Pioneer Families of Diamond Creek District GODBER

August 30, 2023

The Godber family were early Diamond Creek settlers, first recorded in the district in the 1850’s. Two sons and a daughter of Job and Mary Godber were living in Diamond Creek and had married into local families during the late 1850’s and early 1860’s.

Rosamond Godber married William Wilson, who had been in the district with his father John for ten years, in 1856. They had ten children who went on to marry, live and raise families in the Diamond Creek district and across Victoria. Rosamond sadly died shortly after giving birth to her tenth child in 1878.

Robert Godber arrived in 1857 to work with the Wilson family. He married Martha Wilson, William’s sister, in 1859 and raised nine children here. He eventually settled on land to the north of present day Allendale Road, and east of the township of Nillumbik. Godber Road leads into the area today.

Section of an 1888 map of Nillumbik showing the line of present day Ryans and Allendale Roads. The crossroad next to the property of Isaac Rooks is the same line as Godber and Zig Zag Roads with Allendale Road. (State Library Victoria)

George, Rosamond and Robert’s younger brother, married Sophie Milthorpe in 1866. The first four of their eight children were born in the district. They moved to and settled in Burramine near Yarrawonga in 1884. Sophie died of typhoid there in 1895 and George in 1901.

Both Robert and Rosamond, their families along with other early families in the district formed the bedrock for the community that was to become the township of Diamond Creek. They were also here for the excitement of the discovery of gold in 1862. Indeed it was Rosamond’s brothers-in-law David and Joseph Wilson who made the chance find of gold-bearing quartz from a section of the reef near Dr Phipps’ and Charles Orme’s properties.

Robert became a very real part of building the local community as a member of the fruitgrowers association in later years, working for faster and easier access to Melbourne to market their produce. Work undertaken by and the experience and opportunities of Rosamond and Robert’s children reflect that done by many in the district’s early years.

Robert’s son David carted produce from the district to Melbourne while also a part of the local brass band. He later moved his horse team by ship to Fremantle in the Swan River Colony and the goldfields that were opening up. Carrying was a mainstay for many in the district as the area opened up and goods and produce were moved from outer areas and carted to Melbourne by horse and dray or to outer districts by bullock team.

Rosamond’s husband William Wilson was very religious and a driver for the establishment of Diamond Creek’s first school in 1864. Their children attended the school and later the Diamond Creek State School in Cowin Street. Each of their children married into local families, first establishing themselves in the Diamond Creek community. Most moved to other place across Victoria as opportunities arose. Some time ago we met a descendant who was from the third generation of the Wilson’s in Traralgon, who had decided to move to Melbourne and bought a property in Cottles Bridge. When he told his mother she said ‘so you have come home then’ – only then did he discover that his earlier roots were from Diamond Creek.

In 1988, descendants of the Godber and Wilson families held a reunion in Diamond Creek. Approximately 200, who were also descendants of other families from early local families who had married over the generations, came from all across Victoria and interstate for a weekend.

A special ceremony was held at Nillumbik (Diamond Creek) Cemetery to remember their forebears and lay a stone and plaque for Job & Mary Godber and John & Martha Wilson.

The stone can be seen today to the right of the central roadway before and next to the pioneer graves. It is an important marker as they are each buried in the cemetery but their graves are not marked in any other way.

Memorial Stone and Plaque for Job & Mary Godber and John & Martha Wilson at Nillumbik Cemetery Diamond Creek

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