George Frederick BELCHER (1823 - 1909)
Mayor of Geelong
Children Self + Spouses Parents Grandparents Greatgrandparents
Elizabeth Caulfield BELCHER (1856 - )
Alice Josephine BELCHER (1857 - 1889)
Joseph William BELCHER (1858 - 1944)
Sophia Julia BELCHER (1860 - 1944)
George Frederick BELCHER (1862 - 1873)
John Henry BELCHER (1865 - 1924)
Vere Essex BELCHER (1868 - 1868)
George Frederick BELCHER (1823 - 1909)


Julia Maria PEPPER
Joseph William BELCHER (1784 - 1865) William BELCHER


Elizabeth AUSTIN ( - 1861)

George Frederick BELCHER

George Frederick BELCHER
George Frederick BELCHER George Frederick BELCHER
b. 10 Jan 1823 at Dublin, Ireland
m. 25 Oct 1853 Julia Maria PEPPER at co Armagh, Ireland
d. 23 Oct 1909 at Geelong, Victoria, Australia aged 86
Joseph William BELCHER (1784 - 1865)
Elizabeth AUSTIN ( - 1861)
Siblings (11):
Elizabeth Josephine BELCHER (1812 - 1892)
William Redmond BELCHER (1814 - 1873)
Thomas Leopold BELCHER (1817 - )
Charles Urmston BELCHER (1819 - 1839)
Joseph Henry BELCHER (1820 - 1864)
Anna Theodosia BELCHER (1821 - 1864)
Marie Jane BELCHER (1824 - )
Sophia Louise BELCHER (1825 - 1891)
Susan Amelia BELCHER (1827 - 1924)
Marcella BELCHER (1828 - 1922)
Vere BELCHER (1831 - 1834)
Children (7):
Elizabeth Caulfield BELCHER (1856 - )
Alice Josephine BELCHER (1857 - 1889)
Joseph William BELCHER (1858 - 1944)
Sophia Julia BELCHER (1860 - 1944)
George Frederick BELCHER (1862 - 1873)
John Henry BELCHER (1865 - 1924)
Vere Essex BELCHER (1868 - 1868)
Grandchildren (2):
Lorna Evelyn CAY (1883 - ), George Clive CAY (1884 - )
Events in George Frederick BELCHER (1823 - 1909)'s life
Date Age Event Place Notes Src
10 Jan 1823 George Frederick BELCHER was born Dublin, Ireland
1839 16 Immigration Australia
25 Oct 1853 30 Married Julia Maria PEPPER co Armagh, Ireland
04 Jun 1856 33 Birth of daughter Elizabeth Caulfield BELCHER
16 Oct 1857 34 Birth of daughter Alice Josephine BELCHER
04 Nov 1858 35 Birth of son Joseph William BELCHER
06 May 1860 37 Birth of daughter Sophia Julia BELCHER Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
24 May 1861 38 Death of mother Elizabeth AUSTIN Ireland
01 Oct 1862 39 Birth of son George Frederick BELCHER Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
01 Oct 1865 42 Birth of son John Henry BELCHER
14 Dec 1865 42 Death of father Joseph William BELCHER (aged 81) Dublin, Ireland
17 Aug 1868 45 Birth of daughter Vere Essex BELCHER Geelong, Victoria, Australia
04 Nov 1868 45 Death of daughter Vere Essex BELCHER Geelong, Victoria, Australia
01 May 1873 50 Death of son George Frederick BELCHER (aged 10)
08 Nov 1889 66 Death of daughter Alice Josephine BELCHER (aged 32) Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
23 Oct 1909 86 George Frederick BELCHER died Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Personal Notes:

George Frederick Belcher (1823-1909), pioneer, was born on 10 January 1823 at 5 Old Dominick Street, Dublin, the sixth son of Joseph William Belcher (1784-1865), an Irish solicitor of English descent, and his equally Protestant wife, Elizabeth Austin (d.1861), of Waterfall, County Cork. He attended Bective House, a local school, and on 20 February 1839 reached Melbourne via Launceston in the barque Louisa Campbell, with his elder sister Anna, following two of their brothers and her husband, Charles Williams, auctioneer. Belcher soon passed through Geelong to visit Nentingbull, the station of J. J. B. Smythe, a returning fellow-passenger, and apparently early in 1840 he accompanied Arthur Boursiquot to his run near Mount Rouse, and thence to Port Fairy. But, beginning as managing agent for Smythe's small rented properties, and living first with his Williams relations, he made Melbourne his headquarters until after the arrival of his parents, his eldest sister Elizabeth, who a year later married William, brother of Edward, George and Alfred Langhorne, four younger sisters, and another brother, in March 1842.

Although for a time Belcher worked with his father, who was soon admitted to practice, in 1844 he joined a party under Robert Haverfield which drove 500 head of cattle from Alfred Langhorne's Dandenong station to Adelaide, in time for their dray to carry the boat when Charles Sturt's last expedition set out on 10 August. Belcher then stayed with his maternal cousin, (Sir) Robert Torrens. His sisters were married to brothers of Frederick von Stieglitz: Sophia to Charles in 1844 and Marcella to Robert in 1845; in December 1844 Belcher rode north-west from Robert's Ballan station to find new country for its increasing flocks. The result was the discovery and naming of Nhill, and Belcher's occupation of the 'Coonangamamool' or Lake Hindmarsh holding, near Jeparit.

Whether we lay in cave or shed
Our sleep fell soft on the hardest bed.
Fresh we woke upon the morrow;
We had health and we had hope
All our thoughts and words had scope.
Toil and travel, but no sorrow,
Those hardy days flew cheerily
And when they now fall drearily,
My thoughts, like swallows, skim the main
And bear my spirit back again,
Over the earth and through the air,
A wild bird and a wanderer.
These verses, written in 1883, when Belcher also recorded all he could then remember of his youthful composition, 'Fill the Goblet', which he sang at the Weatherboard station for his host, David Fisher, on the 1840 journey, show his appreciation of the primitive background. But in June 1845 he had qualified by examination for an appointment at the Port Phillip sub-Treasury. He lacked squatting capital, and began to find the pastoral life monotonous. Consequently, when his father, just before moving to Geelong and founding the firm to which T. C. Harwood succeeded, secured the next vacancy for him, Belcher left the bush and, on 9 July 1846, became junior clerk in the sub-Treasury, Melbourne, where he made his way undeflected by the gold rush.

Belcher was not attracted to the diggings. In December 1852, however, he sailed from Geelong, on leave, with his parents and widowed sister, Anna Williams, who were retiring to Ireland. When he returned to Victoria, in February 1854, he brought a wife, Julia Maria Pepper, sister to one of his former squatting associates. In May 1854 he was made sub-treasurer at Geelong, and in 1855 became land officer there. He lived first in the bluestone sub-treasury, which still stands; then at the south corner of the Aberdeen Street and La Trobe Terrace junction; from 1856 at Adzar, Highton. Resigning from government service in 1869, he moved to Ariel Cottage, Skene Street, and became a financial broker and land agent, having his office at first in the Chamber of Commerce, Moorabool Street, and then in his own neighbouring building.

Belcher was appointed vice-consul at Geelong for Norway and Sweden in 1872, and for Denmark in 1881. He was elected mayor of Geelong in 1873, and again in 1875, when he married as his second wife Frederica, eldest daughter of his former Highton neighbour, C. N. Thorne, with whom he lived partly at Merchiston Hall, East Geelong, which he bought from James Cowie in 1872, and partly in Allanvale, Kensington (Leopold), where she died in 1881. Belcher had seven children by his first marriage, and four sons, the eldest Sir Charles Belcher, chief justice and ornithologist, by his second. His third marriage, in 1887, to his sister-in-law, Florence Thorne, who survived him, was childless. He represented South-Western Province in 1875-81 and Wellington Province in 1882-86 in the Legislative Council, and was on the Geelong Grammar School Council from 1884, succeeding Sir Charles Sladen. He was the effective founder of St Matthew's Church, East Geelong, and from 1877 was closely linked with St Mark's Church, Leopold. He died at Merchiston Hall on 23 November 1909.

Belcher gave Leopold the site for its public hall, St John's Church, Highton, its ground, and Geelong a fountain which stands near the city's centre. But most of his many benefactions lacked publicity. His shrewd, conscientious, often obstinate wisdom screened quiet generosity and an unusual concern for people as individuals. His Irish humour was sometimes disconcerting, but he was habitually considerate. He appreciated occasions and anniversaries, and led in such causes as the fund for Jane Cooper (Duff), the erection of a Batman monument, and the marking of James Harrison's grave. As 'Old Mortality', and in other disguises, he became an occasional journalist who specialized in relevant reminiscence. He accepted rather than sought municipal and political office. Although he enjoyed his communal responsibilities, his thoughts were increasingly fixed upon his earthly home and the heavenly one beyond it. Sustained by a simple faith through shattering bereavements, he found comfort in the last verse of Newman's 'Lead, kindly Light'.

The death of one of his sons produced the best record of Belcher's life and character. This record, not begun until May 1873, became sixteen manuscript volumes in which diary, scrapbook, and recollections compose a valuable social and historical sketch. In 1956 the whole was presented to the State Library of Victoria by Sir Charles Belcher, who added to it his own slightly abridged but more easily read transcript.

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