I fully intended to do so serious searching for people called Bellingham and Tong today but, unsurprisingly, I allowed myself to be sidetracked again.
What I actually did was knock over the pile of paper on the corner of my desk and there, in the midst of the scatterings, was a complete gem.
Distant rellies William and Maria Flavell (he's my first cousin five times removed) were Landbeach people who emigrated to Australia in 1855 and I have been in touch, a number of times, with one of their descendants in Oz. Today, when I found the "gem", I did a bit more googling and found a website (homepage.mac.com) with even more gems! A heartfelt "thank you" to the Cheeseman family researchers, the owners of that website.
So let's ignore William (1805-1863) and skip straight to Maria (nee Phillips) who merited half a dozen newspaper reports upon her death in 1907. The following, from "The Donald Times" on 29 November 1907, is a fairly good representation of all of them. Prepare to be awed at Maria's stamina.....
Another old colonist in the person of Mrs Flavell passed away at Watchem on Wednesday evening of last week, at the ripe age of 99 years and six months. She enjoyed remarkable health throughout her long life until the 11th of the present month when she had to take to her bed through an attack of influenza which turned to pneumonia. Dr Calhoun was called in but from the first could not hold out any hope of her recovery. She gradually sank and passed peacefully away at about 7 o'clock on Wednesday evening. The funeral took place at Watchem on Thursday afternoon when her remains were followed to their last resting place by a large number of old friends and relations, the Rev. G. Brodie (Presbyterian) of Birchip officiating at the home and the graveside.
Deceased was born at Cambridge (England) on 28 May 1808, her maiden name being Maria Phillips. At the age of 28 she was married to Mr Wm Flavell. In 1855 they emigrated to Australia in the vessel known as the "Thames". Her husband and she landed at Geelong where Mr Flavell engaged in pastural pursuits on Mr Swanston's station at Inverleigh. In 1861 her husband died, leaving her with seven children. She remained in Inverleigh until 1879 and then went to Wickliffe, where she lived with one of her sons until 1897. The remaining ten years of her life were spent with her daughter, Mrs (Eliza) Bruce, at Watchem. Her family consisted of 14 children, seven of whom survive her, and her descendants are: 43 grandchildren, 68 great grandchildren and 36 great great grandchildren.