As Avenel gears up for its 175th birthday, the Telegraph has been running histories of some of the town's oldest families - and this one is hard to top.By Chalpat Sonti
From notes supplied by Jenny Vass and ‘‘Memories of Avenel’’ by Amelia Burgoyne
It’s just not possible to discuss Avenel’s history without mentioning the names Mutton, Prince and Burgoyne.
Where to start is easy. It’s with immigrants William and Elizabeth Mutton, who married on the Channel Islands in 1846 and arrived in Australia about three years later, settling at Seymour where they met misfortune in floods.
In the spring of 1849 the couple sighted for the first time what was to eventually become the town they called home, having travelled 12 miles from Seymour along a rough-hewn bush track.
The Muttons and John Burrows were the first people to buy land in Avenel, offered for sale in Melbourne that year.
Avenel at that point was 60
In 1848 before the land sale he sold out to brothers Lloyd and Bowen Jones.
About the time the Hughes arrived, next door the Anderson brothers had the Mangalore run (83
William Mutton soon prospered as a blacksmith and general store owner, later buying more land.
The couple’s first child, Henry James Mutton, was born at Seymour in 1851, due to the lack of any facility at Avenel.
The Muttons then built the first brick and stone house in Avenel and their daughter Eliza Jane was born there in April 1852.
She is often referred to as the first white child born in Avenel, though her descendant Jenny Vass believes it is more accurate to say she was the first registered birth of a white child in the town.
William Mutton prospered but did not live long to enjoy it. He died in 1856, and the day before his death his brother arrived from England to see him. It was fortuitous. Mr Mutton’s brother had misplaced his address and on arrival in Melbourne just took a Cobb and Co coach north, probably oblivious to where he was going.
When the coach stopped in Avenel, the driver enquired of a groom ‘‘How is Mr Mutton?’’ and on overhearing this his brother realised he had found who he was looking for.
Mrs Mutton rented out 40
Both William and Elizabeth Mutton were buried at the old Avenel Cemetery near Lambing Gully Rd and their headstones still stand there, along with one other.
Other members of the family emigrated to Avenel from the United Kingdom and Eliza married Joseph Prince in 1870. It was about the time Lloyd Jones gave the land for St Paul’s Church, when it was based in the ‘‘old town’’ (the church was moved to its present site in 1912).
Joseph and Eliza Prince had 14 children, seven girls being followed by three boys, a girl, boy and two girls.
One of their daughters was Amelia, whose book Memories of Avenel is a marvellous chronicle of the early days of the town and required reading for anyone interested in its history. It is partly compiled from her mother’s diaries.
One of Joseph and Eliza’s sons, Joe, played football for South Melbourne, another son Charles was a jockey and horse trainer and Amelia married Frederick Burgoyne, a cooper.
Fred worked at Gadd’s store for more than 40 years and the couple were life members of the golf club, while Amelia was a founding member of Avenel’s CWA branch.
Many of their descendants continue to live in the Avenel and Seymour areas.
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