John Pallot was born on 26th September, 1857 at Dunolly, Victoria. He was the oldest surviving child of Pierre and Sophia Pallot although Sophia had a living son from a previous union with Peter le Messurier in 1851. (see separate entry)
His Early Life
John must have obtained a reasonable elementary education and several xamples of his handwriting have survived. It is thought that he attended the Tarnagulla school as the family lived mostly at Ironbark Gully until around 1871. This was situated about one mile south-east of Tarnagulla. After leaving school John worked in the forest as a woodcutter and engaged in part-time mining with his father and brothers wherever a new ‘rush’ occurred in the district.
John’s mother died in 1871 after bearing her 17th child in 20 years and the family moved to Waanyarra where Sophia’s parents and sisters could look after the younger children. John’s father Pierre had in 1869 taken up a cultivation licence at Nuggetty Flat north of Waanyarra.
John married Jane Mathews Trenoweth of Laanecoorie in 1881 and they had five children over the next ten years, Albert, Henry, Sophie, Edith and Lillian.
In 1886 John selected 20 acres of Crown Land (Allotment 14) at Nuggetty Flat immediately to the north of his father’s property. (Allotments 5 & 12). In conformance with the Government requirements he built a house, fenced and cleared the land and obtained title in 1891. Life must have been tough however, for within 4 months John had the property mortgaged to Thomas Comrie, the Tarnagulla storekeeper, possibly in settlement of outstanding debts incurred by his growing family.
Change in Fortunes
It is assumed that John must have had a massive upturn in his finances around 1905 as we find that on 25th November, 1905, he bought back the mortgage from Thomas Comrie and purchased three other blocks in the name of his son Albert. Shortly after this he commenced building a fine new house of mudbrick beside his old two-room timber dwelling. This must have seemed quite palatial with four large rooms (three bedrooms and a parlour).
The old building was retained as a kitchen and spare rooms and was not finally demolished until about 1948. The new building was constructed from local mud and the outside rendered with cement and painted bright red with white tuck pointing. Eighty years on, most of the paint and rendering has long since eroded away but remnants may be seen high up on the walls under the eaves. The interior walls were plastered and contrasted greatly with the papered hessian walls of the old building.
John and his wife bought a suites of mahogany bedroom and dining room furniture, and ornamental fire-surrounds to complete the dwelling. All of this is still in the house in good condition.
The source of John’s newfound wealth is uncertain but can only be as a result of a massive gold find at the Waanyarra Rush of 1902-5. In fact there is a story, in the 1931 ‘History of Tarnagulla’ published for the Back to Tarnagulla celebrations of that year, of ’Mr. A. Pallot of Waanyarra finding a 5Ooz. Nugget.
By 8th August, 1908 John’s money must have run out as the property was mortgaged again and the ornate and serviceable country verandah was never built around his new dwelling, although the metal ties for this purpose are still plainly visible on the south side of the house facing Tarnagulla Road.
Loss of Wife and Remarriage
John’s wife Jane died on 6th November, 1909 and although he was no longer flush with funds he had a home, a wagon and a fine team of horses and secure contracts to supply boiler wood to the local deep mines and those of Bendigo. John had met the widow Drusilla Aulich on numerous occasions and he took to leaving her with a little firewood on his trips past her house to the railway station. She had no income except a small pension from the City of Vienna (her late husband’s birthplace) and what she could earn dressmaking to support her three young children.
John and Drusilla married on 19th December, 1912 and she and her children Marie (11), Leon (9) and Ferdinand (7) moved into residence at John’s farm at Waanyarra three miles south-east of Tarnagulla.
John’s son Albert Pallot had an 84 acre property 1 miles north of Nuggetty Creek and lived there in a small wooden house for some years. When he was about 40 years of age he married Annie Bofill of Waanyarra but they had no children.
Henry Pallot married Ethel Jenkins in 1914, and they had one daughter Ethel Gladys. Henry worked most of his life with the Forest Commission in Bendigo.
Sophie Pallot married Charles Raven in 1912. They had three sons and one daughter and in later life Sophie conducted a newsagency in Dunolly for some years.
Edith Pallot married Thomas Sweatman who was an officer in the Salvation Army. They had one son, also Thomas.
Lillian who had been living at home as housekeeper to her father moved out prior to the arrival of the new wife and young family. She married Tom Stephenson from Goldsborough and was a frequent visitor to the home until her tragic death at the age of 30 in 192 1.
Her son Wesley Stephenson appears in several photographs at Nuggetty during the 1920’s.