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THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE HUNTER FAMILY EDWARD HUNTER [1817-1895]
Edward Hunter was born on 24 February, 1817 at Longbenton, Northumberland, England to Robert and Martha Hunter [Reed]. He was the 10th born of 13 children, being the first of two sons, the other being Robert who was two years his younger. Edward was only 11 when his father died as a result of illness, whereby Edward left school and obtained employment at the collieries to assist his mother.
On 25 May 1845 at Bedlington, Northumberland, England he married Jane Pattison the daughter of William and Jane Pattison [Temperley]. For whatever reason that is unknown they moved to Seaham Harbour, Durham on the east coast of England where Edward over the ensuing years engaged in a number of occupations, these being Grocer’s clerk, Wagon-master at a colliery and then Bricklayer’s labourer. In the 1851 census they are registered as boarding in the residence of a widow and her daughter.
Edward and Jane had four children born at Seaham Harbour, Durham during the period prior to migrating to Australia, these being Jane Ann [1846-1848], Robert [1847- 1894], William [1849-1851] and Edward [1851-1938]. They sailed from the port of Sunderland, Durham on 11 September 1852 on the barque, "Emigrant" of some 407 tons carrying 113 passengers. After a long and tiring passage of 4 months they arrived at Port Phillip on 3 January, 1853.
Upon arrival, Edward accepted employment in Heidelberg. Over the following 2 years he established himself in the fruit growing and farming district as a manager, running Hartlands Nursery. In June 1858 Edward and a friend William Bragge signed an indenture to jointly lease a parcel of 25 acres of land, being part of the Maltravers Estate. This area is now the suburb of Ivanhoe East at the Yarra Flats Park next to the Yarra River and back to Lower Heidelberg Road. This land was farmed by both Edward and his friend William Bragge where they established market gardens and orchards. This produce was then taken via wagon along the Heidelberg Road, seven miles to the Melbourne Market.
The owner of Maltravers Estate was Thomas Browne, Esquire (Noted Australian author, who used the pseudonym of Rolfe Boldrewood, writer of the novel, Robbery Under Arms). The Maltravers Estate was part of the original Hartlands Estate which was 313 acres in size and established in 1840 and owned by Captain Sylvester Brown, father of Thomas Browne.
During the period of 14 years in the Heidelberg District, Edward and Jane had a further six children, being William Thomas , John Joseph , James , George , Martha Jane  and James Henry .
Commencing early in 1867 Edward was able to directly purchase land from The Crown and he selected 4 adjoining allotments at Wandin Yallock, totalling 280 acres establishing a home [off Queens Road] with frontages to the roads to become known as Hunter Road and Queens Road. Later Edward added another 122 acres making a total of 402 acres.
Along with George Johnston, they were the first land owners in the district who were able to directly purchase their land from The Crown, being the only known exception to the licensing system of leasing. Edwards eldest son, Robert was granted an allotment of 80 acres in Queens Road in the February of 1867.
It is unknown as to whether Edward or his son, Robert were the first of the family to clear the land due to their farming commitments back at Heidelberg.
Edward was a well known and active person in the Wandin Yallock district being greatly involved in the early development and formative years of the community. Below are a number of his achievements and contributions to the District:
1. He was the first Chairman of the Board of Advice of the Common School;
2. Trustee of the Methodist Church from its inception;
3. He was also a Shire Councillor from 1874 to 1877;
4. In 1882 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace;
5. He was the foundation President of the Wandin District Horticultural Society formed in 1890;
6. He was the first Chairman of Directors of the Wandin Pioneers Company Ltd;
And not to forget his achievements and success as a fruit-grower and nurseryman, where he propagated a new thornless raspberry, which he named Hunter’s Perfection. The Raspberry culture of 1871 was a time when the prosperity of the people grew steadily apace with the raspberry culture which was increasing where it was not unusual for 30 men and boys from the city to be employed on one plantation in the picking season. The raspberry picking lasted about 6 weeks in a good season, that was when the weather was suitable, as they require rain every few days, the dry weather shortening the picking season.
The favourite species grown was the Common Red, until Edward Hunter and Sons of the renowned Mount Pleasant Nursery introduced a larger and more profitable raspberry named the Northumberland Fill-basket. He also raised a new smooth caned variety which he named Wandin. Edward was one of the largest growers in the district producing 3 to 5 tons of fruit to the acre. He was a great aid to the surrounding district, supplying the growers with reliable fruit trees and ornamental shrubs.
Edward died at home in Wandin Yallock on 12 January 1895, aged 78. The Life of Edward Hunter Senior is a most interesting story with many successes and achievements.
-------------------------------------------- LILYDALE EXPRESS 21 June 1907:
The following is an article from the Lilydale Express regarding the life of Jane (Pattison) Hunter one of the oldest residents of the Wandin District who passed away peacefully on Monday evening last, at the age of 86 years.
The deceased went to that district about 40 years ago with her husband, the late Edward Hunter Snr, and the family from Heidelberg, and has resided in the Wandin District ever since.
Being of a genial, cheerful and kindly disposition, she naturally endeared herself to all classes of the community, and was held in respect by all who knew her. Like all pioneers, her early life was one of toil. She evinced keen interest in every movement for the advancement of the district, and rendered every assistance within her power.
To church work, while she was able to attend, much of her energies were devoted. Her generous spirit and willingness to assist found ample scope, and no cause languished for want of help to which she could respond. She had the pleasure of seeing members of her family all comfortably settled in life, to all whom she exhibited warm affection.
Of late years growing infirmity compelled her to sever herself from the society she loved to mix and to remain in the seclusion of her own home. Surrounded, however by the members of her family, much comfort and cheerfulness was her lot. It can be truly said that hers was an exemplary life, wherein was exhibited all the characteristics of noble womanhood - a sterling Christian character and devotion to her family, loved by all and the enemy of none.
By the death of Mrs Hunter, another of the few remaining pioneers has been removed, and only a small number now remains of the first settlers who carved out homes in the Wandin Forest and paved the way, by their enterprise and energy for the successful issue to which this settlement has been carried.
Severed from her partner in life by the hand of death over 12 years ago, the distressed lady bore with commendable resignation that severe blow. A few brief hours illness on Monday closed her worthy career, and she passed away peacefully in the presence of members of the family and friends, who now mourn their loss. The internment took place in the Lilydale cemetary on Wednesday, the cortege being a lengthy one. The Rev.R.Brown conducted the burial service.