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From England 

Thurlow Connections

Dedicated to the families of Sarah (Thurley) & Wolton Wigg, William, 
John & Susan (Froment), Jane (Thurley) & Thomas Cole, and their
Descendants in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere who have their origins in 
Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, England as their linkage 

Sarah (Thurley/Thurlow) and Wolton Wigg

Sarah Thurley arrived in Melbourne from England in the mid-1850s. I have not been able to find how she arrived but suffice to say that she, like so many thousand others, were lured to these shores in search of gold and the chance to strike it rich. In Sarah's case it was probably more the opportunity to seek a husband, a rich one at that. Sarah married Wolton Wigg in Fitzroy, a Melbourne suburb in 1866, doing surprisingly well in the choice of her husband. Wolton, one of Rushworth's most respected residents, was known as the "father" of the town, after arriving from Bendigo in 1853 in search of his fortune in the Victorian gold rush.

Wolton Wigg was a butcher, miner and brewer, becoming at once prominent in all public affairs. Being a man of considerable ability he was looked up to as a leader in all matters affecting the welfare of the community and in 1863, was elected the first Chairman of the new Waranga Roads Board, the forerunner of Waranga Shire which was proclaimed in 1865. Councillor Wolton Wigg held his seat continuously until he resigned in 1887, and was several times appointed President. Also to his credit Wolton was one of the first territorial Justices of the Peace, and acted as Judge in some local court cases.

Across Wigg Street on the opposite corner from Walbran's Store, Sarah (Thurley) Wigg, described as a very neat lady, managed a millinery and dress-making shop, selling feather boas and knicker-bockers. Next door to Sarah's shop stood her husband's brewery. On arrival in Rushworth, Wolton initially set up business as a butcher but soon became known far and wide as a brewer. History records that he made the finest beer and ale in the district, supplying every pub within a 50-mile radius.

When Sarah and Wolton retired to Hawthorn, Melbourne, to be nearer their son, employed in the Railways Department, a public banquet was held at the "Criterion" which was attended by all the leading community for miles around. To mark the occasion and in recognition of their contributions, many of Rushworth's residents presented Wolton and Sarah with a gold watch and a purse of sovereigns valued at more than £100. Sarah was particularly remembered for her interest in the young people of the town. She and her husband are said to have found it hard to leave Rushworth where they had spent so many years of their lives.

Sarah and Wolton's known family include Richard Walter (1858-1859), Elizabeth Annie (1860-1944), Frederick Wolton (1862-1898 ), Wolton Horace (1864-1937 ), Edgar (1867-1919 ), and Margaretta Sarah (1870- ).

Walbran's Store (above), a two-storey brick building with iron lacework balcony around the upper floor was opened on Christmas Eve 1887 on the corner of High and Wigg streets, Rushworth.

HAMMOND Joyce, The Golden Years of Rushworth & Whroo
FORSTER, Harley W., WARANGA, 1865-1965, A Shire History

© Copyright 2008-2015 Ray Thurlow


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Further Reading

Other articles of interest may be found in:

HUSBAND, John c2007, Pubs o’ the South : A Collection of Paintings and Drawings of the public houses of Otago, Dunedin, Central Otago, Southland & Invercargill, Invercargill

MASON, Judy and WILSON, Heather c1989, The History of Education in the Upper Manuherikia Valley: Becks, Cambrian, Lauder Railway, St Bathans, NZ

NICOLSON-GARRETT, Gladys 1977, St Bathans, John McIndoe, Dunedin

St Bathans : An Historic Town, 1977, Dunedin

WILSON, Heather and MASON, Judy c1989, St Bathans and Cambrian 125 Years of Sport and Entertainment, Wilson, Naseby NZ.


Hospitality, NZ August 1987 p46

Pacific Way, NZ July 1990 No. 31

Otago Daily Times, June 20, 1997 pp12-13

Otago Daily Times, December 21, 2001 p17

Otago Daily Times, Weekend, November 27-28, 2004

NZ Today, September 2006 No. 18


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