John Fellows, when he died in 1876, was described as being “late of Oakland, Mickleham”. This was distinct from the property “Oaklands” north of the Old Broadmeadows township.  In this sense the name was used as a locality name, and described a large area from Oaklands Junction in the south as far north as Mickleham.   John Fellows was recorded in the 1863 Broadmeadows Shire Rates book as the owner of a farm and land at Mickleham.[i]   When he died his will described an unfenced farm of 220 acres which contained a four-roomed house built of palings and slabs, again, distinct from the stone-built property “Oaklands” to the south.  His property was described as being in Portion 18 of the Parish of Mickleham.[ii]

The Fellows’ were a northern Irish family from Country Antrim.  Their arrival in Australia has not been traced, but they appear to have arrived with a grown family of five daughters.  They were in the district by 1847 when an advertisement was placed in The Melbourne Argus to indicate that the list of subscribers which followed undertook to pay the amount stated for three years to pay the wages of a schoolteacher for a “School near the Townships of Woodstock and Wellington, Mercer’s Vale” (now Beveridge).  John Fellows promised to pay £1 per annum for three years.  Another name on the list was Andrew Boyd, possibly by that time the Fellows’ son-in-law.[i]  Fellows did not appear on a list of Electors published in the newspapers in 1850, so we can conclude he was not yet a landowner.

Over the next few years the Fellows’ daughters married, and John and Agnes acquired the farm at Mickleham. Here they resided here in a “four roomed house built of palings and slabs”.  They had built up a respectable list of assets when John died on 16 August 1876,  aged 76.  Agnes had pre-deceased him in 1874, aged 77 years.

The Fellows’ family grave is at the Donnybrook Cemetery.  John and Agnes’ daughter Jane Anderson, who died  at Wellington, Kalkallo in 1853, is memorialised on her parents’ gravestone, but was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery.  Another daughter, Elizabeth Menzies, died at Albury in 1913, but is commemorated at the Donnybrook Cemetery.  Possibly her remains were returned for burial near her family.[2]

The private burial plot and the substantial stone memorial attests to the material success of the immigrants.

One of the witnesses to Fellows’ signature on his Will, dated 31 July 1870,  was Eli Chew of Kalkallo, described as a teacher, and the other was Alexander Hatty of Mickleham. Eli Chew is also buried at Donnybrook with his family.[3]

Fellows left his farm at Oaklands divided equally between his four surviving daughters.  Another plot of land, 67 acres at Springfield on the Merri Creek, which he had co-owned with his son-in-law Andrew Boyd, he left to Andrew’s widow Ann.

Two personal bequests were made: to his grandson, Samuel Anderson, the eldest son of his deceased daughter Jane, who received £50; and a sum of £20 to his daughter Agnes.  The house and farm at Mickleham, together with all his goods and chattels, including stock, were to be left for the use of his wife Agnes until her death, but as she had died before him, this was not necessary.  The farming activity  had perhaps declined in Fellows’ last years, as the stock comprised two cows, two calves and five steers.

John Fellows’ executor, wine and spirit merchant Duncan Robert McGregor of Melbourne, declared that the real estate totalled under £1115 in value, and the personal assets amounted to £291-15-6.[4]  The balance of the estate after bequests and expenses, was also divided equally between the remaining four daughters.

Photos courtesy of Carol Judkins,  Carol’s Headstone Photographs

Detail from a map of Mickleham, County of Bourke, circa 1885. Map RM/2741/108 National Library of Australia

Portion 18 at the top right of the map was granted to C Payne, containing 441 acres.  In Fellows’ time it had evidently been subdivided into two lots of about 220 acres.   The road at the north boundary of Portion 18 is Donnybrook Road.  This joins Mickleham Rd in the west at right-angles. Thanks to Ian Morgan for working this out.


Lenore Frost 27 July 2014


[1] Craigieburn Historical Interest Group, ‘A list of Mickleham land owners in 1863”,   Viewed 26 Jul 2014.

[1]  VPRS 7591 P2 28.  Public Record Office Victoria (PROV).

[1] Advertising. (1847, March 23). The Melbourne Argus (Vic. : 1846 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from

[1] Lugton, Tony. Donnybrook Cemetery  Viewed 26 Jul 2014.

[1] Ibid.

[1] VPRS 28 P2 54. PROV.