At the turn of the century Francis (Frank) Hornby and brother Richard emmigrated to Victoria.

My father Francis James Homby and his brother Dick (Richard}, plus a big chest each were given their father’s blessing together with 5000 pounds each and sent to Australia to make their fortune. Both boys were advised to contact an orchard near Melbourne where they believed they were going to learn all about growing apples and pears. For this they paid 5 pounds each (per week) to cover their board and pay for their tuition – from the memories of Jack.

Dorrigo – memorioes of Jack

About the Hornby’s at Dorrigo, I will tell you what Dad told me and as you know he didn’t embellish the truth. G’ma. Hornby told me much the same but I think she added a little spice!

According to Dad, he was born in Hawthorn at Melbourne, quite a posh suburb then , and apparently so it seems they lived very comfortably.
G’dad owned/ran a dairy business but employed men to do the real work.
Dad had quite expensive toys and a dog cart and Grandma entertained quite lavishly. Dad got up early one morning and drank the dregs and became violently ill. The Dr was called but Dad was only drunk.

Anyhow when Dad was four, G’dad, according to G’ma, went into the Lands Office in Melbourne and selected a block off a map sight unseen. They sold up their business and set sail by Packet Steamer to Dorrigo.

Dad remembered the ship foundering at the mouth of the Bellingen river and they all had to be rescued in the middle of the night.Then they had that long tortuous drive by bullock wagon up the Dorrigo mountain. Of course when they arrived they had no shelter, no fences, only the supplies they brought with them and I don’t think Pop was ever a farmer.

Many more stories but I’m sure you have heard of them before.

I really think Pop was influenced by a Mr Dowling, who had been one of the master at Pop’s school. He had settled in Dorrigo and made a wonderful success of it.
He was the same schoolmaster who had been paid to take Pop and his brother on holidays to keep them out of the Stepmother's hair. His family were still in Dorrigo until quite recently I think - Thanks Dianne


” When she and Pop had moved to Dorrigo her mother came to visit. She was appalled at the living conditions she saw and said, “Maggie, what have you come to?” and left the very next day. I understood that living conditions at Dorrigo wervery primitive and not at
ll like her home in Melbourne. -
memories of Jack


Extracts from Megan-Leigh Centenary Book - The Dorrigo Lands

At the Courthouse, Belligen, 27th September,1906, a ballot was held for one hundred and twenty-nine blocks of land. Having a total area of 31,650 acres. They were valued from

one pound five shillings to two pounds five shillings ($2.50 to $4.50) per acre.


  Conditions of Ballot Selection - 1906
Successful persons must reside on their for six months of the
year; clear some of it and build some sort of dwelling.

Being the strong silent type, typical of his generation,
my father never said much about Dorrigo. However, we did go
there for their annual golf tournament and I have a faint recollection (I was about 8-9 years old)
of driving out of town and inspecting some vacant farm. This must have been the old farm

Francis of Slingsby

However, he did tell a story about selling a car
(this must have been his first job after jackarooing) to a
farmer during the depression. He was invited to stay for lunch which typically,
was in the kitchen, in front of a fuel stove on a bare
board table.

Because he was the guest of honour they
produced a tin of marmalade jam for him to spread on his

bread and butter.  He could remember the kids looking
enviously at him as
he ate his bread and marmalade while they ate their
bread and dripping. - David

The applicants for portion 25 which pop won in the ballot


We went to the Historical Society there and a kind hearted  woman went to all sorts of trouble for us to find out just where Pop had selected the land. We even met a very old man who remembered G’ma and Pop being at a local wedding when he was a boy. The impression we got was Pop was known as the English Gentleman and not the Pommie Bastard!. owever we finally tracked it down and far from being the wild bush country it was then, it is now a very prosperous looking farm with a nice brick house.

It is in a part called Megan and the boys went to school at Leigh near the Little Murray River. Kel Nagle quite a famous Australian golfer also went to the same little bush school and my father, being a keen golfer himself, was always proud of that. In later years when my parents lived at Armidale they always went back to Dorrigo for the golf tournaments.  (I often went with them and stayed at the Dorrigo Hotel. I always remember driving over a hill and mum would say “there’s Dorrigo” because it’s was raining there. Dorrigo is the wettest part of NSW – David)

However it was quite a different place when the Hornbys arrived to take up their selection. Why they ever decided to go there has never been properly explained and I can only suppose that Pop had kept in touch with his old schoolmaster, Mr Dowling, and as the Dowlings were already established at Dorrigo, perhaps they encouraged Pop to join them.

The story goes that Pop went into the Land’s Office in Melbourne and selected the land from a map, sight unseen. I don’t know what he imagined it to be like but it must have been a shock to arrive after an arduous boat trip to find completely virgin Australian bush. They must have started a dairy herd.

We  discovered a few more facts about Pop and Grandma. We didn’t stay very long as it was a long drive in one day and it was really arranged for reunions and family get togethers” – Dianne 2006.


“It must have been shortly after this that he met Miss Margaret Stewart at Lillydale, Victoria whose parents had a small farm growing black currants and gooseberries and not far from Melbourne. Shortly after he married Miss Stewart. I (Jack) was born 9/10/1903from the memories of Jack

About this time he met a Mr George Hobbs who became a lifelong friend. He ran a  very fine dairy farm out of Melbourne with (?) cattle and from my memory had a most elaborate dairy and fittings. The milk was supplied to one distributor only and Dad purchased the distributeship,  together with the house and plant. This I’m nearly sure was at  Camberwell, Melbourne. Dad apparently was well off financially for I plainly remember the house and fittings were quite elaborate.” from the memories of Jack (Dianne)

From what I have heard mother say, Dad did very little work, everything being taken care of by a trusty employee named Robbins. Dad had a very smart turnout, called I think a ‘Prince Henry’, and what seemed to me to be a very fine chestnut horse. I can clearlyremember Mother, Father and myself driving into Melbourne and Dad nonchalantlytossing a bystander a shilling to take careof the turnout (Landau?) while Mother and he did the shopping. Things appeared very rosy. I also clearly remember going to the theatre a on the horse tram from the memories of Jack (Dianne)