James Buchanan

M, #11232, b. 12 Feb 1827, d. 11 Sep 1914
Father*John Buchanan
Mother*Elizabeth Bullock
Probate (Will)* James Buchanan. Ex MLC. Berwick. 11 Sep 1914. 135/859.1 
Birth*12 Feb 1827 Chryston, Lanarkshire, Scotland.2 
Marriage*1859 Spouse: Anne Jane Wilson. VIC, Australia, #M3026.3
Land-Berwick*3 Jul 1863James Buchanan selected land BER-S-8 from the Crown. 6a 0r 16p.4 
Land-Berwick*8 Apr 1874 BER-8 (part). Transfer from James Buchanan to Sarah Bamford Elmes. 3a 6r 35p.5 
Land-Berwick*4 Oct 1876 BER-S-11. Transfer from Thomas Wilson to James Buchanan. 7a 0r 21p.6 
Land-Berwick5 Jul 1888 BER-8 (part). Transfer from James Buchanan to Sarah Bamford Elmes. 1a 1r 15 5/10p.7 
Widower1909James Buchanan became a widower upon the death of his wife Anne Jane Wilson.3 
Death*11 Sep 1914 Berwick, VIC, Australia, #D8456 (Age 87) [par John BUCHANAN & Elizabeth BULLOCK].3 
Death-Notice*12 Sep 1914BUCHANAN.—On the 11th September, at his late residence, Burr Hill, Berwick, the Hon. James Buchanan, ex. M.L.C., dearly beloved father of Mrs. W. Wilson and Mrs. L. D. Beaumont, of Berwick, in his 88th year. No Flowers.8 
Land-Note*8 Dec 1914 James Buchanan died the 11th day of September 1914. On the 13th October 1914 probate of the will of the said James Buchanan was granted to William Wilson Contractor and Llewellyn David Beaumont, Farmer, both of Berwick.9 
Land-Berwick*8 Dec 1914 BER-S-11. Transfer from James Buchanan to William Wilson Llewelyn David Beaumont. 7a 0r 21p - owners as executors.9 


  • 5-613, Berwick Cemetery, Berwick, VIC, Australia, Buchanan Ann Jane 1827-1909 wife/ James, b. Co. Tyrone, Ireland, d. "Burr Hill" Berwick
    Buchanan James 1827-1914 hus/ Anne Jane, b. Glasgow, Scotland, d. "Burr Hill" Berwick
    Buchanan William 1864-1866 son/ James & Anne Jane (5-313)10


Anne Jane Wilson b. 1827, d. 1909
Children 1.Anne Buchanan+ b. 1860, d. 27 Jul 1933
 2.Elizabeth Catherine Buchanan+ b. 1869, d. 14 May 1954


    Crossing over to the eastern slope of the basaltic ridge we come upon the farms of Mr. James and Mr. Robert Buchanan—also Scotchmen—who go in extensively for cheesemaking. They have half a section of land each, and the one farm is almost a fac-simile of the other. Both gentlemen are excellent farmers, and Mr. R. Buchanan's place is so well managed and so completely appointed in every respect that it has earned the reputation of being the model farm of the district. He has planted a good bit of thorn hedging, all of which is doing well and some of the more advanced portions are able to do without protecting fences. The stock on each of the farms is pretty much the same. Each has about forty dairy cows, pure or half bred Ayrshires with Ayrshire bulls to serve them. During four months in summer, when the milk is most plentiful, the quantity of cheese made by each dairy is about five cwt a week, and for the rest of the year the average is about three and-a-half cwt. Both establishments are quite separate, but in the market their cheese sells as that of one factory, and readily commands the top price. It has never fetched less than sixpence and has lately risen as high as sevenpence and sevenpence halfpenny. An attempt was at one time made to start a cheese factory for the dis trict, but it fell through, mainly because the Messrs. Buchanan preferred to conduct their operations independently. It may be mentioned that on several occasions the Messrs. Buchanan have been successful prize takers at Mr. M'Caw's exhibitions of dairy produce. (Robert Buchanan.)11
    The prosperous-looking little township of Berwick is situated twenty-eight miles eastward from Melbourne, and is passed through by the main Gippsland-road at the point where it crosses the southern extremity of the Dandonong range. The district by which the township is surrounded formed originally the squatting station of Captain Gardiner, who purchased the best of the run from the Crown by auction and cut it up in farms, and resold it about twenty years since. Most of the original purchasers are still in possession of their holdings. The farming country much resembles that of the Kangaroo Ground and the Lower Plenty, being hilly, heavily timbered, and composed of dark basaltic soil, which is for the most part richest and deepest on the tops of the rises. The district, in soil and general appearance, resembles also that of Drysdale, and judging from a sample exhibited at the show held during my visit it appears to possess a similar adaptability for onion growing, Its capabilities in this direction are however yet undeveloped, the sample being an isolated one. The opening of the Gippsland railway, one of whose stations is to be at Berwick, will probably have the effect of directing attention to this profitable crop, and in the way that the opening of the Creswick railway has developed potato-growing in the Bullarook district will likely produce a similar result here. The Berwick district used to produce potatoes largely during its earlier career, when the work of clearing the farms from timber was being carried on, and when the high prices ruling for potatoes handsomely repaid the carriage. During their career the settlers of the district have had their experiences of the unprofitableness of attempting cereal farming alone with harvests of wheat and other grain have been obtained, but these have been altercated with seasons of thin crops, and rust, which while diminishing the profits of the farmer pointed out to him the necessity for a rota tion of crops, combined with stock- and cul tivated grasses. The special feature of the district is, however the manufacture of cheese by what is known as the Cheddar process. So rapidly has this industry spread in the district that there are few farms which are not engaged in it. Amongst the few exceptions is the farm of Mr. Jas Gibbs, the president of the local agricultural society. This farm comprises Captain Gardi ner's original preemptive selection, with a half section afterwards added, making the total holding now 960 acres. Mr. Gibbs devotes his attention to draught stock breeding, his stud comprising a very superior selection of brood mares, and the recently imported stallion King of the Valley, purchased, by his pre sent proprietor at a cost of 1000 guineas. In addition to what he requires for his own stock, Mr. Gibbs grows a large quantity of oaten hay for the supply of Cobb and Co's. Gippsland line of mail horses. The cropped portion of the farm is worked in rotation, with cultivated pasture, on which some good long-woolled sheep are kept. The hay is stacked with the latest labor-saving derrick appliances and put into marketable form by means of handy chaff-cutting and bagging arrangements. Mr. Gibbs's barn and stabling accommodation is roomy and substantial, and the farm generally presents a most creditable air of trimness and order.
    To Messrs. Jas. and Robert Buchanan the district is chiefly indebted for the introduction of cheese-making, an industry that is spoken of by all who have tried it as the most remunerative branch of husbandry they have yet had experience of. The Messrs. Buchanan are among the earliest of the Berwick settlers, having settled upon a 640 acre section which they purchased and worked at first in partnership. They now occupy the section in two separate farms of 320 acres each, which have been cleared, subdivided, partially sown down, and furnished with all the buildings and appliances necessary for carrying on the business to the best advan tage. About 100 head of superior Ayrshire cattle are kept on each farm, and the number of cows in milk usually average about forty all the year round. The milking-house on both establishments is made with separate stalls and feeding places for each cow, and large sheds adjoining contain an abundant supply of hay for winter use ; while mangels, maize, and other green fodder crops receive due attention in the field. From the large area of roofing a full supply of water is ob tained, conserved in tanks, and conveyed to the cheese houses as required. The distinguishing feature in the new, or Cheddar, system of cheese making consists in the application of heat to separate the whey from the curd, by which such a uniformity of quality is ensured as could not be calculated upon under the old method. All the various details of the process being reduced to a system, and the labor connected with it being reduced to a minimum by means of the machinery and appliances used, the drudgery connected with the old method is obviated. The application of the necessary heat is obtained on each of the Messrs. Buchanan's establishments by means of steam apparatus and the processes as conducted on each farm are so similar that a description of one will do for both. Selecting Mr. Jas. Buchanan's the day's proceedings are briefly as follows : — The herd is milked twice a day, the evening's milk being kept over till the morning. Both milkings are then passed through the strainer into the milk tub, a large copper vessel of 200 gallons capacity, occupying the centre of the manufacturing room, this milk-tub has a double bottom and sides, into the space between which a jet of steam is introduced from the boiler sufficient to raise the milk to 84 deg., the temperature at which it is 'set' for coagulation. Cold water pipes also communicate with the milk vessel, so that the steam can be shut off and water turned on should the temperature be unduly raised. Annatto, for coloring, and rennet for coagulating, is now introduced, and the whole is completely mixed. Coagulation is completed from fifty to sixty minutes. As soon as the curd becomes moderately firm the process of breaking it up commences, which is done by implements made for the purpose, the temperature being raised meanwhile to 102 deg. This process, which is called "cooking" the curd, is carried on until a peculiar degree of firmness and consistency, known to the practical cheesemaker by handling, is attained, after which the whey is drawn off by a pipe communicating with the piggeries. The curd is then cooled, salted, packed into the cheese vats and placed under the presses, after which the cheeses are removed to the shelves of the store-room. The various processes, from the milking in the morning to the pressing, are got over generally not later than noon of the same day, and the cheeses remain on an average about two and a-half days in the press-room and three months in the store-room, at the end of which period they are sent to market. The portable nature of the commodity is not its least feature of merit, a considerable amount of value going into small bulk. The Messrs. Buchanan produce a superior article which always commands the top price, and they are known in the district as always having shown the utmost readiness to teach their neighbors how to attain similar excellence. They believe that the greater the quantity of cheese produced in the colony (providing it is of first-class quality), the better will be the price and the more steady the demand, this effect following as a direct result of our present export trade being largely increased. Mr. James Buchanan's books show the following wholesale prices per lb., received for each month's produce during 1875 :— January, 10d; February, 10¼d; March, 10d; April, 10d; May, 10d; June, 10d; July, 10d; August, 10d; September, 10d; October, 10½d; November, 11¾d; December, 10½d. The total quantity sold from the farm amounts to on average of ten tons per annum ; and there is a considerable return from pigs and other sources. The animal yield of milk has been reduced to some extent during the past year or two by the pastures being rather badly overrun with what is known as the yellow weed (Hypochæris radiata). Mr. Buchanan seldom employs more than two hands, who, together with his own personal superintendence, and occasional assist ance from one or two of his family, are found sufficicient to carry on all the operations.12
  • 1 Oct 1914: A most generous gift was made to the Berwick Presbyterian Church by the late Hon. James Buchanan, whose will transfers to the church trustees deceased's former residence, "Burr Hill," to be used as a manse; also, between seven and eight acres of land adjoining.13
  • 17 Oct 1914: The Late Hon. James Buchanan. The late Hon. James Buchanan, of Burr Hill, Berwick, whose death was announced recently at the ripe old age of 87 years, (says the Dandenong 'Advertiser') was a conspicuous character in the history of Victoria. Mr Buchanan was born in Glasgow in 1827, and came to Victoria 20 years later. After following pastoral pursuits in the Riverina for some years, he settled in Berwick in 1857, purchasing the Ardblair property, portion of which is now owned by Mr L. D. Beaumont, and he was one of the earliest residents in this district. In 1877 he was elected as a representative in the Legislative Council for the South-Eastern province, a position which he held for years. He was compelled to resign from the position owing to ill health, the vacancy being filled by the late Mr W. Knox. Whilst in Parliament he strongly advocated the opening up of the Mallee as he was confident as to its suitability as a wheat growing area. Possessing a good knowledge of the topography of the country, he was in a position to prove to the House that a large portion of that country was capable of irrigation from the waters of the Murray. Since that time the great value of the Mallee country has been proved. He was also mainly instrumental in having a commission appointed to enquire into the report on tuberculosis, both as affecting mankind and the bovine species, and he was the only layman appointed to the Board. Being possessed of excellent veterinary knowledge, however, he was able to lay before the body of experts much valuable information. On his retirement from Parliament, Her Majesty the late Queen Victoria graciously allowed the title of 'The Honorable' to be retained by him for long service in Parliament, the honor being granted on the recommendation of the Hon. Wm. Zeal, who was President of the Legislative Council at that time. Mr Buchanan was a member of the first road board for the Berwick shire, and he subsequently represented Berwick in the Berwick shire council. He took a great interest in agriculture and stock breeding, and was for many years the Government representative on the Council of Agricultural Education, and also a member of the executive of the Royal Agricultural Society. He was also a prominent member of the Mornington Farmers' Society, and one of its founders. He was practically the founder of the first Ayrshire herd in Victoria, a class of stock much fancied by many breeders, and which is now well sustained by his nephew, Mr Andrew Buchanan, of 'Gleneira,' Flinders. He has always taken an interest in the Society, and a few years ago gave them a 99 years' lease of the show ground at a rental of £1 a year. He was also a liberal subscriber to the prize fund. He was a justice of the peace and also a member of the board of management of the local Presbyterian Church. Mr Buchanan made many friends among both rich and poor and he will be sadly missed. He was possessed of a most kindly and charitable nature and made the Golden Rule the motto of his life. He leaves two daughters—Mrs W. Wilson, of 'Blairgowrie,' and Mrs. L. D. Beaumont, of 'Ardblair,' and a sister (Mrs. Grant) to mourn their loss, and they have the sympathy of all in their sad bereavement.14

Australian Dictionary of Biography

James Buchanan (1827-1914), farmer and politician, was born on 12 February 1827 at Chryston, Lanarkshire, Scotland, son of John Buchanan, farmer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Bullock. He arrived at Port Phillip in 1849 in the Reaper. His lungs were weak so he made for the warmer Riverina and worked in the Edward River district until attracted back to Victoria by the discovery of gold. Buchanan carted potatoes and wheat to the Bendigo and Castlemaine diggings while farming in the Plenty district. In 1857 he bought the Ardblair property at Berwick and in 1858 won a gold medal from the Port Phillip Farmers' Society for the wheat he grew there. As the price of wheat dropped he broadened the scope of his farming to include dairying, cheese making and the breeding of Ayrshire cattle; he achieved some note with his bull, Lord Beaconsfield. In 1859 he won the Mornington Farmers' Society award for the best managed farm in its area. Buchanan remained an active member of this society and gave it a ninety-nine-year lease of the showground for a token sum. He was also an executive member of the Royal Agricultural Society. By the end of the 1870s Buchanan owned houses and 2033 acres (823 ha) in Berwick.
Buchanan was an original member of the Berwick District Road Board created in 1862 and remained a member of it and the later Shire Council until 1875. In May 1865 he was appointed a presiding magistrate at the first Police Court Sessions in the district. In 1876 he was elected to the Legislative Council as member for the Southern Province. His distinguished career in the council ended in September 1898. Buchanan supported protection, advocated the opening up of the Mallee as a wheat-growing area, and supported the introduction of irrigation to the Mallee and other schemes of water conservation. He was a member of the first Viticultural Board and was for many years government representative on the Council of Agricultural Education. Buchanan was prominent in the foundation of Dookie Agricultural College and a member of its first council. In 1890 he was a member of the first committee appointed by the Victorian parliament under the Railways Standing Committee Act.
Buchanan was active in the development of medical services in the colony. He had some medical knowledge himself and in his first years at Berwick was sometimes called on for help and advice. He persuaded his nephew, James Buchanan, to qualify as a doctor. He had wide veterinary knowledge and helped to bring about the appointment in 1884 of the board to report on tuberculosis as affecting both mankind and cattle, on which he was the only layman.
Buchanan was widely esteemed for his kindliness and charity. He was elected to the local Presbyterian Church Board in 1876 and remained a member until his death on 11 September 1914. His wife Anne Jane, née Wilson, whom he had married in 1859, predeceased him, as did his two sons. He was survived by two daughters, Mrs W. Wilson and Mrs L. D. Beaumont, and he bequeathed his house in Berwick, Burr Hill, and seven acres to the Presbyterian Church for a manse.15


  1. [S35] Probate Records, PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), VPRS 28/P3, unit 479; VPRS 7591/P2, unit 516.
  2. [S55] Adb online, online http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm
  3. [S22] Victorian Government. BDM Index Victoria (online).
  4. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 27-274 - James Buchanan of Berwick.
  5. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 27-274 - Sarah Bamford Elmes - C/T 670-887.
  6. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 842-330 (have not viewed this title) - next title C/T 897-288 - James Buchanan of Berwick County of Mornington Farmer.
  7. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 27-274 - Sarah Bamford Elmes the wife of Thomas Elmes of Lyall Road Berwick Surgeon - C/T 2039-677 (consolidated title).
  8. [S16] Newspaper - The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 12 Sep 1914, p5.
  9. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 897-288 - James Buchanan died the 11th day of September 1914. On the 13th October 1914 probate of the will of the said James Buchanan was granted to William Wilson Contractor and Llewellyn David Beaumont, Farmer, both of Berwick.
  10. [S44] Index of burials in the cemetery of Berwick,
    5-613 Buchanan James M 87 01-09-14 528
    Buchanan J. F 82 01-03-09 451
  11. [S14] Newspaper - Leader (Melbourne, Vic.), 25 May 1872, p6.
  12. [S14] Newspaper - Leader (Melbourne, Vic.), 25 Mar 1876, p6+7.
  13. [S12] Newspaper - South Bourke and Mornington Journal (Richmond, Vic.), 1 Oct 1914, p2.
  14. [S14] Newspaper - Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic.), 17 Oct 1914, p2.
  15. [S55] Adb online, online http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm, Select Bibliography
    ?A. Henderson (ed), Early Pioneer Families of Victoria and Riverina (Melb, 1936)
    ?N. E. Beaumont and J. F. Curran, Early Days of Berwick (Melb, 1948)
    ?Messenger (Presbyterian, Vic & Tas), Sept 1914
    ?Berwick Shire News, 16 Sept 1914.
    Citation details
    Hone, J. Ann, 'Buchanan, James (1827–1914)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
Last Edited14 Sep 2020

Joan Lee Hill

F, #11242, b. 1908, d. 18 Nov 2000
Father*Fred Hill b. 1878, d. 15 Jun 1945
Mother*Minnie Ada Binns b. 1880, d. 1978
Probate (Will)* JOAN LEE MCNICOLL. WIDOW. SOUTH YARRA. 18 Nov 2000. 1183576.1       
Married NameMcNicoll. 
(Migrant) Migration/Travel6 May 1928 To Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Ship Comorin sailing from Plymouth - travelling with parents Fred HILL, Wool Broker 49 & Minnie Ada HILL 47, previous address c/o Sir Jas Hill & Son, Bradford Yorkshire
Age 20.3 
Marriage*1938 Spouse: Ronald Ramsay McNicoll. VIC, Australia, #M7493.4
Land-UBeac*2 Oct 1946 GEM-C- Transfer from Elizabeth Agnes Greenland Barby to Joan Lee McNicoll. 118a 3r 27p.5 
Land-UBeac2 Oct 1946 GEM-C-18. Transfer from Elizabeth Agnes Greenland Barby to Joan Lee McNicoll. 19a 1r 28p.6 
Land-UBeac16 Nov 1949 GEM-C-18. Transfer from Joan Lee McNicoll to Albert David Nicol. 19a 1r 28p.7 
Land-UBeac*16 Nov 1949 GEM-C- Transfer from Joan Lee McNicoll to Albert David Nicol. 118a 3r 27p.8 
Widow18 Sep 1996Joan Lee Hill became a widow upon the death of her husband Ronald Ramsay McNicoll
Death*18 Nov 2000 VIC, Australia. 

Electoral Rolls (Australia) and Census (UK/IRL)

DateAddressOccupation and other people at same address
1954607 Toorak Road, Toorak, VIC, AustraliaOccupation: home duties. With Ronald Ramsay McNicoll.9


  • 2 Jun 1931: CYCLIST KILLED IN COLLISION. The city coroner (Mr D Grant) held an inquest on Monday into the death of Edwin Walter Merritt, aged 26 years, veterinary surgeon's assistant, formerly of High street, Armadale, who died in the Alfred Hospital on the night of March 18 from injuries received when a cycle he was riding collided wih a motor-car in Toorak road South Yarra, the same night. Evidence was given that Merritt had begun to turn south into Surrey road when he was struck by a motor-car travelling west, driven by Joan Lee Hill, single of Avalon road, Armadale. Witnesses considered that the cyclist was hit when he was between the south set of tram lines. Merritt had been out seeking employment.
    The Coroner.-I feel that the driver of the motor-car should have seen the cyclist and conversely the cyclist should have seen the motor-car in this case.
    A finding of accidental death was recorded. (Edwin Walter Merritt.)10
  • 14 Sep 1945: NOTICE to CLAIMANTS. - Creditors, next-of-kin, and others having CLAIMS in respect of the estate of FRED. HILL, late of 607 Toorak road, Toorak, in the State of Victoria, woolbuyer, deceased, who died on tho 15th day of June, 1945 are to SEND PARTICULARS of their claims to Minnie Ada Hill, of 607 Toorak road Toorak aforesaid, widow; Joan Lee McNicoll, of 717 Toorak road, Toorak aforesaid, married woman; and Normand Hill, of 34 Albany road. Toorak aforesaid, woolbuyer, of the care of the undersigned solicitors, by the 20th day of November, 1945, after which date the said Minnie Ada Hill, Joan Lee McNicoll, and Normand Hill will distribute the assets, having regard only to the claims of which they then have notice, Dated this 11th day of September, 1945. ABBOTT. BECKETT. STILLMAN, and GRAY, solicitors. 422 Little Collins street. Melbourne.11


  1. [S35] Probate Records, PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), VPRS 28/P31, unit 21.
  2. [S5] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Death Index Victoria 1921-1985 "[par Fred HILL & Minnie Ada BINNS]
    Minnie died 1978/24426 Prah Age 98 [par Frederic BINNS & Harriett MILLS]."
  3. [S65] Ancestry - various indices, Class: BT26; Piece: 874; Item: 8
    Source Information: Ancestry.com. UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
  4. [S6] Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Marriage Index Victoria 1921-1942.
  5. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 3736-059 - Elizabeth Agnes Greenland Barby to Joan Lee McNicholl of 607 Toorak Road Toorak married Woman.
  6. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 6825-852 - Joan Lee McNicholl of 607 Toorak Road Toorak Married Woman.
  7. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 6825-852 - Albert David Nicol of 78 Wickham Road Moorabbin Gentleman.
  8. [S185] Property Titles ; PROV (Public Records Office Victoria), C/T 3736-059 - Joan Lee McNicholl to Albert David Nicol of 78 Wickham Road Moorabbin Gentleman.
  9. [S154] Electoral Roll for Australia, 1954.
  10. [S11] Newspaper - The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 2 Jun 1931, p11.
  11. [S11] Newspaper - The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 14 Sep 1945, p18.
Last Edited12 May 2020


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