James, Joseph, Henry and George Streeter
Commercial Hotel, Natte Yallock
With thanks to the Avoca & District Historical Society
The sons of Joseph and Louisa Streeter were true Colonial boys, born en route to the goldfields, growing up in the isolated Western District of Victoria among the patrons of their mother's Commercial Hotel in Natte Yallock. They ran wild on the banks of the Avoca River, no doubt learning to pan for gold in it's waters at their father's knee - the first of many generations to do so. The rich soils of the Western District gold-fields were a tough environment to come to manhood in, and the stories of these boys show that they learned to adapt well to the climate so alien to their English city-dwelling parents. 

 I know little of Joseph and Henry, other than details of their marriages, children and deaths. If any family out there would like to fill in my knowledge of them, I'd be very grateful!

Of James and George, I know  a little more - if there's any truth to the tale of their mother being part Gypsy  - that part came out in George! His story is a true genealogists delight :-)


James Streeter
Born Brunswick, Victoria 23 Feb 1854 
Died Coburg, Victoria 17 Dec 1939 

Married 26 June 1865, St Arnaud.

Elizabeth Jane Bentley 
Born Ashby, Victoria 27 Feb 1853
Died Coburg, Victoria 11 Oct 1935
Parents William and Mary Louisa Bentley

My great grandfather James was born soon after his parents arrival in the colonies in 1854. As a very young baby, he travelled overland with them to the wild Victorian goldfields at Bendigo, northward to the Murray River, then back to the south to another goldfield, and a more permanent home. His three brothers were born along the way. James is likely to have been one of the students at Rural School Natte Yallock No. 24 which opened in 1862, although I don't have a record of this. (If anyone has a list of early students, I'd love to hear from you!). His family had settled in the area, and begun operation of the Commercial Hotel, some years before this time. Boys from the school told stories of 'having fun with the Chinese diggers passing through' - I hate to think!

James working life began when he was apprenticed as a wheelwright and blacksmith in St Arnaud. Other apprentices with him were Coffey brothers and Hoopers. He was confirmed in the Church of Christ St Arnaud on 29th of December 1872, at the age of 19, by C. Melbourne, after being presented and examined by John B. Hair. Three years later, he married Elizabeth Jane Bentley, also in St Arnaud.

James and Elizabeth moved to Moyreisk, between Redbank and Natte Yallock, and farmed for a number of years. James is also known to have spent much of his time prospecting for gold. All twelve of their children were born at either Redbank or Natte Yallock between 1875 and 1900, and attended Moyreisk School. 

Children of James and Elizabeth Jane Streeter

Name, Place Born

Mary Louisa - Redbank

Elizabeth May - Natte Yallock

James Percival - Redbank

Annie Laura - Redbank

George William - Redbank

Henry - Redbank

Mabel Emma - Natte Yallock

Archibald Ernest - Natte Yallock

Herbert - Natte Yallock

Evelyn Winifred - Natte Yallock

Clara Daphne - Redbank

Albert Victor - Redbank

DOB and Death

10 Nov 1875-22 Feb 1953


24 Feb 1879-5 May 1937




29 Aug 1887-1951

1890- 11 Oct 1970


10 April 1895-1996


9 Nov 1900-11 June 1981

As can be seen, a family that tended to live very long lives! I met 'Auntie Clara' at St Arnaud nursing home a few months before her death at age 99, still an alert old lady. Although her short-term memory was rather lacking at that time, she was still pretty on-the-ball. I wish so much that I knew then what I know now, there are a lot of questions I wish I'd asked!

James had considerable financial difficulties in the late 19th Century depression. One version has him speculating unwisely on farming equipment, and losing his farm as a result, another as not putting in enough effort on the farm because he was too busy wandering the hills speculating for gold with his father, and had bought a new harvester that he couldn't afford when the crops failed. Whichever version is correct, the result was the same -he lost his land and livelihood. There's a wonderful story of James walking through the bush near the reservoir in Redbank, going behind a bush to relieve himself, and glancing down as he did so and seeing a very sizeable nugget of gold - large enough to buy a house in Melbourne - which he certainly did soon after. This story was told to me recently by a cousin in America, but also by my father when I was a young child - although I hadn't remembered who it was. The family are known to have left the Redbank area entirely - moving hundreds of miles away to Welshpool, on the southern coast of Victoria, on the other side of Melbourne. James worked there at Penders Horseshoe Works for six years, the family lived next to the hall on the Yarram Road. Both their house and the hall burned down in the mid 20th century. Both were rebuilt, but all that remains of the Streeter house is the row of very large pine trees at the back of the house. My dad found out where the house had been quite a few years back, and insisted on delivering a box of his home grown veges once a month or so, to the family who lived there, for a number of years before his death :-) He lived about an hour inland at the time.

James and family moved to Coburg in Melbourne, purchasing their house at 33 Clifton Grove. This was significantly different to being broke in the 1890's, and it would have involved a considerable change in fortune to have done so.  I speculate that the sequence of events were that James lost his farm in the late 1890's, made his discovery of gold soon after, moved to Welshpool, then to Coburg in the early 20th Century. If there are family members out there who know more - please let me know! I'd also be very happy to know more of my cousins, I've not known too many of you for much too long.

Coming soon: details of James and Elizabeth's children's families - other than Mary Louisa, who is already online. Note that many members of this next generations' names will be witheld due to still being alive, so this will mainly involve marriages and death information of their parents. Please email me if you'd like to know more, or offer information on any of the above.

William and Mary Louisa Bentley

Mary Louisa Streeter and John Henry Burge

Burge-McLean Family Index

Family Album - Streeter

Joseph Streeter

Born Sandhurst, Victoria 3 Sept 1855
Died Maryborough, Victoria 4 July 1925

Married 1878 Natte Yallock

Sarah Jane Elliot
Born Lamplough, Victoria 20 July 1860
Died East Malvern 1940

I know very little of Joseph, apart from that he was likely the one who was given land in Natte Yallock by his mother Louisa, along with my grandfather James. Family history has two of the brothers being given land, and two being left money after the death of their mother. Henry and George were the recipients of their mother's will. Joseph also stayed in the area up until his death, unlike all of his brothers. 

Children of Joseph and Sarah Jane Streeter
Name, Place Born where known*

Arthur Streeter, Natte Yallock

Alice Streeter

Walter Streeter

Joseph Streeter, Natte Yallock

Louisa Hampton Streeter

Albert Streeter

William Streeter, Brunswick

Ada Sarah Jane Streeter

Thomas Streeter, Natte Yallock

DOB, Death where known*

1878-1973 Avoca


1882-1972 Maryborough

1883-1954 Geelong


1887-1973 Castlemaine

1891-1971 Ballarat


1900-1900, Natte Yallock

*All birth and death places should be forthcoming soon - I have to look them up!

Coming soon: Details of Joseph and Sarah Janes children's families. Note that many members of this next generations' names will be witheld due to still being alive, so this will mainly involve marriages and death information of their parents. Please email me if you'd like to know more, or offer information on any of the above.


Henry Streeter

Henry Streeter
Died Bunyip, Victoria, 17 November 1951

Married (1) 10 December 1884 Avoca

Lily McNay 
Born about 1866
Died age 22 Brunswick 1888 
(Father Duncan Mc Tavish, mother Margaret McNay)

Married (2) 1893 Echuca

Lily Fisher
Born about 1875
Died age 39 Drouin, Victoria 1914 
(Father James Fisher, mother Emma Binge)

Children of Henry and Lily (Fisher) Streeter

Name, Place Born

Henry, Brunswick

Emma Louise Lily, Brunswick

Reginald Edward, Brunswick

DOB, Death where known



1901-1983 Dandenong

* Likely after 1985, 'Digger Death Index' ends then.

Coming soon: Details of Henry and Lily (Fisher) Streeters children's families. Note that many members of this next generations' names will be witheld due to still being alive, so this will mainly involve marriages and death information of their parents. Please email me if you'd like to know more, or offer information on any of the above.

George Streeter

George is where the 'Wild Colonial Boy' bit comes in... 

Born St Arnaud, Victoria 31 December 1863 
Died Stawell, Victoria 21 April 1951

Married 1909

Clara Maria Randall (nee Albrecht)
Born Mannum, South Australia circa 1880
Died Stawell, Victoria 15 August 1955

George was born on New Years Eve in St Arnaud, no doubt with very hearty celebrations going on outside in the somewhat wild Victorian gold boom town. Like his brothers, he grew up at his mothers' hotel in Natte Yallock, surrounded by the patrons, hearing the stories of far off places and wild times. George was to leave home at the age of twelve, seeking his fortune in the outside world.

He told the following story to a young family member many years afterwards.... 
He found work at some time after leaving home in a shearing shed in the Glenrowan - Beechworth area, 170 miles away. While there, he met a family of young people by the name of Kelly - and danced with their pretty sister Kate in the woolshed dances on party nights. Kate's brothers have gone down in history - Ned and Dan Kelly, the infamous Australian bushrangers. George told of being one of the 'Greta Mob' - Kelly sympathisers who acted as scouts for the Kelly Gang, advising where the troopers were, giving them information of the area, and when necessary, helping them to escape.

The Greta Mob were known as dandies - or 'flash', wearing red sashes, and their trademark of having the chin-strap of their hats under their noses. They rode fine horses, and it was a matter of pride to them to be the best riders and shooters. George told of a time when the law were hot on the trail of the Kelly Gang, and how he and Dan Kelly, and a brother of gang member Steve Hart (Likely Dick, known to be a member of the Greta Mob) rode into New South Wales and found work on outlying stations, riding boundaries for major landholders. Having food deliveredto them weekly allowed them to drop completely out of sight, so that Dan could go undetected. George rode home around 1880, and said that he never saw any of the Kelly Gang again.

A true story? I don't see why not. The dates fit very well, and George was exactly the type of young man known to be in the Greta Mob. He returned home with a diamond stick pin he said he'd won in a card game, and owned a pistol and was known to be a perfect shot. The Kelly Gang ended their career in the notorious shoot-out at Glenrowan, with Ned wearing his home-made armour, in June 1880 - which coincided with George's return home. Ned and gang members Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were the same age as George, and Ned's younger brother Dan, and Dick Hart, were two years younger. In 1879 a reward was posted for 8000 pounds, or 2000 pounds each, for information leading to the capture of the gang, and they disappeared for 16 months, until the Glenrowan siege in June 1880. It is highly likely that they were in hiding in the way described by George.  If so, Dick Hart had returned with Dan Kelly to Glenrowan, as he was the one to claim his brother Steve's body after the siege. I fully understand why George would not tell this story on his return home - members of the Greta Mob were also hunted widely, and hated by the troopers. Of the forty or so members, only about thirty were ever identified. Dan Kelly, Steve Hart, and Joe Byrne died in the seige, Ned Kelly was hanged later that year... with the words that have gone down in history - "such is life".

Like to know more about the Ned Kelly story? A good website is Bailup.Com . Another is Dave White's great site, that has many eye-witness accounts and material extracted from archives on the Glenrowan siege, and may be found here.

After his return to Natte Yallock in 1880, George purchased a small one acre block of land. It cost him 1 pound, 1 shilling. He worked as a labourer. He was still there in December 1884 when he stood as witness to his brothers marriage to Lily McNay, and by then owned four acres of land. By early 1895, however, he had sold the land, and moved on, searching for work. Two years after this, his mother Louisa died. George was a beneficiary in her will, along with his brother Henry, and a search was made to find him. Louisa had included a clause in her will that it was not to be made final until George reached 44 years of age - an age at which she must have thought he would reach sufficient maturity to inherit her money! The news reached Henry that George was in New South Wales, very ill in hospital with Tetanus, and not expected to survive. Henry stated that George had died, and took over the entire inheritance. George survived - but was never to receive his inheritance. He was away from his family until 1909, and had traveled as far as Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, some 1400 miles away, in the interim. Kalgoorlie was also a thriving gold town. 

Louisa's premonition of George attaining stability at the age of 44 was accurate. In 1909, at the age of 45, he married Clara Maria Randall, a young widow with a child. Clara was born in Mannum, South Australia, and was of German extraction, the daughter of Gustav and Maria Elizabeth (nee Strauss) Albrecht. Clara had lived in Ballarat, yet another gold mining centre, and it is likely that George met her there. The pair moved to Stawell, 40 miles to the west of Natte Yallock, where they were to live until they died. They had a happy marriage, and had four children between 1910 and 1920. 

Children of George and Clara (Albrecht-Randall) Streeter

Name, Place Born

Lorna Louisa, Stawell

Percival George, Stawell

Jard Stanley, Stawell

Ronald Keith, Stawell

DOB, Death 





*Family history has this date, but not on Digger Death Index

George and Clara grew their own fruit and vegetables and made sauces and jams. George worked clearing land, then as a night watchman. He told a story of the local policeman seeing him often in the local pub having a drink in the afternoon, and finally seeing him at work as a night watchman, and saying "so that's what you do for a living!" - no doubt the policeman would have been very interested to know what he had done for a living at 17...

Having been a 'wild colonial girl' myself in my younger years, George is my hero! .... but he had an uncomfortable life for a long time, and I'm very happy he also found many years of peace. 


Back: Joseph and Louisa Streeter

Back: Burge- McLean Family History Index

Family Album - Streeter

If you have any comments, or information on the family to offer please feel free to email me.

.***Many thanks to my cousin Diane Streeter, for some of the brilliant information on this page, as well as giving me my initial Streeter info on familysearch.org. Good on you Diane!