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Harris Family Histories

Vivian Family History

VIVIAN Coat of Arms

It was in Clunes, that James ESMOND found gold on July 5 1851, the first indication that the precious mineral was here - an obelisk marks the spot. He claimed the state's first sighting, although the precious metal had been obtained secretly in the region at least a year before. An excited report appeared in the Geelong Advertiser on 7 July 1851: "The long-sought treasure is at length found. Victoria is a gold country.... We announce the existence of gold in the Pyrenees as a great fact....and a preface to the glorious run of prosperity in Victoria." Within a fortnight, there were forty men at work. Both Buninyong and Ballarat attracted more early diggers, but Clunes became one of the busiest battery crushing areas of Victoria. It was at its peak from 1857-1881 when Cornishmen mined the deep leads with modern equipment.

When you go back to Clunes today it is hard to realise that it was once a dusty, noisy mining town. The noise from the stamps as they crushed the quartz must have been horrific. Now the little village in the valley is a quiet picturesque place to visit. Trees line the streets, but dotted everywhere are the evidence of the once many mines. The two largest mines were Port Phillip Gold Mining Company and the New North Clunes, but many others were important quartz and alluvial mines.


A Chuvyan Roman General escaped to Lyonesse during the Italian Revolution. From there he crossed the channel with his white horse and landed in Cambourne Cornwall. His estate still stands. It is called Trellowarren. It has a small chapel on the grounds. Since then the Chuvyan have been monks, bards and priests. A Lord Chuvyan lived in Pendennis Castle in Vyvyan. The spelling was optional, but the lower class used Vyvyan and the upper class used Vivian. A Major Vivian in the Army became Ambassador for Italy. When he died his body was cremated and his remains were brought and buried in Truro Cathedral.


Mary and four of her children came out to Victoria on the ship 'Boomerang'. James was not on this ship. While on board, Mary suffered a severe heart attack. She became very ill and three different people offered to take the children when they got to Australia. On arrival in 1855, they carried Mary off the ship on a mattress. She must have got better as she lived to the ripe old age of eighty-three.

After arriving in Australia from Cornwall, Mary and the children travelled overland to Ballarat in a bullock wagon to the diggings, taking a week to do the trip of about eighty miles. It isn't yet known when James joined them, but records show he was living with them in a house near a creek in Clunes in 1865. It was then that tragedy struck the family. Young John Vivian who was eight years old went with his six year old brother James to the creek to collect water in a bucket. John had tied a rope from his leg to the bucket and when he had thrown the bucket in to the creek he had somehow slipped on the side of the bank and it had crumbled in. James had run back to the house and told his mother and his brother David (who was eighteen years old at the time) and they ran to the creek and pulled john out. They ran back to the house with him and put him in a bath of hot water, but it was no use. John was dead before he was taken from the water.

Mary had a brother called John. The story goes that he was a very devout man and had the habit of praising the Lord etc during sermons or whenever and wherever the spirit lead him, much to the embarrassment of his family. So much so that they decided one Sunday to try and bribe him by telling him he could have pork for dinner (his favourite) if he would stop this habit. Well he contained himself quite well until towards the end of the sermon. It just got too much for him and in front of the congregation of about one hundred and twenty, he shouted "pig or no pig, glory hallelujah"....

The VIVIAN family came from Cornwall. Ralph VIVIAN married Grace GEORGE in 1764 in St. Mewan. They had 10 children. Their son Ralph married Catherine ? They had five children. One of their children James married Mary VIVIAN. (not related)

Of Mary VIVIAN’S line - William VIVIAN married Mary BENALLACK on 11th November 1797 at St.Austell. They had ten children. Susannah married John CLENCH, Grace married James SPARGO, George VIVIAN married Belinda ALLEN, John, John married Jane BROAD, Thomas, Richard, David, Mary married James VIVIAN & Elizabeth.



I would have you know
that in these jeans
are genes of ancient honourable lineage
which caught my name
from a lively French bishop of Saintes
martyred by Visigoths in the fifth century
and simmered gently through centuries
biding time and gaining vigour
from sunny French vintage
until William of Normandy called for
a joint stock venture of Gallic mercenaries
to sack the Saxons

some of my ancestors stayed to wander Europe
but my line took to Cornwall
thriving under royal favour
captaining castles to harry the countryside
for castle captains were men of power
able to exact toll of treasure and pleasure,
and gaining benefices in church, army and state
seats in parliament and knighthoods
baronetcies and peerages

they were miners and farmers and leading lights
and 'tis said, some
were not averse to setting misleading lights

but on mankind we brought the greatest curse
a scourge that tops the list
for dear cousin Andrew worked with Trevethick
and in London, in 1803
was the world's first urban motorist!

Walter Vivian
Sappho's Delight, PixelPress 1999