FULL STORY
1885: Born in
Woorak West, Victoria.
1912: Travelled by wagon to Henty, NSW.
1913: Living with Minnie Sherwood on her farm at Bonnie Doon, NSW.
1913: Share farmed on Round Hill station, Culcairn, NSW.
1923: Living at 'Oakvale', Culcairn, NSW
1926: Bought a farm at Myabla, NSW.
1928:.Leased the property 'Boxdale', Pleasant Hills, NSW
1935: Moved to Culcairn, NSW.
1935: Leased 'Mulaba' a diary farm in Culcairn.
c.1954: Arthur went to live in Clayton, Victoria.
died at Clayton, Victoria age 93 years.
1883: Born Doctors Creek, near Lexton, Victoria.
1891: Moved with her family to Balrooten, Victoria.
1895: Received from Education Department, 'Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Attendance.'
1909: Married Arthur Sherwood.
1909: First child Sydney born Balrooten, Victoria.
Jane died in Culcairn, NSW. Buried in the Culcairn cemetery.
One of the legacies of my grandfather's letter writing is that we are
able to gain some insight into his personality.
The half dozen or so letters that were written to and kept by his sister
Minnie Kelly, reveal a keen sense of humour and at times fertile imagination. This is particularly evident when discussing matters related
to the family history:
had quite a busy time since the Caulfield Cup, collecting and banking. I really should of had help but as you know I was always an
independent guy and only let others do for me what I don't like doing myself,
such as cutting wood and digging in the garden...
don't think I will ever have to do hard work again, but I might at times put on
my working shirt, not while the other one is getting washed, but just to imagine
I am back in the past with all the rest of my poor relations.
The following account of Jane and Arthur is a mixture of oral history, letters written by them and other family members, as well as information from records.
In a letter with some homespun philosophy to his sister Minnie in 1977,
Arthur reveals some of the values that formed the basis of family life on the
farm at Woorak West:
Anyhow Min I do think you are too much of a Sherwood to tell a lie to defend yourself we were always taught at home a person who told lies to cover themselves were only miserable cowards who did not have the backbone to stand up and defend themselves. Dad always said a liar was worse than a thief. He used to say you might catch a thief but a liar could ruin a man before one found them out as it was human nature to think the worst. A poor old thief gave one an even break to catch him as he seldom told anyone else about it and a liar told everyone he could get to believe him. I don't want you to think I never told a lie I have told hundreds but never to defend myself or to do anyone harm. When we were kids Mum never gave us a hiding if we told her the truth.
Arthur attended Woorak West State School until the age of 12. He had some
quite definite ideas regarding his teachers as the following excerpt from a
letter reveals. The letter was
written to Leanne and Bill Sutherland, two of his great grandchildren. It was
prompted by an experience Bill had not long after he started school.
Bill decided to leave school early one day without asking permission.
He left via the classroom window. A
chase ensued with the teacher in hot pursuit.
Young Bill with his cardigan flapping wildly in the breeze almost made it
home before being caught by the teacher and marched off back to school.
When Arthur heard about his great grandson's unsuccessful dash for
freedom, he was not only amused, but felt compelled to write about one or two of
his own experiences at school.
Bill how is school
going has that chap who ran away one day when you started school ever ran away
again and do you ever have trouble with the teacher but let us hope he is quite
a good chap and does not growl to much but you must expect some trouble with him
at times. I used to have quite a
lot of teacher troubles when I went to school but I hope you do not have any
with yours. Some teachers are very
nice even if some are not so nice. I
remember a boy who went to school when I did we had spelling to learn at home
and he could never get his right but one night he set to work to learn them and
next morning he had them all right and do you know that-teacher felt in his desk
to see if he had his book open and then he said did you look at Willie Smith's
slate. I never thought he was a
nice man to do a thing like that.
My only comment regarding Bill's anti-social behaviour is that it was obviously inherited from the Sutherland and not the Sherwood side of the family.
Arthur started work driving a team of horses on his parent's farm at
Woorak West. His early working
life, up until the time he married was spent mainly on the family farm.
There were times in between harvesting when he worked for other farmers
in the district. They were the
Lewis family at Lorquon, Jane's Uncle Frank Grayling and Jane's father Thomas
Henderson. There was also a short
time spent working at a Eucalyptus factory.
Around 1903 Arthur spent a short holiday with his uncle Allen at Balaklava, South Australia. About 1907 he went to Trundle, New South Wales with the Irvan family. Jane's sister Agnes Henderson married William Irvan. Arthur worked at Trundle for seven months before returning to Woorak West.
In 1909 he married Jane Luddon Henderson.
Jane was born at Lexton, Victoria in 1883.
She was one of 11 children, 9 daughters and 2 sons born to Thomas and
Around 1909, Jane’s mother Agnes bought a house in West Brunswick. Jane moved into the house with her mother and sisters two weeks before she and Arthur were married. The marriage took place on 15 February 1909, in the gardens of the house. William Lynch was best man and Minnie Kelly nee Sherwood was the flower girl. Minnie Sherwood and Agnes Henderson were also present. Jane and Arthur later honeymooned in Portland, Victoria. While in Portland they took a trip on a boat. It was all too much for Arthur; he became seasick on the trip.
Arthur and Jane returned to Balrooten and leased the Henderson's farm. Agnes Henderson owned two properties at Balrooten. The first was 279 acres and this according to Agnes was sold in 1910 to Richard Keam of Woorak. The second was 320 acres and was sold in 1920. This must have been the property that Jane and Arthur leased. They grew wheat and ran sheep on the land. Jane and Arthur lived at Balrooten for 3 years. In that time two sons Sydney and Claude were born.
The 1912 and 1913 editions of the Victorian Post Office Directory contain
the following entry. ‘Arthur Gordon Sherwood, farmer Balrooten North.’
Jeff Henderson, Jane's nephew remembers visiting the farm at Balrooten. As a small boy he remembers standing by the water tank watching Arthur cut chaff by feeding sheaves of hay into the chaff cutter. In the process Arthur accidentally cut the top off his finger. He was taken by horse and buggy into Nhill for treatment.
In 1912, Jane and Arthur and their two young sons left Balrooten and went to live for a short time with Arthur's mother Minnie on her property in New South Wales. Fred Sherwood, Arthur's uncle looked after Agnes Henderson's farm when Jane and Arthur moved to the Riverina.
decision to leave Victoria was probably influenced by the following factors.
The property at Balrooten was not nearly large enough to support the
2. At the time larger blocks of land were becoming available for wheat growing in the Riverina.
3. Arthur's mother Minnie, his brother Alfred and two sisters
had bought the property Bonnie Doon, at Ryan, New South Wales.
The trip to Bonnie Doon was made by wagon with the Schultz family.
The wagon is described by Pat Sherwood as a box wagon with a canvas tarp
over the top. It was left at
Oakvale (a property later bought by Arthur).
Four horses, Jack, Jess, Jim and Violet were used to pull the wagon.
Another horse, a mare called Bess was brought from the farm along with a
According to Claude Sherwood, the family travelled from Nhill to Dimboola, then onto Warracknabeal and Donald. From Donald they passed through Charlton, Boort and Macorna. Jane's brother Richard Henderson lived at Macorna. Richard Henderson's son Jeff remembers Jane and Arthur calling in on their way through. As a small boy he remembers seeing the wagon coming through the farm gates. He recalls Jane and Arthur staying a couple of nights before moving on.
Leaving Macorna they travelled onto Pyramid Hills and Gunbower. From Gunbower they followed the Murray through Echuca, Cobram and Yarrawonga. At Yarrawonga they crossed the border to Corowa, travelled onto Walbundrie and eventually arrived at Ryan where Bonnie Doon was situated.
The following are a few things Claude remembers his mother and father
mentioning about the trip.
When we left Nhill
to come to the Culcairn district I wasn't quite one and Syd was two years and
two months. I would say Mum must
have had her hands full as we travelled in the wagon with a cover over it, like
you see in the movies. It took six
weeks to make the trip. It was very
dry in 1912 coming across from Nhill and getting water was one of the hard
things to get. Some people were
carting water themselves, and some wouldn't let people have any.
I remember hearing Dad say he asked one bloke if he could water the horses at his dam, he said "No if I did I might be short myself", so he had to go another 3 or 4 miles to the next place. He said the old chap there said "My boy if I've got a drop of water in my dam your horses are as much entitled to it as mine". The wagon was heavily loaded as he had to bring chaff for the horses and as much farming implements as he could load onto the wagon. Some of the things he brought were, the drill, harrases, scoop and plough. Things that couldn't get on were sold before leaving. The heavy things were put on the bottom and the chaff put on top so our beds were made on the chaff. There were two other families coming to Culcairn at that time. Although they left after we did they caught us at Echuca and travelled to Yarrawonga and then went ahead as Dad had to spell the horses.
Dad only had 4
horses and they had 8 horses on their wagons. Mum did the cooking in the camp
oven and frying pan that Grandfather Henderson had when he was driving a bullock
team before he was married.
Although they said I took my first steps at Donald and had my first birthday at Charlton, I must have been still doing a bit of crawling as Mum said she heard me howling one night when she was cooking the tea and looked around and Syd had a piece of wire around my neck and was riding me for a horse. Another day a farmer's wife gave Mum a basket of eggs. She put them down while she got tea ready when she looked to see where we were; Syd had broke about half the eggs over my head. They were the crook things he did to me. But on the good side he saved my life as I crawled into where there was a hen with a lot of chickens. The hen went for me, Mum heard Syd crying and she ran around to find him fighting the hen but he wouldn't leave me. These things all happened on the trip over.
When Arthur and Jane first arrived in the Riverina, all they had left was three pence. They lived for nearly 12 months with Arthur's mother, Minnie, at Bonnie Doon. They stayed in an old share-farming house, which was later used as a barn.
In 1912 Arthur started share farming. Share farming is an agreement between the property owner who supplies the land, seed and fertiliser and the share farmer who supplied the horses, working machinery and labour. Profits are divided equally between both parties.
Arthur's daughter, Jean takes up the
The first year Arthur Sherwood brought his wife and two eldest sons from
Nhill to New South Wales and settled in the Culcairn District, he share farmed
on the Round Hill Station for 12 months. That year he had a very good wheat crop but unfortunately the
following year was one of the worst droughts on record in that district.
The following year he started share farming on Allens and for the next 7
years grew some very good wheat crops and was able to save enough money to buy a
small farm for himself (Oakvale).
thickly timbered except for 60 acres on which he grew wheat.
He also share farmed on another farm nearby. In the meantime every spare
hour was used to clear his own property. He
first cut or pulled down the timber which he sold to brick kiln in Culcairn.
He burnt the tree stumps and the charcoal from this was sold to the power
station at Culcairn to produce electricity for the town. He was able to sell this property at a good profit and was
able to buy a better property at Munyabla.
This was closer for the children to attend school and the land was
He stayed here
for 2 years where he grew 2 very good crops and was told by the neighbours they
were the best they had seen grown on this land. As he had five sons that were growing up, this place was not
large enough (600 acres). He was offered a farm nearby with 1200 acres.
It had a much larger house, a large orchard and was the same distance
from the school. This was Boxdale
at Pleasant Hills.
The first year
on this property, the price for wheat and wool was good.
The next year the price was good early in the year but it dropped
suddenly. Unfortunately Arthur held
onto his wheat hoping it would improve but it dropped suddenly from 5/- a bushel
to 1/6. This was the start of the
Great Depression when many people lost their properties.
Although the Sherwood family grew good crops here owing to depressed
wheat and wool prices and high interest rates it was very difficult to carry on. The former owner of this place had already lost the new
property he was buying and offered Arthur a sum of money to have Boxdale back.
As the price of farm produce was not improving this offer was accepted.
The next 2 years were the worst of the depression years so it would have been foolish to look for another farm but in 1935 Arthur leased a dairy farm at Culcairn where the family milked between 30 and 40 cows and grew tobacco seedlings which were sold to the tobacco growers at Myrtleford for their tobacco fields. He stayed on this farm until Jane died of a stroke in 1943. He then sold his cattle and retired to a farm at Pleasant Hills where he lived with his son and daughter-in-law until 1954. In 1954 other members of his family had built a home in Clayton, Melbourne so he moved down to live with them until his death at the age of 93 in August 1978.
When Jane and Arthur bought Boxdale in 1928, it had an established house. The house was in two sections. One section contained the kitchen pantry and boys room where Syd and Claude slept. The main part of the house was about three metres from the kitchen. It had three bedrooms, a lounge room and sleepout. The house had a tin roof and wooden floor. A verandah extended around part of the house. As well as a large orchard, there was also a tennis court at the back of the house.
The family left Boxdale in 1933, and not
long after moved to Culcairn. They
leased the property known as Mulaba, (a dairy farm) in 1935.
While living on the dairy farm, Jane wrote a number of letters to her son
and daughter-in-law, Syd and Peg. They
were living in Argyle Street, St. Kilda at the time.
The family left Culcairn in 1943, the year Jane passed away. Arthur went to live with his son Claude who was share farming at Aronmore, near Pleasant Hills. His two daughters, Jean and Lorna went to Melbourne to live. Arthur had bought land at Clayton for them. His son Pat bought out Lorna's share in the land and built the present house in Carinish Road. Arthur got seasonal employment in Melbourne working at the A.J.C. Jam factory in Chapell Street. He stayed with Syd and Peg in their flat in Argyle Street.
Around 1954 Arthur settled in Clayton with the other members of his family. He made frequent trips back to Albury, staying with his son Claude who worked as a carpenter. Even though well into his eighties, Arthur took an active part in helping his son with the carpentry work.
With increased age Arthur was confined more to the house. He turned to letter writing and the occasional punt on the horses. Arthur and his father, Arthur Senior both shared an interest in horses. As early as 1910, the Nhill Free Press reported Arthur Sherwood's horse Snapshot as a starter in "The Rainbow Handicap", a race scheduled to be run on 27 January. Snapshot was to carry a weight of 9 stone 81b.
In the Australasian Turf and Stallion Register for the years 1909 and 1911, Snapshot, a brown gelding by Straight Shot and Lady Vernon, is registered in the name of Arthur Sherwood. Pat Sherwood believes the horse Snapshot was also known by the name Possiden. Possiden was later sold to the British as a remount for their army in India. Another horse owned by Arthur was the Steeple Chaser and Show Jumper, Brown Lad, better known as Micky. On page there is a photo of Brown Lad winning the Growing Hedge Steeple Chas~ at Murrumbidgee, New South Wales. The inset shows the finish of the race, run in 1921. Brown Lad carrying 9 stone won by two and a half lengths in a time of 4 minutes 13 seconds. The race run over a distance of 2 miles carried a first prize purse of £50.
The Wagga Wagga Daily Express reported the running of the race.
‘Brown Lad, winner of the
Hedge Steeple led throughout the race, and won full of running.’
The paper records T. Carroll as Brown Lad's owner.
According to Jean Sherwood this is incorrect.
Brown Lad was the mare Cinderella’s foal.
Cinderella was given to Arthur by Mick Lynch Senior.
Arthur had Brown Lad from the time he was a foal up until he was put down
due to old age. Carroll according
to Jean was the horse's trainer.
In September 1921, Brown Lad ran second in the All Saints Hurdle and third in the Callandinah Hurdle at Corowa, New South Wales. Brown Lad was a brown gelding by Killarney.
Arthur Gordon Sherwood died peacefully at Clayton, Victoria in 1978. He was 93 years old.
© R J Sherwood. 2001
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