Eclectic collection of a Scottish Victorian pioneer

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 7th April, 2016

John Carre Riddell was a leading pastoralist and politician in mid-19th century Victoria.

Born and educated in Scotland, with his cousin Thomas Hamilton Riddell migrated in 1839 to Sydney and the following month rode to Melbourne.

They briefly visited Victoria’s Western District before in early 1840 buying the stock and de-pasturing licence of the Mount Macedon run which, six years later, was 78 square kilometres in size.

In addition to owning much of the land in the Gisborne district and nearer Melbourne, Riddell was a successful politician – holding the seat of West Bourke in the Legislative Assembly from 1860-1877.

A liberal politician by nature, Riddell favoured compulsory and secular education and the reduction of State aid to religion.

Both the township of Riddell and Riddell’s Creek are named after him and in 1853 he built the homestead Barbower at 102 Barbower Road, Edgecombe (near Kyneton) for his Scottish wife who stipulated she would come to Australia only if he did so.

The Riddell family is auctioning the property (which is still surrounded by 108 hectares of grazing land) on April 30 and auctioneer Steve Graham has been asked to auction items belonging to family members spanning several generations on site from 10am on April 10.

There is an enormous and eclectic collection of items and memorabilia on offer including books and bottles from the 1850s, a World War I horse-drawn stretcher and an old sawn-off shotgun hidden behind a shed wall.

With many of the auction items dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, other aspects of interest include a blacksmith’s workshop and several historic shearing items.

There is the usual collection of rustic and necessary farm items including wagon wheels, grindstones, milk separators, wool classing table and wool bale press.

Other items include farm gates, gold  miners machinery, vintage tools, storage cabinets and furniture. 

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