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Caroline Elizabeth Newcomb, Pioneer Pastoralist, Victoria (1812-1874)

Teapot - Silver - Miss Newcomb

Image: Teapot - Silver - Miss Newcomb

Source: Museum Victoria

Caroline Elizabeth Newcomb (1812-1874), pioneer squatter, was born in London on October 5, 1812, daughter of Samuel Newcomb, British commissar in Spain. Raised by her grandmother after her father's death, she migrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1833 for health reasons. In April 1836 she accompanied John Batman of Melbourne settlement fame and his family to Port Phillip as temporary governor. While there she met Dr Alexander Thomson and his family; in March 1837 she went to stay with them in Geelong.

Anne Drysdale arrived at Port Phillip in March 1840 and soon after became a guest of Dr Thomson. He had offered to help her and a run. She and Caroline became friends and, when Anne decided on Boronggoop as the site for her run, they also became partners. Anne was an experienced farmer and twenty years senior to Caroline. A cottage was built for them, the Armstrong family and others entered their employ, and a home was established.

As Boronggoop was held by licence, Miss Drysdale was anxious to own a freehold property. By 1843 they had established an outstation, Lap Lap, on Reedy Lake, and had heard of the run Coryule, near modern Drysdale. On 18 July they settled the sale of the property from Mr Austin and by the late 1840s they were living there in the stone house Coryule. It is not known if the women were close friends or lesbian partners.

In June 1852 Anne Drysdale suffered a stroke and, after a period of invalidity, died May 1853. Caroline inherited the property. She was elected a member of the first Portarlington Road Board and became its secretary. On November 27, 1861, Caroline married Rev. James D. Dodgson at Wesley Church, Melbourne. She accompanied her husband on Methodist circuit work. After a fortnight's illness, she died at the Wesleyan Parsonage, Brunswick, on 3 October, 1874.

References:
Australian Dictionary of Biography website http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm

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