David Ham

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David Ham


David Ham was born 04 November 1830 at Lansell, Cornwall, England.[1] He died in 1908 at Queenscliff aged 77.

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Post 1854 Experiences

New Houses of Parliament, 1854. State Library of Victoria Collection, Designed under the general instructions of Captn Charles Pasley, R.E. Commissioner of Public Works. Architects Messrs Lynght & Kerr (H18179)

Ham was a politician. He presented the marble lions at the entrance to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.


DEATH OF A VICTORIAN PIONEER. - Mr. David Ham, of Ballarat, a very early pioneer, died to-day at Queenscliffe from pneumonia, the result of a chill caught while bathing. Mr. Ham was born in Lansells, Cornwall, and was in his 78th year. He arrived in Victoria in 1849. He was elected a member of the Legislative Council in 1886, and he held the seat until the reduction of members, when he retired.[2]

DEATH OF MR. D. HAM. - Mr. David Ham, exM.L.C, died at Queenscliff to-day from pneumonia. Deceased, who leaves a widow and large grown-up family, was interested in mining and other companies, and represented tho Wellington province in the Legislative Council for 18 years.[3]

DEATH OF MR. D. HAM, - A PIONEER'S CAREER. QUEENSCLIFF, Friday-A leading colonist and old pioneer Mr David Ham, of Ballarat, died this morning at the residence of his son in law, Mr A S Baillieu, "Lathamstowe"' Queenscliff, from acute pneumonia. The remains were taken to Ballarat by this evenings train, and the funeral will take place on Sunday.
BALLARAT. Friday. - Great surprise and regret were ecpressed on Friday when it became known that Mr David Ham had died during the morning at Queenscliff, where he bad been spending his holidays.
Born at Lansells, England, on November 4, 1830, Mr Ham arrived in Victoria in his 19th year, and found employment in a grocer's shop at Geelong in July, 1849. In the early digging days he proceeded to Ballarat, but returned to Geelong. After various moves he settled down in Ballarat and soon had success in alluvial mining, one of his first claims giving him and his mates good returns. At Canadian he and his comrade (William Waters) found a nugget of fair size. About 1854 he started a butcher's shop and store near the spot where the Orphanage now is. Selling out of this business, he subsequently was a sawmiller at Carngham, and an agent and sharebroker at Smythesdale. Later he came into Ballarat and at the time of his death was a member of the Stock Exchange and a director of various mining companies, including the Jubilee, at Scarsdale. In 1886 he gained a seat in the Legislative Council and retained it until the reduction of members when he and Mr Edward Morey were rejected at the polls. Upon the death of Sir Henry Cuthbert both unsuccessfully sought re-election and since then both have died within a comparatively short time. During his term in Parliament. Mr Ham did good work on the Forests Commission. He travelled all over Victoria and was very emphatic in urging that our timber supplies should be properly protected. He took a close interest in various loca institutions. :Mr Ham was a liberal giver to charitable causes and for years had been a prominent Methodist churchman. But a few months ago he celebrated his golden wedding, both he and his wife then being, in good health. Mr Ham's decease supervened upon an attack of acute pneumonia contracted at Queenscliff on Monday last.
Mr Ham leaves nine children, six sons and three daughters. The sons are Captain Ham who saw service in South Africa; Mr William Ham, stock and station agent, of Brisbane; Dr Bert Ham, health officer of Queensland; Mr Fred Ham, barrister, of Ballarat; Dr Hedley Ham, of Melbourne; and Mr Walter Ham, sharebroker of Melbourne. The funeral will take place on Sunday afternoon. [4]

A M.L.C.'s WILL. The will of the late David Ham, M.L.C., of Ballarat, provides for the distribution of sums up to £200 to various charities, while several legacies are left to friends, and the balance of £30,000 to be divided among widow and family. [5]

In The News

Mr. James Oddie, F.G.S., of Ballarat, who organised in Decemberd last the demonstra tion in celebration of the 50th anniversary of tlie Eureka Stockade, and which was at tended by old diggers from nearly all partsof Australia, is desirous of starting a move ment having for its object the recognition of the part residents of Geelong took in con nection with the first discovery of gold at Ballarat in 1851. Mr. Oddie, who arrived in Corio Bay in the Larpent towards the close of the forties, and lived in Geelong for several years prior to 1851, states that the gold dis coveries at Ballarat Were really due to the enterprise of two parties of Geelong pioneers, organised by Messrs. Connor and Mer-rick. He was a member of one of the par-, which operated with great success at Golden Point. Their discoveries were followed by the great rush, which resulted in the opening up of an immense field. Mr. Oddie, who erected at a cost of £1500 the statue in Sturt-street of Peter Lalor, proposes that a monument should be raised in Geelong to the memory of Messrs. Connor and Merrick snd their parties, and he is anxious to join in any movement with that object. Failing the erection of a monu ment, he proposes that a tablet should be placed in the Geelong Town Hall, together with a brief history of the early Ballarat gold fields, embodying the names of the Geelong pioneers, who led the way in the discoveries at Golden Point, Eureka and other places.
A HISTORY OF GEELONG WANTED. Mr. Oddie regrets that a history of Geelong has not yet been written, on the lines of Withers's "History of Ballarat," and says it would be well if some enterprising publisher were to take the matter in hand before death removes the few remaining pioneers who could supply the information necessary to make an interesting book of 400 or 500 pages. He states that if the sug-gestion were adopted he would place at the disposal of a publisher a large quantity of valuable information regarding the early days of Geelong, together with sketches of public men, photos and statistical records. Mr. David Ham, ex-M.L.C., of Ballarat, who arrived in Geelong in 1849, announces that he would be willing to assist in the compilation of a history of the town, With the stirring affairs of which was closely associated in the early fifties. Mr. Oddie points out that there are still living in Geelong a number of the early pioneers, including Mr. G. F. Belcher, who could also sup ply a deal of information in respect to olden times, and all could be turned to useful account in the way suggested.[6]

By W.L.
Old Ballaratians scattered all over the Commonwealth, and, indeed, over the English-speaking world, are turning their eyes and their thoughts back to Ballarat. To them has come the call for a home reunion during Easter week. A general committee, with several sub-committees, is making extensive arrangements for a grand reunion extending from Tuesday, April 3, over Monday, April 10, and it is expected that many hundreds will avail themselves of the opportunity of revisiting the scenes of their early life.
Of the people who have left Ballarat during the last 30 years, there are estimated to he about 11,000 abroad. The figure is arrived at by taking the population in that period, the excels of the birth rate over the mortality rate, and the average death rate among those who left the place. Whilst Ballarat people are to be found all over the world, the vast majority of those who have left the city are settled somewhere in the metropolitan area of Victoria. From them the call home is meeting with a splendid response. Intimations have also been received of dwellers far distant returning home for Easter-week. Unfortunately, many brave young men who a few months ago thrilled at the sound of the name of their native city will not even hear the call home. They lie in their eternal sleep in Gallipolian Valleys or on French farms in the vicinity of the Somme. In the midst of its rejoicing, Ballarat will not forget its noble dead, nor its proud sons who are still fighting Freedom's battle.
Drawn generally from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, the men of the early Ballarat days were of a resolute and progressive type. Very few of them went to the goldfields intending to remain there, but the freedom of their environment accorded with their disposition, and they settled down to fashion the bushcountry around them into the beautiful city that Ballarat now is. The late Mr. Duncan Gillies was typical of the first residents of Ballarat. Digger at first, he became a member of the Legislative Assembly for Ballarat West in 1860, but lost his seat in 1868, when he first accepted office as Minister for Lands in the Sladen Ministry. Subsequently he was Premier of Victoria. An earlier pioneer of Ballarat, who also became a legislator, was Mr. Peter Lalor, one of the leaders of the Eureka Stockade riot against the Government authorities in 1854. Mr. J.B. Humffray and he were the first representatives of Ballarat in the old Legislative Council before the Constitution Act came into force. While representing the electorate of Grant in the Legislative Assembly Mr Lalor was elected Speaker of the House. Colonel W. C. Smith, or, as he was more familiarly known during the greater part of his Parliamentary career, "the Major," was another Ballarat man of some note who attained Ministerial rank. The late Mr. W.M.K. Vale, a former Attorney-General, was a Ballarat man of those stirring political times, while the late Sir Henry Cuthbert and the late James Campbell, M.L.C.'s. were typical Ballarat men who also became Ministers of the Crown. Turning to the municipal life of Ballarat - speaking collectively of the city and the town-the services of such men as James Oddie (the first chairman of the municipal council), Dr. James Stewart, Robert Lewis - (of Rowlands and Lewis), Daniel Brophy, John Whiteman Gray, J. Noble Wilson, Frederick M. Claxton, John Hickman, E. Morey, James McDowall, John G. McDonald, Charles C. Shoppee (city), W. B. Rodier. Dr. Clendinning, William Scott, Emanuel Steinfeld, James Russell, James Long, Theophidus Williams, and John Ferguson stand out. They were men of broad minds and high ideals. Ballarat's interests were supreme with them.
Among other men who influenced the life of Ballarat considerably in its earlier years were Mr. John Russell Thomson, whose magnificent bequest of statuary in the pavilion at the botanic gardens has attracted notice in world art centres; Mr. Thomas Stoddart, who made the first gift of statuary to the botanic gardens. Mr David Ham, a member of-the Legislative Council; Judge Rogers, Judge Trench, and Judge Gaunt, Mr. R. Walsh, Q.C., Mr. C.B. Finlayson, Q.C. (formerly Crown prosecutor), Mr. R. M. Serjeant (member of 'the Legislative, Assembly in I860), Mr., Andrew Anderson, Mr. R.T. Vale (a former member of Parliament for Ballarat West, who died recently), Mr. E. J. Bateman, one of the founders of the Ballarat "Star".
Public men of note who are still living include Mr Agar Wynne (who attained Ministerial- rank in both Stale and Commonwealth), Mr. J. Y. McDonald (who within the last few weeks resigned from the Legislative Council), Mr. T. D. Wanliss (formerly n member of the Legislative Council, and now a resident of Scotland), Mr. W. M. Achesoon, Mr. A.M. Greenfield, and Mr. J.M. Bickett.
Among the old Ballaratians residing in various parts of the Commonwealth are men prominent in legislation, law, art, science, and business. Legislators are found in the Minister for Customs (Mr. Jensen), the Victorian Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hagelthorn), Mr. Membrey (honorary State Minister), Mr. McWhae, M.L.C., and Mr. Menzies, M.L.A. The Chief Justice of Tasmania (Mr. Justice Nicholls), Judge Eagleson, and Judge Wasley are old Ballarat boys, as is Sir Bernard O'Dowd, poet and assistant, State Parliamentary draughtsman. Mr. H. E. Starke, the well known barrister, though born at Creswick, spent his boyhood in Ballarat. The Commonwealth Under Treasurer (Mr. J. R. Collins) is a native of Ballarat. Medical men among old Ballarat boys include Dr. Orr, of Collins street: Dr. T. E. Wills, of Malvern; Dr. H. E. Letcher, of Adelaide; Dr. G. F. Sleeman, of Creswick; Dr. J. H. Sleeman, of Portland; Dr. Gawne of Jeparit; Dr Fred Middleton, of the Ross Sea Antarctic Relief Expedition; and Drs. F. und H. V.- Bennett, of Prahran. Mr. A. A. Buley, formerly principal of Grenville College, where Mr. Justice Nicholls, Judge Eagleson, and Judge Wasley received their secondary education, is now on the staff of the Melbourne High School. Mr.D. Avery, of the Working Men's College-staff; Chief Inspector Fussell, Inspectors T. E. and J. J. Bothroyd and Mr. W. F. Gates (assistant chief inspector), of the Education department; and Mr. A.A. Peverill, chief clerk of the Lands department, are, old Ballarat boys, as well us the mayor of Prahran (Councillor Austin Embling), the Rev. S. Hoban, of the Central Methodist Mission, Sydney, and the Rev. M. Daly, Colac. Mr. William Davidson, formerly inspector - general of public works in Victoria, received his initial instruction in Surveying while a resident oí Ballarat, and the State income tax commissioner (Mr. R. M. Weldon) is a native of the city. Mr. J. F. Kirby, 'of Coleraine, who won the Melbourne Cup with The Parisian in 1911, was captain of the Ballarat Football Club in the seventies. Both Mr. Will Dyson, the artist, and Mr. E. Dyson claim Ballarat as their birthplace. Mr. Watkin Wynne, general manager of the "Daily Telegraph" newspaper in Sydney, in an old Ballaratian. He won the swimming championship of Ballarat in 1876, and the championship of Geelong by defeating Stedmun, on the Barwon River. Mr. Mcphan Ferguson, head of the Engineering firm which bears his name, was in business in Ballarat before he came to Melbourne. Ballarat men are conspicuous among members of the Stock Exchange of Melbourne. They include Messrs. W. J. Roberts (chairman). John McWhae. John S. Reid, Wallace Smith, John Rippon, A. E. and B. Millard, A. H. Tonkin, F. W. Holst, and J. Buchanan. Among other old Ballaratians may he mentioned Messrs- Alfred, Walter, and Frederick Sutton, of Suttons Proprietary Limited; Frederick and Maurice Cohen, of S. Cohen and Sons, hardware merchants; John Bailey, conductor of the Melbourne Choral Society: John West, secretary of the National Union; Hugh V. McKay, of the Sunshine Harvester Works; J.W. Kirton, formerly a member of the Legislative Assembly, and now secretary of the Master Bakers Association; Ex-Inspector Beckmann, of Warrnambool; Messrs. Hans Irvine, formerly member for Grampians in the House of Representatives; S. E. Figgis, secretary of the Colonial Gas Company, and a noted bowler in the Ballarat Cricket Club 33 years ago; Lieut. Colonel Wanniss, who had charge of a battalion in the First Australian Expeditionary Force; Captain D.J. Ham, who served through the Boer war; Major Jackson; and Messrs. J. IH. Dill and D. Murray, legal managers: E. Cocking. J. L. Anderson; James Scobie, the well-known trainer; Mr. H. Niven, (F.W. Niven and and Co.), and Mr. E. A. Bennett (Superintendent of the Homeopathic Hospital).
Miss Mary Gaunt, the novelist; the Lady Mayoress of Melbourne (Lady Hennessy). Ladv Irvine (wife of Sir William Irvine, K.C.). Mr. J.R. Trantham Fryer (Miss Bechervaise), and Mrs. J.J. Kingsbury (wife of a former Queensland Minister of the Crown, and now a Crown prosecutor) may also be mentioned as old Ballaratians. [7]

See also

Legislative Council

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


  1. Adelaide Advertiser, 4 January 1908.
  2. Adelaide Advertiser, 4 January 1908.
  3. Hobart Mercury, 4 January 1908.
  4. The Argus, 04 January 1908.
  5. Sydney Sunday Times, 19 January 1908.
  6. The Age, 21 July 1905.
  7. The Argus, 3 March 1917

External links