John Hewat in Bairnsdale

(Click on the small image to enlarge it. Courtesy of Victoria Dunlop)

The Bairnsdale Advertiser. Saturday 24 November 1883

At the Police Court on Thursday, before Messrs. Deverman and Bull Js P., P.E. Westaway and John Hewat jun. were proceeded against for damaging the public hall at Forge Creek. The case for the prosecution was that, having been denied the key of the hall until they had paid 5s. rent for the building for the night, they proceeded on the 1 7th inst. to the hall, broke open the door and damaged the lock. The defence was that they were under a reasonable impression that the hall was for the use of the public free of charge. Their worships after hearing the evidence fined the defendants 10s. each, 4s.9d. each damages, and to pay the costs between them. Mr. Greene appeared for the prosecution and Mr. Thomson for the defence.

The Bairnsdale Advertiser, Tuesday 27 November 1883

The defendants charged with damaging the Forge Creek public hall were E. Westaway and Andrew Hewat, not H.E. Westaway and John Hewat jun., as appeared in our report of the Police Court.

The Bairnsdale Advertiser. 15 November 1884

Bairnsdale Police Court, Friday, November 14

Wilful Destruction of Property

Matthew Woodman proceeded against John Hewat jun. for wilfully cutting down a fence on the 10th inst. Mr. Thomson appeared for the complainant and Mr. Greene for the defendant. The plaintiff's case was that he was the occupier of allotment 1 06A, Forge Creek. There was a Government road fenced in on the allotment, but he was negotiating with the council for the exchange of that road, which was useless to the public for another which would be useful. On the day in question the defendant, who lived near plaintiff, saddled his horse and armed with an axe, he proceeded from his house, chopped down the fence at one end of the road, galloped to the other end of the road, chopped down the fence there, and then returned home and turned his horse loose. When complainant spoke to defendant, he said he (plaintiff) had trod on his corns and he would make him suffer for it. The defence was that there was no malice, defendant being a bona fide traveller, and had a perfect right to remove all obstacles on the road he was travelling. The bench held that while the defendant would have been justified in removing obstacles on a road if he were a bona fide traveller, he had no right to maliciously destroy property even if it were on a public road. According to the plaintiff's evidence which was not contradicted by defendant's statement, the act was a malicious one, and they therefore fined him 10s. and 7s. costs.

The Bairnsdale Advertiser 27 October 1892

Bairnsdale Mechanics' Institute and Free Library

Applications are invited for the position of LIBRARIAN and COLLECTOR to the above institute. Specifications of duties may be seen on application to the Secretary. Salary [[sterling]]1 per week, with 10 per cent on members' subscriptions. Applications must reach the Secretary not later than 5 pm on 7th November.


Hon. Secretary

The Bairnsdale Advertiser, 8 November 1892

For the position of librarian and collector to the Bairnsdale Mechanics' Institute and Free Library, rendered vacant by the resignation of Mr. C.J. Barge, thirteen applications were received. The choice of the Committee fell upon Mr. John Hewat.

The Bairnsdale Advertiser, 12 April 1906


HEWAT. On the 10th April at his residence "Dalcove", Nicholson Street, Bairnsdale, John, eldest son of the late William Hewat, of the Provincial Bank of Ireland, Dublin, in his 70th year.

Mr John Hewat, a resident of Gippsland for over half a century, died on Tuesday at his residence in Nicholson street after a long illness. Mr Hewat was born in 1836, and he was therefore 70 years of age. He came to Australia in 1855 at the age of 19, to seek his fortune, as was the fashion amongst the adventurous and ambitious youth of Great Britain in those days. Practically the whole of the remainder of his life was spent in Gippsland. Mr Hewat's chief claim to the kindly memories of his fellow-citizens here lay in the prominent part he took in having the magnificent park at Eagle Point preserved for the people. In 1873 several people tried to persuade the Government to throw open the park for selection. As no action in opposition was taken by the townspeople Mr Hewat and a few other residents of Forge Creek determined to make an effort to have the park preserved as a heritage for posterity. A small committee was formed, with Mr Hewat as secretary, the sympathy and assistance of the shire council were enlisted, and such an effective protest was offered against the alienation of the park that the department refused to throw it open, and it has since been permanently reserved. The actual cost of the protest was only [[sterling]]10. Mr Hewat left a large family, all the members of which are grown up.

Note by Alan Hewat 1997

Eagle Point was still the favourite camping holiday for our family in the 1950's. My father and grandfather Robert (Bob) Hewat, with us four children and often maternal uncles and aunts and their families, lived for 2-3 weeks in huge tents. Swimming and boating on the lake, and fishing in the Tambo river were the main interests. In those days it was common to catch a hundred or more bream, fishing overnight by the light of lanterns.