On 15 & 16 May 1949 (Sunday & Monday) the Malseed family in Australia held a reunion to celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the arrival of the first Malseeds in Portland, Victoria. (14
the Centenary reunion celebration was reported in the papers.
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||Newspaper clipping about the 1949 reunion. Note the
hand-written correction at the top, "Rathmullen not Ramelton" referring
to the fact that John Malseed did not come from Ramelton as stated in
the article. (Not corrected was the fact that Ramelton is in the
Republic of Ireland, not Northern Ireland.)
Pioneer Honored at Portland
The pealing of the bell of Wesley Church, Portland, on Sunday
was the signal for 300 descendants of pioneer John Malseed to assemble for a
two-day ceremony to celebrate the centenary of the arrival of Malseed and his
wife, Betty, at Portland, in 1849. These pictures were taken on Sunday
during the pageant depicting the arrival of Malseed and some of his relatives
who followed him two years later. Malseed came from Ramelton, County
Donegal, Northern Ireland, when he was 26. He was forced to migrate
because of a famine. Above: One of the landings. Left: Mrs. Fifi
O'Shannesy (as the pioneer's wife, Betty) being carried ashore. She was a
Miss Malseed. Right: Mr. Robert Malseed, 89, oldest representative of the
||A portion of a second article.
MALSEEDS' LANDING AT PORTLAND
Descendants in Colourful Pageant on Bay
A colourful pageant, watched by hundreds of people at
Portland yesterday, re-enacted the century-old landings of the pioneer members
of the Malseed family.
Descendants of the Malseeds are the most numerous of the families that arrived
in Portland directly after the Hentys, and 300 of the clan were present at the
centenary re-union. They came from all parts of Western Victoria and
The celebrations began on Sunday afternoon with a commemoration service in the
Methodist Church. Two hundred members of the family tree crowded the
church. Each wore a ribbon, the colour of which denoted the branch from
which he or she had sprung. The colours were black, gold, white, mauve and
red, indicating five lines of Malseeds. In addition, representatives of
public bodies were present, including the Mayor (Mr. H. V. MacLeod, M.L.C.) amd
Mayoress (Mrs. MacLeod), Mr. H. R. Hedditch, M.L.A. and Mrs. Hedditch, Dr.
Maling (President of Portland Hospital), borough and shire councillors and local
Two poems were presented at the reunion. ("Salutation", and "The Cot")
Let all salute those first, fine pioneers,
Who breathed fierce pride into this land of ours,
Then handed on a heritage to keep
And guard; to serve and build through waking hours.
With courage high they left old lands to seek
New homes where they their lives might live
In happiness; to know the joys of toil,
And to this land their full allegiance give.
New land found they, made it their very own,
With cattle, sheep, fine horses; virile strong;
Green pastures filled with goodly, wholesome food;
A deep, sweet land, a land for which men long.
Their women-folk, our folk, our mothers dear
Living full lives in care of growing youth,
And building homes where homes were not before,
And teaching us the ways of right and truth.
Salute full-well their honoured memories,
Lift high your thoughts and sing again their praise,
For they were pioneers of virtuous strength
That succoured them throughout their livelong days.
The Cot (By A. L. Adamson)
The offspring of the Malseeds who came in forty-nine
Across the sea from Ireland to found another line
Are searching out the records which tell of other days,
Of pioneers and hardships, and feats that now amaze.
They in this district settled; they worked with might and main,
Their home grew up around them a-gracing the terrain;
They raised them goodly families; they far were known and wide
As friends and goodly neighbours whom no one could deride.
The offspring of the Malseeds, a hundred years now sped,
In honour of their forbears, in honour of their dead,
Have raised some cash among them, a cot it will endow;
No fitter way to honour them, I'm sure you'll all avow.
(The family provided a bed for the Portland hospital.)
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Page last updated:
14 March 2007