Oliver Smiths Hotel / Boarding house property in Cowa / Dargo

Crown Allotment  1,  Section 4, Township of Cowa, Parish of Cowa, County of Dargo

We believe this property was first settled on or squatted on by Angus McMillan the Gippsland explorer in the 1850’s.  Angus McMillan built what he called a halfway or smoke house on the property. From here he catered for the miners travelling on through to Grant and the gold diggings, providing them with food, alcohol and a place to have a nights sleep before they continued on.

The Torrens System of Land Title registration ( which we use to this day ) was introduced in 1862. Prior to this there was a complicated “General Law System”.  Angus McMillan occupied the property prior to the Torrens System, so our first Torrens system registration starts with Dennis Connolly in 1866 and the sequence of various owners went as follows:

  1. The property was transferred from the Crown to Dennis Connolly on the 28th April 1865.
    It is quite possible Dennis made some financial arrangement with Angus McMillan when Dennis took over the property and smoke house. Connolly builds a residence beside the smoke house and this becomes known as the accommodation house.
  2. The property transferred from Dennis to Oliver Smith ( Senior ) on the 17th November 1873.
    In December 1884 Oliver took a mortgage out against the property and a mortgage was established in the name of Henry Hosken.
  3. The property was transferred from Oliver Senior to Oliver Smith the younger on the 5th Oct  1891.
    Oliver the younger must have taken over the mortgage because the mortgage was not discharged until the 3rd March 1896.

    Oliver Smith the younger took a second mortgage against the property on the 17th June 1896.

    Now this is where some confusion comes in. Oliver borrowed the money from William Bryce and a mortgage was established against the property in William Bryce’s name. The mortgage was discharged on the 16th June 1900.  William Bryce never owned the property.

  4. Oliver the younger dies and the property passes to his brother John Smith on the 17th February 1915.
  5. John dies and the property passes to his brother Henry ( Harry ) Smith on the 15th June 1928.
  6. Henry (Harry) dies and probate is granted to Mary and Daisy Campbell on the 14th February 1946. Harry left a total of 15 separate land titles in Cowa totaling 695 acres (all of which he had inherited from his brother John ) and 4 titles at Eaglevale totaling 463 acres.
  7. The Campbell’s sell the property to Hector Grainger on the 11th October 1946.
  8. Hector sells the property to Harry Thurlby on the 31st October 1947.
  9. On Hector’s passing the property passes to his wife Helen Thurlby on the 18th September 1981.
  10. On Helen’s passing probate is granted to Ian Bell, Graham Bell & Jennifer Hunter 15th April 1994.

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