David Ham

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Ballarat Gold Pioneers Prior to the Issue of the Gold License, 1851



David Ham was from Cornwall. He arrived in Australia in 1849 and arrived in the Ballarat district in September 1851, first digging for gold at Buninyong. He was a shareholder in the Seven Hills Estate Co. in 1875, a Director of the Llanberris Quartz Mining Co., Northern Star Co. and a Provisional Director of the Leviathan Syndicate Co. in 1887, and a Director of the Last Chance Co. in 1882.[1]

David Ham died in January 198. He was a member of the Old Colonists' Association.



There was a large and representative at tendance to-day at the funeral of Mr. David Ham, ex-M.L.C.A., of Ballarat, whose death from pne monia occurred at Queenscliffe on Friday. On Saturday Mrs. Ham received telegrams of condolence from the Prime Minister, the mayor of the city, arid from members of both Houses of Parliament, as well as from representative person in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland.[2]

David Ham, of Ballarat, died on 3rd inst. at Queenscliff from pneumonia, the result of a chill caught while bathing. Mr. Ham was a very early pioneer. He was born in Lansallos, Cornwall, and was in his 78th year. He arrived in Victoria in 1849 poor, friendless and unknown. Taking up his residence in Geelong in the year named he made the acquaintance of two other new arrivals, who Afterwards joined, with him in the opening up of Ballarat — Messrs. J. Oddie and J. P. Murray. In 1850 and 1851 Mr. Ham was engaged in farming at the Indented Heads, and with Mr. Murray witnessed the bush fire of Black Thursday, from which they escaped by jumping into a waterhole. Later he joined Messrs. T. C. Riddel and George Fawcett in conveying provisions to Ballarat. The price for cart age was then £120 per ton. Mr. Ham sub sequently followed the vocation of a digger at the Eureka, Little Bendigo, Canadian Gully, Mount Alexander, Fryer's Creek, and other famous fields. In Ballarat Mr. Ham opened a butchery, and in 1867 start ed business there as a sharebroker, and was on the whole very successful. Early in his career he lost several fortunes. Ha was closely associated with charitable institutions, and he distributed privately about £3 annually in charity, including help for the Ballarat Town Mission, of which he was one of the founders. Some years ago the secretary of a local church move ment received a cheque for £50, and it was subsequently ascertained that Mr. Ham was the donor. He was elected a member of the Legislative Council in 18-0, and he held the seat until the reduction of members, when he retired. Deceased was a local preacher and Sunday school super-intendant of the Methidist Church. Mr Ham, who was twice married, leaves a widow and family. Major Ham, who dis inguished himself in the late war in South Africa, is a son of the deceased, while Mr. Fred. Ham, barrister, of Ballarat; Dr. Ham of the Health department, Queensland; and Mr. W. S. Ham, of the Melbourne Stock Exchange, are also sons. Mrs Kingsbury, wife of Mr. J. J. Kingsbury, formerly Attorney-General of Queensland, now Crown Prosecutor, is a daughter of the deceased; and Mr. Arthur Baillieu married one of his daughters. There was a large and representative attendance on Sunday at the funeral of the late Mr. David Ham, ex-M.L.C., whose death from pneumonia occurred at Queenscliff on 3rd January. A short ser vice was conducted at the Barkly-street Sunday school by the Rev. D. J. Flockhart, superintendent of the Ballarat East circuit, and the cortege then proceeded to the Ballarat old cemetery, where the burial service was read by the Rev. J. G. Wheen, president of the Methodist conference, assisted by the Revs. Cock, Boberts and Westlau. On Sat urday Mrs. Ham and family received a telegram of condolence from the Prime Minister, Mr. Deakin; the mayors of the city and town, members of both Houses of Parliament, and other representative persons in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Mr. Ham had been prominently connected with Methodism in Ballarat East since 1856, and he preached to the diggers in a tent pitched on the site now occupied by the Barkly-street church.[3]

See also

James Oddie

Old Colonists' Association


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.[4]


  1. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~carrick/Ballarat%20a%20to%20b.html accessed 15 March 2013.
  2. Adelaide Express and Telegraph, 6 Jan 1908.
  3. Melbourne Leader, 11 January 1908.
  4. The Age, 21 July 1905.

Further Reading

External links

--Beth Kicinski 12:58, 23 February 2015 (AEDT)

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