Francis Henry William Thomas Winifred Brownrigg Peter Welsh Thomson Margaret Jean Caldow /Hodsdon Frederick Edward Senior James Roger Francis Wyman Clark Richard Robertson Patricia Mae Mulligan Joachim Dido

Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Robert NIVEN

Born 16 August 1856 in Cardross, Dunbartonshire, Scotland [28]
Son of farmer James NIVEN and Ann LENNOX [28]
He was born at 3:30 in the afternoon on Craigend Farm in Cardross [28]
Before marrying had travelled to Australia three times and also to New Zealand and Argentina [P13]
Married "Annie" Ann MUNRO on 25 November 1896 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland [28]
Farmer of Ardliesh Farm in Arrochar, Dunbartonshire, Scotland in the 1890s and early 1900s [20] [28]
In 1911 he was a Butcher, Coal & General Merchant and was living with his wife and children in Killin, Perthshire, Scotland [20]
He later ran a post office and store in Tyndrum, Stirlingshire, Scotland [P13]
In February 1914 he paid a £60 deposit to purchase a partly developed 424 acre farm in Carnamah, Western Australia [34]
The farm was one of the Midland Railway Company's Ready Made Farms (partly cleared, fenced and with a house) [7: pages 22 & 23]
Arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on the steamship Orvieto with his wife and their then 13 children on 4 August 1914 [P13]
His daughter Esther Mary had contracted scarlet fever and the measles on the voyage and died in Fremantle on 11 August 1914 [P13]
After a short stay in Perth arrived at the farm in Carnamah which he named Craigend after a farm of the same name in Scotland [P13]
Farmer of Craigend Farm in Carnamah 1914-1918 [P13]
     The 424 acre farm was Lot M940 of Victoria Locations 1934 and 1936 and came at a cost of £2332, payable by instalments [27]
      Cleared some of his farm through the use of cross cut saws, axes and burning off [P25]
     He took out financial assistance under the Industries Assistance Board (I.A.B.) while establishing the farm [34]
In 1915 harvested 119 acres of crop on Lot M943 for the Midland Railway Company, for which he was paid 7/- per acre [34]
After harvesting his own 1915 crop he sold 939 bags of wheat and kept sufficient seed wheat to seed 220 acres [34]
During the 1915-16 harvest he stripped the crop on Lot M943 in Carnamah as a sub-contractor to John BOWMAN [34]
In 1916 he purchased 300 bags of wheat from the Midland Railway Company, and planted 300 acres on his farm [34]
Contract carted hay for the Midland Railway Company from Lot M944 in Carnamah[34]
In August 1916 signed a petition which was sent to the Midland Railway Company requesting the price of their farms be reduced [34]
Member of Winchester-Carnamah branch of the Farmers & Settlers' Association in 1917 [34]
In 1917 purchased some of his general supplies from PARKIN's "The Supply Stores" in Yarra Street, Carnamah [92]
In March 1917 over three separate occasions spent £42.4.11 at The Supply Stores in Carnamah, for which he paid by cheque [92]
Signed the petition and financial guarantee in 1917 for the Midland Railway Company to provide a resident doctor at Three Springs [34]
Midland Railway Company correspondence of October 1917 described him as "a very hard working settler" [34]
During 1917 he had a further 89 acres of his farm cleared, which he paid for using a £60 advance from the Midland Railway Co [34]
When in Perth during November 1917 Robert L. GILBERT of the Midland Railway Company took him to see a doctor [34]
The doctor discovered he had a growth in his abdomen and arranged for him to be operated on about a week later [34]
In 1918 also leased an additional 1,000 acres from the Midland Railway Company (Lot M569 of Victoria Locations 1934 and 1936) [44]
Father of seven sons - Bob, Jim, Tom, Jake, Alex, Archie and Matthew [P13]
Father of eight daughters - Annie, Margaret, Betty, Jean, Agnes, Esther, Mary and Jess [P13]
Passed away at the age of 61 years in Mogumber on his way to Perth by train to seek medical attention [34]
Died 25 May 1918 in Mogumber; buried Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth WA (Presbyterian, DA, 358) [2] [P13]
Following his death the farm was managed by his wife Annie and worked by his eldest son "Bob" Robert NIVEN [6] [P13]

From the Progress Report of the Royal Commission on the
               Agricultural Industries of Western Australia on the Wheat-Growing Portion of the South-West Division of the State
Wednesday 6 June 1917 at Carnamah
"ROBERT NIVEN, Farmer, Carnamah, sworn and examined: I am one of the Midland settlers. My block is No. 940. It has an area of 424 acres of which all but 70 acres is cleared. I had previous experience in New Zealand, South America, Scotland and Western Australia. I am paying £5 10s. For my land with 5½ per cent interest. I am not satisfied with that. I see no possibility of making it freehold. I had been here three seasons. I had no crop in 1914. In 1915 I got about 17 bushels; last year about nine bushels, there being a dry September and October. I think a fair price for the land would be about £2 17s. 6d. That is my sole difficulty. I have put about £450 into the venture and of course all my labour with that of my family. The farm has all the necessary equipment. I was induced to take up the land by the Midland [Railway] Company's representative in England. At that distance I thought it was all right. I cannot make a living on the land at its present price. I am on the I.A.B. I was drawing about £14 a month, but not they have got it down to £11. The I.A.B. [Industries Assistance Board] take a lieu over the crop with the consent of the Midland Company. Meanwhile I am unable to make any payments to the Company. If the Government settlers cannot make a go of it at the price of their land, we have no hope whatever."

From The West Australian newspaper, Monday 27 May 1918:
News and Notes - Sudden Death - A farmer of Carnamah
"Robert Niven, who was a passenger by the Geraldton train arriving in Perth on Saturday morning, died suddenly on the journey. He had been suffering severely for some days, and his principal object in visiting Perth was to consult a doctor, but he had only reached Mogumber when he expired. The body was bought on the train and removed to the morgue at West Midland, where Dr. Laver conducted a post mortem examination, which revealed that the cause of death was the rupture of a blood vessel. The deceased was sixty years of age, and was married."

Letter sent to the Midland Railway Company's Head Office in London, England on 14th June 1918
        from Edwin MURCOTT, Attorney for the Midland Railway Company in Perth and Chairman of their Lands Committee:
"I regret to inform you that Mr Niven, the purchaser of Farm 940 in the Carnamah Subdivision, died suddenly on the 25th ultimo on his way to Perth. It appears that his health had not been too good for some time past, and that he was on his way to Perth to get medical advice but expired in the train at Mogumber. An inquest was held and the cause of death was certified to be the rupture of a blood vessel. I instructed Mr Woods, the Company's Ranger, to give Mrs Niven any advisory assistance she might require, and requested him to inform me whether he considered Mrs Niven would be able to carry on the farm alone, or what the family proposed doing, and having seen Mrs Niven he replied that she was quite able to carry on the work of the farm, although financially she did not know how she stood as her late husband consulted her but little on this subject."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Robert Niven' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 7 December 2023 from [reference list]

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