Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thrashing neighbours

If any awkwardness arose from great great-grandfather William Pearson’s uneasy cohabitation of a sizeable chunk of East Gippsland alongside Captain John Michael Loughnan of Emu Vale, at least the failed litigant and non-dueling Vandiemonian was farther distant at Lindenow than Francis Desailly, whom William thrashed on March 9, 1849, at a hurdle race meeting at Green Wattle Hill. According to the formal announcement of the flormal division of leases of crown land in the Port Phillip Government Gazette, which was reprinted verbatim in the Argus (Melbourne) on August 27, 1848 (p. 4), Mr. Desailly’s “hut” was one of the officially defining co-ordinates of Kilmany Park:
No. 36. Helen Pearson, (now W[illia]m. Pearson) Name of run—Kilmany Park. Estimated Area—12,800 acres. Estimated grazing capabilities— 1200 head of cattle. [Bounded] on the south by the La Trobe river, on the west by a line from the old crossing place on the La Trobe river to that part of the road from the “old crossing” place which is two miles distant in a straight line; on the north by a line from that point on the said road to a marked tree on a morass a few hundred yards below Mr Desailly’s hut, and from thence to the nearest point of the Thomson or Maconochie river; on the east by the Thomson and La Trobe rivers to their junction. N.B.—This run has been transferred with the sanction of the government to Mr. William Pearson, in whose name the lease will accordingly be prepared.
Whether or not William felt justified in thrashing Francis Desailly over a now-forgotten dispute over this common boundary, or some other bad blood, clearly William’s conviction—for which Angus McMillan paid surety—went a certain distance toward clearing the air. We know of no other subsequent tensions along that margin of Kilmany Park, though the basic principle of genetic inheritance would suggest that a measure of distrust almost certainly lingered in perpetuity.

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