[COLONY OF VICTORIA]
Victoria. Special Lands Purchase. [To George Russell, in the County of Grant, Parish of Burtwarrah. May, 1862. Signed by Governor Barkly].
Lithograph printed document with manuscript entries on parchment, 330 x 445 mm, recording the purchase of 160 acres of Crown land in the Parish of Burtwarrah, northwest of Geelong, by George Russell of Shelford, sold at public auction at Geelong on 11 April 1862; the document is dated 10 May 1862 and is signed at bottom right by Governor Henry Barkly; Crown seal intact at bottom left; verso printed ‘Grant by Purchase. Special Lands’, with manuscript entries recording the sale number (536) and summarising the information on the recto, and recording the entry of the document into the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of the Colony of Victoria on 23 June 1862; original folds; an attractive example.
Scottish-born Port Phillip pioneer pastoralist George Russell (1812-188) arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in 1831, where he spent five years farming under the supervision of his brother, Philip.
‘He followed John Batman’s exploratory lead to Port Phillip in March 1836, and returned there in October as manager of the pastoral Clyde Company, a joint stock concern formed in Scotland by Captain Wood, with Philip Russell as resident Australian partner. In 1839 George Russell moved his headquarters from the Moorabool River at Batesford, near Geelong, westward to the Leigh River, where in 1842 he secured his Golfhill homestead by purchase from the Crown. Philip, who married Sophia Jennings, first cousin to Joseph Gellibrand, died there childless in July 1844. George was by then a partner in the Clyde Company. In 1846 he extended its operations to Terinallum, near Mount Elephant.
The company was dissolved in 1857-58. Its sales showed a final return of £258,000 for £78,000 invested. George Russell, whose share was a sixth, bought the central Golfhill freehold of 8500 acres (3440 ha), which he eventually enlarged to 28,000 (11,331 ha), or about two-fifths of the former licensed run. He had other pastoral properties, but lived at Golfhill, and died on 3 November 1888 in the present homestead. Euphemia Carstairs, the first cousin whom he married in Scotland in 1852, died in its predecessor in 1867, leaving seven daughters and a son. The bachelor son inherited Golfhill, but arranged for the youngest child, Janet, later Mrs John Biddlecombe (1866-1954), to take over before his death in 1898. Mrs Biddlecombe ran Golf Hill, as it was later spelt, substantially intact, with a celebrated Hereford stud, until her last years, then accepted its subdivision for soldier settlement.’ (P.L. Brown, ADB online)