The Trotman Family

Many thanks to Barbara Edwards (nee Trotman) of Wangaratta for material on the family.

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The “S.S.Strathfieldsaye” reached Australian shores in 1841, after a voyage of five months and among the passengers on board were William and Kezia Trotman, new settlers from Glouchestershire, with their three small children, Joseph 3 years,  Ann 2 years and Enoch 6 months.  As unassisted passengers, this trip had cost the family 48 pounds.

On arrival in the community of Port Phillip, only 6 years after John Pascoe Fawkner’s first landing party had ventured from Launceston, the family settled for a short time in Yarra Yarra, then to Collingwood and into Melbourne, residing in a cottage in Collins Street within yards of Westby & Company Timber Merchants.

They saw Melbourne’s population obtain its water supply from barrels driven from house to house, they joined in demonstrations which celebrated the creation of Victoria and its separation from New South Wales and watched the departure of the Burke and Wills expedition set out on its ill fated journey to the interior of the continent.

With the discovery of gold in 1851, William and his two elder sons left for the gold fields and worked several claims in the area of Ballarat and the following year found them in the Bendigo district.

On his return William took up land within the parish of Yuroke, where, although he had lived on a farm at home in England, was apparently not used to doing farm work himself and consequently found conditions in Australia harder than he expected.

Five more children had been born to William and Kezia during these years, Sarah, Helen, Emma, William and Robert the last child having been born in 1857.  The property on which the family lived was leased from Captain Hutton and Captain James Pearson (absentee owners).

William senior died in 1864 and Enoch three years later and both are buried in the Bulla Cemetery.  Kezia lived until aged 83 and died at Yarrawonga, living the last years of her life with her daughter Helen.


Joseph Trotman


Joseph took on the responsibility of the property and in 1869 purchased “Glen Arthur” at the price of 13 pounds 10 shillings an acre. The property was situated at the entrance to the present day Greenvale reservoir.  Married to Celia Stanlake and with a family of 15 children, Joseph was deeply involved with the Primitive Methodist Church at “Providence Place”.

He acted as Justice of Peace, sworn in 1875 and served as Shire President of Broadmeadows in 1874, 1875 and 1876.

1883 found the family moving north and settling to Wangaratta where Joseph died in 1932, aged 93 years. His family was scattered as wide as Vancouver, Gippsland, New South Wales and Western Australia.  One of his sons, Hubert Trotman, was an explorer and was instrumental in the establishment of the Canning Stock route across Western Australia.  Another son, Arthur, remained in the Broadmeadows area where he followed in his fathers footsteps as a farmer and councilor.


Robert Trotman


Robert Trotman, the youngest son of William and Kezia, also farmed on a property named “Springfield” adjacent to “Glen Arthur”.  Robert married Elizabeth Bethel, whose family operated the Post Office in Bulla Township. “Springfield” was bounded by Somerton and Mickleham Roads and the small creek to the north (present Hillview, French and Brenden Roads area). A mixed farm with emphasis on growing and harvesting hay for sale at Haymarket. The farmhouse still remains, although altered by cladding and aluminum windows, frames and minus veranda, looking out towards Mickleham Road among old pine and peppercorn trees.

Also on the northern boundary of the property is the cottage known as “North Springfield”, occupied for a time by the McKerchars and also thought to be the home of William and Kezia Trotman.  The cottage is still situated to the rear of Gambles property “Rocklands”.

Robert and Elizabeth’s children, Len, Robert and Maud attended the local Greenvale School and the family traveled by horse and cart each Sunday along the rough tracks to attend services at the Bulla Presbyterian Church.  Maud Trotman (Mrs.Vincent) who reached the grand age of 100 years in 1980, remembers well her childhood years at Greenvale. 


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