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William & Elizabeth Mutton Early Pioneer of Avenel (1850)

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William & Elizabeth Mutton

These pioneers William Henry Mutton and his wife, Elizabeth, were immigrants, who had arrived at Melbourne, in the ship, Lady Loch, three years previously, in 1846, to seek a new life in a new land which was then known as the Port Phillip District of New South Wales.

W. H. Mutton was born at Callington, Cornwall, on 22 September 1825. He was the son of Robert and Barbara Mutton and grandson of William Kellow, squire of Callington. He was always described, by those who knew him to the end of his days, as a gentleman in every respect, by education and nature. He was twenty four years of age when he arrived in Avenel. His bride Elizabeth Locke, of the Jersey Islands, was of French descent and younger than he. Their long voyage on the sailing ship had been a great adventure for them, a journey to a land so different from everything they had known, where they would make a home for themselves in pioneering conditions.

In 1847, they had settled in Seymour, soon after their arrival in the colony, but had suffered losses in disastrous floods when the Goulburn River burst its banks. They then decided to move further north along the Old Sydney Rd to Hughes Creek, on the Avenel Run, where the Government was offering Crown land for sale.

William Henry Mutton and a teamster names John Burrows were the first men to buy blocks of land in the township of Avenel, at the first land sale, held in Melbourne in 1849.

As there was no easy market for sale of farm-products, W. H. Mutton turned his talents to practical use. He opened a blacksmith’s shop, of bark and slabs, with a primitive forge, for shoeing horses and doing wagon repairs for “squatters” on the local cattle stations and sheep stations, and for travellers on the rutty Sydney Rd . This was the first place of business in the township, later he opened a general store.

The second people to arrive in the village that was to be John Burrows, the teamster. They arrived by bullock-wagon. John Burrows made a living by carting wool to Melbourne and returning with stores.

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